Can you spot burnout warning signs? Fortunately, burnout does not happen all at once. It occurs when you have been struggling with chronic stress for prolonged period of time. Burnout can occur over a series of weeks, months or several years. That’s why it’s so important to know the burnout warning signs so that you can take action to prevent burnout.
How long it takes you to experience burnout depends on the types of stressors involved (i.e. your stress triggers) as well as your physical, mental, and emotional make-up (i.e. your stress vulnerability).
Consistent exposure to stressors in the workplace and possibly at home, without a means to mitigate them, leads to burnout. If you know how to spot the early warning signs of burnout out, you are in a good position to take action and avoid complete burnout.
10 easy to spot burnout warning signs everyone should know about.
Physical and mental fatigue.
Extreme and ongoing physical and mental fatigue is one of the more familiar signs of burnout. People press through these symptoms to the detriment of their health, using stimulants like caffeine and sugar in the form of coffee, energy drinks, and food. This creates a cycle of high and low energy, which actually increases stress levels and may lead to other health issues in the future, like obesity and high blood pressure.
People who reach burnout often experience recurring illnesses and become ill more frequently. Their high levels of fatigue compromise their immune systems making them more vulnerable to disease.
Sleep disturbances or trouble falling asleep, either a few times a week or more frequently, may be a sign of burnout. You may wake intermittently and go back to sleep or wake and not be able to go back to sleep at all. When burnout occurs, some people advance to having nightly bouts of insomnia.
Without intervention, burnout often leads to depression. Mild feelings of sadness or discontent grow into deeper feelings of melancholy and lethargy. It can also lead to feelings of worthlessness, feeling bound to the cause of your burnout and hopelessness.
. Pessimism grows as personal dissatisfaction and a sense of powerlessness does the same. Your perception of yourself becomes increasingly negative and may affect work and personal relationships.
Isolation and Withdrawal
You begin to withdraw from social interactions. This may progress to actively avoiding social interactions by timing your arrivals and departures to avoid other people.
Continually focusing on your job, even during leisure time, to the point it becomes hazardous to your personal relationships. Burnout causes work to edge out time with family and friends; it occupies your thoughts and conversation and usually with a negative tone.
Your ability to think clearly and effectively begin to fail. Initially, you may experience minor memory lapses. If the high stress levels continue, it begins to impact your ability to perform regular tasks well and in a timely manner.
Lowered job performance.
Your job performance falls below the expectations of your coworkers and yourself. Part of burnout is an overreaching sense of detachment, which causes harm instead of allowing you to exercise an even handed approach to your job. The level of detachment leads to an actual disconnect.
Increased levels of anger and irritability also occur during an episode of burnout. This may affect personal as well as professional relationships leading to arguments or outbursts.
If you notice yourself exhibiting one or more of these burnout warning signs and behaviors, set aside some time to evaluate:
- The number of obligations you carry at work and at home. Are you overextended?
- Your level of job satisfaction. Is your job fulfilling your need to contribute and to develop professionally?
- Are you maintaining an appropriate work to life balance?
If your answer to any of these is no, develop strategies to turn them into a yes. You don’t have to do it alone, but however you do it, just know that it is extremely important to get stress under control so that it does not impact your physical, and emotional wellbeing.
Use DIY resources or seek out professional organizations, psychologists, and therapists for assistance with mitigating burnout.