Let us begin by saying that burnout is not the same as exhaustion or fatigue. To begin with, ‘feeling tired’ or ‘fatigued’ can simply mean you need to rest or sleep post a heavy meal or a long day at work. Or perhaps, you haven’t been resting well and need to focus on improving the quality of your sleep. But in neither of these conditions are chronic and needs any serious intervention.
Is There A Difference?
It can be complicated to differentiate between exhaustion, fatigue and burnout but the key differentiator? The amount of time it takes for recovery.
For example, if you are exhausted, a nice meal, hot shower and a restful nights sleep will do the trick. In case of fatigue, a holiday or a small break from work where you focus on de-stressing is usually enough.
But burnout is varied and more complicated because it’s a chronic condition and occurs over some time. It can be work or personal life related and depends completely on individual lifestyle. Many times, dealing with burnout requires help from an expert, which is perfectly okay.
Signs You Are Experiencing Burnout
- You are uniformly exhausted, no matter what
- Every day feels like a bad or stressful day at work.
- You feel no joy or pleasure from work.
- You sleep quality is poor and you wake up exhausted.
- You feel confounded by your responsibilities.
- You are picking up escapist habits like smoking or drinking too much.
- You feel angry and less patient with others.
- You feel physical manifestations such as chest pain, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, or heart palpitations.
Note: Burnout doesn’t disappear on its own, but it will get more severe unless you address the underlying issues creating it. If you disregard burnout, it will only cause you further harm down the line, so you must start healing as soon as possible.
3 Steps To Take If You Are Feeling Burnt Out
Start Being Selfish
Yes, you read that correctly. You need to stop saying YES to everyone else’s needs and focus on yourself and your needs. If you spend your working day reacting to the demands of other people or if you work only on projects only because you are told to, burnout is imminent. Talk to your manager about work prioritising and getting help. If at home, ask family members to chip in stop going the extra mile and take some timeout for yourself.
Mind Over Matter
Meditation has been around and we propagate it constantly and with good reasons. In 2009 study from Denmark concluded long term meditation is associated with increased grey matter density in the brain stem. By just meditating for just ten minutes a day, your brain will be rewired and you will be able to concentrate on the task at hand with better focus. Why is that necessary? Being able to focus should empower you to finish what you are working on and then switch off and restore when the task is completed.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, don’t begin by doing HIIT. But its also important that you move and do some form of workout to clear the toxins in your body. Exercise elevates your heart rate, which in turn pumps blood faster and clears toxins from the system. After run or walk, you will easily feel better about yourself and the project or partner that’s increasing your blood pressure. Anxiety is another crucial indication of burnout that you can defeat through exercise. A 2004 study by Joshua Broman-Fulks of the University of Southern Mississippi concluded that pupils who trained reduced their responsiveness to anxiety.
The road to recovery from burnout is not a fast one but takes time and patience. It’s not a race so don’t take it as one. If you’re still experiencing burnout after an extended period, consider seeking professional health via counselling or choosing a different career.