Signs You’re Burning Out – And What to Do About It

mental health tips - burn out - stress

Nowadays, it seems that everything and everyone is vying for our attention, at home and at work. In our mad race to climb the ladder or even get noticed, we tend to not look at the big picture. And that includes taking care of ourselves and recognizing when we need a break.

We can be so wrapped up in the day-to-day: of getting that project done, of taking care of our family, of meeting that deadline. It can be a real “not seeing the forest through the trees” scenario. With enough multiple, chronic stressors over a period of time leaving you drained, you are no longer performing your best. 

What Is Burnout, Anyway?

According to The American Psychological Association’s David Ballard, burnout is defined as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their performance – job or otherwise.”

Ask yourself if you are experiencing more than one of these:

  • Exhaustion – feeling tired much of the time. This can be emotional, mental, or physical. The sense that you have little to no energy.

  • Lack of Motivation – when once you were a go-getter, now you struggle to find the motivation for your work or even getting things done in general. Lack of enthusiasm.

  • Frustration, Cynicism, or other Negative Feelings – you may be feeling generally more pessimistic, hopeless, or angry than you used to.

  • Cognitive Issues – stress and burnout often contribute to your ability to pay attention or to concentrate. While this happens occasionally to all of us, an increase is a sure sign of burnout.

  • Job Performance – access whether your productivity or job performance starts to slip, as compared to previous years. Burnout tends to happen over a long period of time, so you may not recognize it without taking a long-term view.

  • Interpersonal Problems – whether at home or at work, if you are having more conflicts with people, or just tuning them out entirely, this is a sure sign.

  • Not Taking Care of Yourself – stressed-out people tend to seek solace in unhealthy coping strategies, such as increased drinking, eating, smoking, and not enough sleep.

  • Preoccupation with Work When You’re Not at Work – if you’re mulling over work at the end of the day often enough, that interferes with your relaxation time.

  • Health Problems – over time, chronic stress can take a toll on your body and manifest itself in symptoms such as digestive issues, depression, obesity, and heart problems.



So how do we address this? Well, there are several things you can do:

  • Take Relaxation Seriously – when the day is done, do what makes you happy and relaxed, whether that is reading a book, listening to music, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.

  • Create a Rich Non-Work Life – make a serious effort to make more time for outside interests and hobbies; something that you are passionate about. Whatever that is, do it more often.

  • Unplug – this is a big one. As technology and social media continue to encroach on our lives, make an effort to put that phone and computer away, and greatly reduce your screen time. It works wonders.

  • Get More Sleep – that can be tricky for some, but with the effort, getting at least 7 hours is so important for overall health.

  • Get Organized – when we are pulled in a thousand different directions, it can be hard to focus. Write down your tasks daily and weekly, and then focus on getting them done.

Knowing when you’re burnt out is half the battle. The other half is applying these techniques to getting back to the happy, productive you!



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