Edmonton Psychologist | How to Know You Are Burning Out
We have all heard about burn out and how overwhelming it is. We may have even had someone close to us go through this traumatic experience. Even though we may recognize when it comes to seeing it from somebody else, we do not always know when it is happening to us. Surprisingly, we are not able to see that we are hurting ourselves and we push through the struggle thinking this is a normal way of living when in fact we are burning out.
Unfortunately, the burnt-out person does not want to stop to examine what is going on. They use the excuse they are too busy. They do not take the time to deal with their own emotional well-being. They think if they just work a little harder and keep ploughing through that things will get better eventually on their own. The first thing we need to review is what exactly burn out is.
Burn out is characterized by a psychological, physical, and mental state of exhaustion. This comes from a relentless state of stress that is ongoing or long-term. There are many symptoms that are good indications we are stressed to the point of burn out. We may feel overwhelmed. We often feel tired even though we get lots of sleep. Waking up groggy and being not motivated to do anything are classic early signs we are burning out.
Early signs that you are burning out are hard to detect
We do not want to go to work or when we do we are late. These early signs of burn out are hard to detect because they are subtle, and we often go through phases of life feeling this way. Another early sign of burn out is that our frustration levels are increasing while our tolerance level to stress is decreasing.
If these signs are not addressed they give way to early signs of depression. You may feel hopeless and a sense of loss of motivation as well as energy. Another sign of burn out is the disconnection that you feel with the people who are most important to you. Normally you want to connect with the people you love, but not when you are burning out you tend to withdraw.
If you are people-facing in your profession you are more prone to burn out. When you are helping others as a part of your work you tend to give away a lot more energy. When you get to the stage where you are burning out, you no longer have the ability to care, empathize or even connect with the people you are helping. Your capacity to stay present disappears and it can become a risky place to be.
Help yourself first before helping others
If your career requires you to connect with people and you find you are checked out this becomes a conflict of interest in your line of work. How can you help others when you cannot help yourself in this moment? It is time to take a step back and admit this is where you are but also the time to do something about it.
At this beginning stage of burning out you may feel hollow which then makes you feel horrible. Your day turns into going through the motions to then come home after work where you continue to check out by becoming numb to the things around you. At this point many people may turn to other sources to escape the feelings of burn out and that becomes a dangerous thing.
Turning to alcohol or drugs is not a safe place to go since it becomes a crutch to deal with your burn out. This in turn often leads to addiction. Escaping through substances is a problem that will have a life of its own and eventually will need to be addressed and dealt with if you are to recover from the burn out you feel.
Extreme fatigue can be a sign that you are burning out
If you are experiencing chronic fatigue on an emotional or physical level this is also a sign of burn out. If you feel checked out and do not even want to exercise, this could be another symptom.
The first step in healing from the burn out is to first identify if you are in fact burning out. Digging deep to understand why you are feeling the way you are is the key to discovering more. Take a step back and examine your situation. If you are making the excuse that you are too busy to slow down to address the symptoms, then you are on the path of burn out. If you take the time off work and other activities to really focus on healing and dealing with the burnout, you will have to be very mindful and purposeful on what you want to achieve.
It is not just a time to take off work. This should be a time where you go deeper and work through the reasons why you are burning out. Engaging with a psychologist like the ones you find at ReDiscover Psychology is an important and valuable resource.
Some practical ways to prevent it
Other practical things you can do while working through the burnout is to find those hobbies that you love, like hiking, walking, or working out. Disengage from work and work-related tasks while you take the time off. It is important to do things that make you feel human.
To help prevent burn out there are some things you can do like taking breaks throughout your day to do things you love. It could be looking on the internet for things you want to buy, reading a chapter from a book you love and even coloring or doing puzzles. If possible do this for 10 minutes every couple hours. Other places you can give yourself a little extra mindful time is taking more time in the shower, taking time to get ready like putting on makeup, shaving or even taking a little extra time on a walk.
These things all help you to check in with yourself and engage in meaningful activity on an ongoing basis. This all can go a long way to helping prevent burnout, anxiety, and depression.