Recognize and Recover from BurnoutWritten by Tigre Haller
Imagine you’re a cell phone, your battery is dying, the red light is flashing, but you ignore it. You still have 15%, 10%, 5%...
Will you recharge before your energy is completely depleted?
Even before the global situation changed, and our paradigms shifted, many of us were already on the dangerous path to burnout. But, we didn’t know it.
Under the best of circumstances burnout manifests slowly and can take you by surprise. Under the current circumstances you’re probably feeling a lot of added pressure and the dangers of burnout are amplified.
Don’t let it get the best of you.
Let’s find out together what to look out for and how to deal with it.
Knowing how to recognize the signs of burnout is the first step in catching it and recovery. Failure to do so may lead to the battery dipping to 0% - this potentially means disengagement with the world and debilitating illnesses.
If you’re experiencing any of the following feelings, you might be in danger of burning out:
- You’re zapped of energy and feeling run down.
- You’re dissatisfied with any aspect of your life.
- You’re irritable.
- You’re unmotivated.
- You’re in a rut.
- You feel hopeless.
- You feel that every day is a bad day.
- You feel overwhelmed.
- You’re anxious.
- You’ve given up hope.
- You’re angry (or angrier than usual).
- You feel disconnected.
- You feel your contributions are worthless or meaningless.
- You’ve stopped caring about things which were once meaningful to you.
- You have insomnia.
- You have no appetite.
Keep in mind that most of us will experience one or more of these feelings during our lives anyhow. Also, these feelings may be intensified if you’re managing a mental illness such as depression.
It’s important to recognize any change in your behavior and monitor yourself over a period of time. If the feelings intensify, or lead to other of the tell-tale clues above, take action to protect yourself from complete burnout.
You Are In Control
Even in this moment of seeming chaos, when things are intensified, you can and should take control of how you deal with potential burnout.
For some of us being isolated isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For others, it’s extremely difficult and can lead to one, or more of the above sensations.
These steps and actions can help you manage not only now, but when your life returns to a sense of normalcy:
The first step is usually the hardest. You have to first recognize and acknowledge there’s a problem, and commit to healing.
Thankfully, technology has given us so many tools we can use to stay connected, not only with our friends, family and coworkers, but the world at large. There are many platforms available, and you’re probably using at least one already. As we all know, it’s easy to get lost down the internet rabbit hole, so please try to avoid endless searching into the wee hours.
One of the worst things we can do is to suppress our emotions and feelings. This can lead to all sorts of problems. If you have at least one person in your life who you can trust and be vulnerable with, open up to them. Talk about what you’re feeling and try to explore why. Even if you don’t come to any conclusions, the sheer act of verbalizing your emotions can be freeing. If you don’t have someone like that, or prefer to not share with them, seek out forums online, like on Reddit, where you can share your thoughts and challenges with others who are going through similar things, or seek-out professional counseling (even online).
Think about the positive and beautiful things in your life, and the activities you enjoy doing. Yes, it might be difficult to grasp when your mind wants to shut down. When you do this, you can see that there is always something to be hopeful about, to care for, to live for.
Do One Thing:
Burnout is often brought on by trying to do too many things at one time. Just like a circuit breaker, something’s gotta give. Force yourself to stop. Make a list of everything you have going on. Prioritize. Can someone else help? What’s really important? What can wait a while? This is not the time to be a superhero - it’s time to save yourself.
Taking some time off from work and family can be just what you need to recuperate. Understandably, during these particularly stressful times, that might not be an option. But, try to at least find a quiet space, or create one, where you can calm yourself, practice intentional breathing, meditation and/or yoga, or other exercise. Being mindful, and truly seeing. Quality sleep is also essential to a complete recharge program.
Consuming too many fried and overly processed foods can lead to a heavy gut and a hazy head. Try to include fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber and plenty of hydration, so that your oxygen flows and your digestive system doesn’t get backed-up. Also, over consumption of alcohol can lower defenses and impair judgement (as you probably know). A healthy body leads to a healthy mind - or at least one less thing to worry about.
Have a heart-to-heart with yourself and assess your current situation. It might be time for a change.
Catching and dealing with the signs of burnout early on can save you a whole world of trouble down the line. You don’t need to suffer in silence. Actually, you don’t need to suffer at all. Be proactive and take care of yourself especially during these trying times.
NOTE: This article is for informational purposes. If you’re suffering from burnout or extreme stress-related illness, try to get professional help either in person or online.