Burnout creeps up slowly.
In fact, one of the most common anecdotes involving burnout is how sudden it can seem. One day you’re working like usual, arriving to your job on time and taking your usual lunch breaks without fuss. The next day you’re completely and utterly drained. Even doing laundry seems an impossible feat. Burnout psychology, particularly in specific professions, is being studied more and more these years as the American workforce reconciles with the aftermath of the stressful job. Whether you’re a part-time freelancer or a full-time therapist, burnout can strike at any time.
Below are the top five symptoms of burnout as well as some tips on how to recover from exhaustion.
You Have A Hard Time Falling Asleep Or Staying Asleep
A sign burnout is starting to reach your doorstep is poor sleep. Sleeping disorders are on the rise and many are citing the side-effects of a stressful job as a primary cause. Insomnia is characterized by struggling to either fall asleep or stay asleep, while sleep apnea affects over 18 million American adults and causes interruptions that interfere with a proper sleep cycle. Doctors recommend you get eight to nine hours of sleep per night. While the occasional all-nighter won’t harm you overmuch, doing this on a regular basis can have a serious impact on your health.
You Are Starting To Feel Listless, Unmotivated And Distracted
Concentration issues may not seem like much, but they can mean all the difference when it comes to getting your work done. Depression and anxiety are mental illnesses that can be caused or exacerbated by consistently high levels of stress, both of which should be treated as soon as possible to prevent burnout or worse. A recent study found two-thirds of men and women saying work has a significant impact on their stress levels. Another study found one out of four respondents admitting to taking a mental health day due to workplace stress.
Your Appetite Is Irregular Or Non-Existent
Another good way to determine whether or not you’re struggling in a stressful job is your appetite. You should be eating three square meals per day, with regular lunch breaks to promote wellness and proper concentration while on the clock. When your appetite starts to dip or increase, it’s possible stress is starting to affect your digestive system. Nausea, lowered appetite or stress eating are all signs of unchecked stress and can be better managed once you get to the root of the problem. While caffeine can help you stay awake, it also can spike your blood pressure and leave you in a worse position to manage stress.
You Work In The Health Or Care Industry
To reiterate — burnout can affect any American worker regardless of age or profession. Physicians, however, have a noticeably higher rate of burnout than other medical specialties. A recent study found physicians under the age of 35 showing a burnout rate of 44%, with a similar survey finding medical students in general reporting a rate of depression that’s up to 30% higher than the general population. Physicians often have long hours and a difficult balance between a technical field and social obligations, leaving them in a poor position to manage burnout as it comes.
You’ve Experienced Burnout In The Past
A telltale sign you’re facing burnout is if it’s happened before. While some may view this as a positive (such as being able to better prepare for the symptoms), it’s more than possible to become used to the condition. Burnout recovery strategies are a necessary part of your mental health toolkit and should be used before burnout reaches a certain level. This means taking days off work to recover, changing your dietary habits, seeking counseling and getting more sleep throughout the week. A 2016 report saw nearly half of all American employees reporting at least one instance of burnout within a year.
Don’t let burnout take months of your life away from you. Manage your stressful job in incremental bits and encourage a higher quality of life from here on out.