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Are You Burning Out? The Key Burnout Signs You’re Missing
Did you know that 51% of UK workers experience burnout? Furthermore, 75% of executives think that their senior managers are suffering burnout, while half believe that the CEO of their organisation is burning out. So many people believe they’re not burning out because they’re still working and are busier than ever. But, one of the most common signs of burnout is actually working more, not less. So, could you be burning out without knowing it?
What Is Burnout?
Burnout is a culmination of cognitive, physical and emotional exhaustion. Typically, burnout comes as a result of unmanageable stress and prolonged fatigue. It is the overload and strain we put on our physical and mental health.
Ultimately, the stress that you put on yourself leads to serious consequences, both mentally and physically. It can often be summed up as a total breakdown for your body.
The Types Of Burnout
Most people think burnout only occurs to the executives who answer emails at 3 am. However, burnout can actually manifest in several different ways;
When you feel helpless, incompetent or unable to keep up with the daily demands you face, whether at work or home. This type of burnout can start with demotivation and passivity.
When your goal-getting mindset means that you don’t let anything stop you in the search for success. For example, you are willing to risk your personal life and health in order to achieve the pinnacle of your career.
If you feel bored, underappreciated, under-stimulated and under-challenged, you can end up distancing yourself from work and not being able to enjoy the activities you used to love. You may avoid responsibility and ultimately have an overwhelming sense of disengagement and helplessness.
All three of these types of burnout can cause an overwhelming sense of overload. This is where you can’t see beyond your current, exhausting and often soul-destroying situation.
The Cycle Of Burning Out
Burning out can feel like a tunnel you are trapped in, and the more you try to get out, the further down the tunnel you feel. You may try to get out of the tunnel. Usually, this is by working harder believing there will be respite when you ‘finish’ your work mountain. Alternatively, it may be that you just do nothing to change your current situation or know how to fix the root cause.
It is such a common misconception that the only answer when reaching burnout point is to do even more. You may believe that working harder will lead to you feel more organised, or that you can just work through this tricky spot.
The problem is when trying to work through burnout; you end up giving yourself more stress, as well as more things to do. The problem usually gets worse rather than better. This is because the exhaustion, tiredness and your busy mind mean you are not able to do anything properly. This is where mistakes can happen. You end up giving yourself twice the workload as you have to correct your errors.
Therapist and comedian Ruby Wax explains; “Excessive ‘busy-ness’ is usually a sign that all is not well. When I’m reaching burnout, I start fixing too many dates and writing too many emails. I become so uber-busy that things don’t make sense anymore.”
Remember, just because you’re still functioning, doesn’t mean you’re productive.
Do You Know When You’re Burning Out?
There is a fine line between stress and reaching the point of burnout. Here are some of the signs to look out for;
Stress can cause you to feel tired and have less energy; however, burnout is when you dread doing anything because you are completely exhausted.
Your current stressful situation is leading you to have more frequent headaches, so you try to work from home when you can. Burning out, however, is when your weakened immune system can no longer cope, and you’re frequently ill with colds and flu as well as infections.
You may find that you are forgetful or struggle to concentrate during high-stress periods. However, burning out will mean you cannot focus on anything – at work or home – meaning every activity takes longer.
Stress and burning can lead to addictions, such as alcohol and smoking. For periods of stress, you may end the day with a glass of wine to relax before bed. When you are facing burnout, you may think it is impossible to relax without alcohol.
Sleep can also suffer. In stressful situations, you may find you struggle to drop off or wake up throughout the night. In a burnout situation, sleep problems may be a nightly occurrence.
Another common issue of stress and burnout is loneliness. When you’re stressed, you may feel reluctant to speak up or socialise. However, when you’re burning out, you may actively avoid social situations, cancel plans or feel frustrated if people try to include you in events.
Perhaps you feel inadequate during stress, making you less likely to share ideas or be confident with your work. Burning out may mean you suffer from Imposter Syndrome, feel like all of your work is rubbish and that you don’t deserve your position/career.
How To Recover From Burnout
- Remember, burnout isn’t a sign that you’re weak; it is a sign you are doing too much.
- Focus on mindful activities that calm your mind and switch off the constant chatter.
- Prioritise your sleep with a wind-down hour before bed allow yourself 7-9 hours of interrupted sleep.
- Find ways to stimulate your creativity through fun activities that you really enjoy.
- Put time to relax in your diary – this will be the only way to block out time for you.
- Remember the number of hours you work is not a competition or a badge of honour.
- Give your phone-use a schedule and switch your devices off when it’s out of hours.
- Talk to someone; you are not alone in facing a burnout struggle.
- Remember who you are and focus on what you want to be, not what you ‘do’.
Stop Burnout In Its Tracks
As a hypnotherapist, specialising in supporting C-level executives, I have helped hundreds of clients who are at risk of burning out. If you need support during a burnout or require tools to prevent burning out, I can help. Let’s discuss your situation in a free consultation, and I’ll create a bespoke package to prevent and recover from burnout. Book your free consultation today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.