Updated: Sep 21, 2021
by Emily Jarecki
It seems like the world is moving faster and faster. To keep up with it, we are forced to work harder and harder.
We glamorize those who can keep up with work, regardless of what it takes. We glamorize skipping breakfast and running out the door in the morning, drinking four cups of coffee just to stay awake, ignoring families due to work responsibilities, and bloodshot eyes from staring at the computer too long because if you don’t, you’re considered a failure and unable to keep up with the pace of life.
However, this constant overload poses serious problems for us because it can result in total burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion which is caused by excessive stress. It can affect the day-to-day responsibilities because it often feels like we have nothing left to give.
Nobody is immune to burnout, and it can happen without us even realizing it. Often, it can get hidden underneath our excessive ambition, displacement of conflict, and denial.
However, not realizing if you’re burned out can make life much harder to enjoy. It is important to recognize the symptoms of burnout so to identify if you have burnout and then do something about it.
Signs of burnout:
Feeling exhausted can be both physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. A workweek can begin to feel like it’s never going to end; you might not have the energy to finish a project, and your motivation to do even the things you enjoy will plummet. This might bring on thoughts of feeling useless at work and simple daily tasks. It’ll begin to feel impossible to fall asleep at night because of the constant stress of needing to do many things but being unable to.
Burnout can be brought on because you have a lot of things to accomplish but are unable to do so. This will likely lead you to involuntarily blaming others for it, such as your coworkers, friends, and family members. Cynicism goes hand in hand with irritability and will make you lose trust in others that can be good confidants.
Being overwhelmed at work will cause you to stop socializing with friends and family. You’ll feel that if you were to do so, it would be a waste of time because it is time not spent working on your career or future goals. Feeling isolated can also be a result of cynicism. Isolation can lead you to feel too exhausted to interact with friends and family or lose interest in others.
While burnout is primarily a result of overworking, it can have an impact on our physical health. High stress reduces your immune systems’ ability to fight off sickness. Burnout comes with frequent headaches, colds, flues, and insomnia. It can also lead to depression and anxiety.
It’s difficult in today’s fast-paced world to take a moment to ourselves because it’s hard to find one. People are afraid to take time for themselves for fear of falling behind. However, it is necessary because you can’t help others if you can’t help yourself first.
Here are some tips for managing the stresses of life:
Whether it be running, lifting, walking, or yoga, exercising even for a short amount of time every day can get your mind away from worrying about what to do for the future and to just focus on the present moment. Exercising will also boost your endorphins, giving you a higher sense of energy, optimism, and confidence.
Step away from the desk for at least 5 minutes to take a walk, talk to someone, or stretch. This will relieve stress from whatever you’re doing and can increase energy along with creativity and productivity.
Realize your limits
It can be tempting to work a job, go to school, and take on an internship. It can be tempting to take on another project along with the one you’re already working on. However, it is important to understand that there are only so many hours in a day you can work because you still need time for yourself. Realize how many hours you can work and understand how many tasks you can take on without feeling burned out.
Phones bring in a crazy influx of information that can leave us overwhelmed. The constant digesting of messages, tweets, posts, and news can leave us forgetting about ourselves. Be intentional about your phone use.
Find something you like to do
This is not another task going onto your “to do” list. This should be something that you genuinely enjoy doing. Doing this task whenever you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or need a break can help remind you that you are also important.
Burnout is real and can happen to anyone. The stresses of life are greater than ever. While our ambitions are big, they might just be the thing that breaks us down. It’s time to glamorize the things you like doing, whether it’s painting a picture or riding a bike in the city. Glamorize taking a day off, making a big breakfast, spending time with family and friends, and going on walks to wind down after work.