Am I burnt out?
This the second in a series of blogs about burnout where I will be looking at the exact warning signs and symptoms of burnout.
Future blogs will look at what puts us at risk of burnout, some real life examples, the key differences between stress and burnout and how to prevent and to recover from burnout.
We seem to hear the word “burnout” all the time these days. Generally (but not exclusively) we use the term to describe how we feel about our relationship to our work, whether we work for someone else or for ourselves. In many cases, the story has been as follows: we start a new job with positive expectations, enthusiasm, and the goal to be successful in whatever we are doing. Over time, things changed we start to feel “ I gave 100% for a long time, only to find myself exhausted, bitter and disillusioned.” The initial flame of dedication and passion has well and truly burned out! And it isn’t just those in the workplace who are at risk: Anyone who feels overworked and undervalued is at risk for burnout—it can also affect stay-at-home parents coping with all kinds of demands, or indeed anyone in a caring role such as those caring for a sick or elderly relative or partner.
The three components of burnout
1. Emotional exhaustion
You feel tired all the time. You don’t feel up to facing your day, even if it’s just a normal day. You wake up every morning with a feeling of dread. Day after day you feel this, and it doesn’t lift, even after a week off. It’s more than likely that you are dealing with heavy workloads or difficult workplace circumstances that are wearing you out.
You may have started out as someone who really enjoyed working with people or dealing with clients. Now, you find yourself feeling increasingly angry and irritable toward them. You have a growing sense of detachment from your work and may even be alarmed by how cynical you’ve become.
3. Reduced personal efficacy
You’re losing confidence in your ability to do your job, even though you used to be quite good at it. You work harder and harder but seem to accomplish less. Your productivity has dropped significantly, and your belief in yourself has fallen along with it.
As mentioned above, you need to be experiencing all three of these components to be suffering from full-fledged burnout. Even if you are just experiencing one or two, pay attention.
Looking in more detail at each of the three components:
Physical signs and symptoms of burnout
- Feeling tired and drained most of the time
- Lowered immunity, getting sick a lot
- Frequent headaches or muscle pain
- Change in appetite or sleep habits
Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout
- Sense of failure and self-doubt
- Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
- Detachment, feeling alone in the world
- Loss of motivation
- Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
- Decreased satisfaction and sense of achievement
Behavioural signs and symptoms of burnout
- Withdrawing from responsibilities
- Isolating yourself from others
- Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
- Depending on food, drugs or alcohol in order to get through the day
- Being irritable and taking out your frustrations on others
- Skipping work, coming in late or leaving early
Need some support or advice?
If you are asking the question “am I burnt out ?” or indeed struggling with any other emotional issues or life challenges and would like to talk things over in complete confidentiality, call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.
Book a counselling session today!