Burnout — a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress — happens when life overwhelms you. Living in NYC, this happens often to people, but can of course happen anywhere. It happens most frequently to people who work in a helping profession, are perfectionists or workaholics. Because burnout is a gradual process that happens over an extended time period, the best way to avoid it is to look for signs and symptoms.
EMOTIONAL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Emotional signs and symptoms of a potential burnout include becoming increasingly unmotivated, cynical and pessimistic; experiencing decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment; and feeling helpless, trapped and defeated. You might also start doubting yourself, feel like you are alone in the world and experience a sense of failure. People in care-giving professions, such as teachers, health care professionals and counselors, or parents might experience feelings of wanting to hurt themselves or the person for whom they are caring. Workaholics with an impending burnout might find themselves increasingly irritable or impatient with their co-workers, customers or clients. Their productivity might decrease.
PHYSICAL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Physical signs and symptoms include feeling fatigued and drained the better part of the day, having frequent
headaches, back pain, muscle aches and getting sick a lot. Changes in appetite, weight gain or loss, having
trouble sleeping or sleeping too much are also typical.
BEHAVIORAL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
You might withdraw from friends and family, and lose interest in activities that you previously enjoyed, as well as withdraw from responsibilities. You might procrastinate, take longer to get things done, and you might take out your frustration on others. In an effort to cope, you might begin abusing food, drugs or alcohol. Workaholics might begin skipping work, or come in late and leave early because the idea of being at work is increasingly intolerable. When you are at work, you might have trouble getting started with your tasks. You might become depressed and engage in escapist behavior such as becoming promiscuous or developing compulsive traits.
If you find that you are already suffering from burnout, read this article. It, as well as other articles on that website, are very helpful. Hope you feel better soon!