We live in a world today where stress has become an everyday word, and burnout is increasingly common. It's surprising how many outwardly together people I've met (myself included) who have experienced burnout.
Burnout happens gradually, and can be hard to spot when we're in the middle of it. Knowing what to look out for, and recognising the symptoms, will allow you to take action to get your life - and your passion for life - back on track.
Tell Tale Signs
You feel exhausted all the time, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Perpetually running low on energy, and never seem to be able to recharge much.
- Losing your passion
At one point you were enthusiastic, motivated and full of hope. Now you just think “what's the point?" and your passion is replaced with apathy.
- Lack of pleasure
On a similar note, you don't seem to experience much pleasure either, even with things that you usually enjoy immensely. And when you do enjoy something, the feeling doesn't seem to last long. Every day seems to be a bad day, or a mind-numbing one, where you're trudging through, waiting for it to be over.
You feel too tired or disinterested to socialise, and when you do, it doesn't really cheer you up that much. You could find it difficult to tune in and engage with your friends’ conversations, and may even find yourself watching the clock and waiting for home time.
- Losing trust in others
As well as becoming more socially detached, you might also lose trust in others, and start to think that all people act purely out of selfishness, and that there's nothing you can do about that.
- Sense of humour failure
There was a time when little things would never bother you. You had a buffer that allowed you to ignore certain comments, acknowledge bad luck, tolerate difficult people or behaviour, and even see the funny side of things from time to time. Instead, now you're often irritable and those ‘little things’ are making you snap, lose your rag or break down in tears. You may even notice that other people are walking on eggshells around you.
- Feeling physically sick
Stress and burnout take their toll on your body. As well as feeling tired, you may experience regular headaches, tension or have trouble sleeping. Being run down can also mean that you tend to be the first to catch every cold or bug, and the last to recover.
- Questioning your capability
When you're tired, ill and overwhelmed, it's easy to make mistakes - silly mistakes like putting the dishwasher tablet in your mug of coffee, or spending half an hour wrestling with the photocopier, only to walk away leaving your paperwork still in the tray. The problem is, when your mind is jam packed full, and your energy ran out yesterday, anything is liable to become the straw that breaks the camel's back. And as a result, you start questioning your capability and productivity. You may even try to work harder to somehow make up for this.
After a while wondering why you can't cope or get by without making mistakes, you might come to the conclusion that maybe there's just nothing you can do about it. Perhaps you think you're just useless. You begin to devalue your own achievements, past and present, and believe you're powerless to achieve anything worthwhile in the future.
- Devaluing yourself
It's a common reflex to take things personally, so when you devalue your achievements, you often devalue yourself in the process. Maybe you're beating yourself up, telling yourself that others have come through far tougher challenges, so maybe you're just not cut out for this. Maybe you're translating a ‘failed’ result to mean that you're a ‘failure’. And you don't want to bother other people with your own ‘failings’.
Burnout often robs you of the things that you need the most - energy, friendship, passion and self-esteem.
The key to recovering from burnout begins with recognising and acknowledging these symptoms and putting a stop to blaming yourself. Then ask yourself, what have you achieved in the last year? What are you happy about, no matter how small? What do you need to give yourself, to rebuild your passion, energy and confidence?
Are you tired of being tired? Sick of being stressed? Want to start getting your energy and passion back? Grab yourself a place on my free e-course
"From Burnout to Brilliant: Regaining your OOMPH in 12 easy steps" at http://www.grace-marshall.com/home/ecourse.html
Grace Marshall is a life coach who works with business owners, mums and community leaders to pursue their passion with less stress and more clarity, energy and confidence.