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How to Spot Burnout


How to Spot Burnout

Recent studies reveal that burnout has become an epidemic in the U.S., with the vast majority (89%) of employees reporting they've experienced it since 2020. Burnout is a condition that can affect anyone, regardless of their profession or lifestyle. It can be caused by prolonged stress, overwork, and a lack of balance between work and personal life.


Many workplace cultures foster burnout by applauding the behaviors that create it. However, this is extremely short-sighted, since burnout reduces productivity and saps employees’ energy, leaving them feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. It lowers their ability to resist infection and chronic illness. Eventually, it creates attrition, absenteeism, and compounds costly errors.


Burnout can manifest in different ways, and it's essential to spot the signs to prevent it from causing serious damage to your own mental and physical health as well as your team’s.


Physical Symptoms of Burnout


Physical symptoms of burnout can be subtle and easy to ignore, but they can also be severe and debilitating. Some of the physical symptoms of burnout include chronic fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, and stomach issues. These symptoms can be a result of prolonged stress or overwork, and they can have a significant impact on your daily life.


Chronic fatigue is a common symptom of burnout, and it can make even the simplest tasks feel exhausting. It can be challenging to motivate yourself to do anything when you feel constantly tired.


Headaches and muscle tension are also common symptoms of burnout, and they can be a result of the physical tension caused by stress. Stomach issues like nausea, diarrhea, and constipation can also be a result of burnout.


If you experience any of these physical symptoms, it's essential to take a step back and

evaluate your work-life balance. It's crucial to identify the cause of your burnout and take steps to prevent it from getting worse.


Emotional Symptoms of Burnout


Emotional symptoms of burnout can be challenging to spot, but they can have a significant impact on your mental health. Some of the emotional symptoms of burnout include irritability, a lack of motivation, and a feeling of being disconnected from others. Burnout can also cause anxiety, depression, and a sense of hopelessness.


Irritability is a common symptom of burnout, and it can make even the smallest things feel overwhelming. A lack of motivation can also be a result of burnout, and it can be challenging to find the energy to do anything. Feeling disconnected from others is another emotional symptom of burnout, and it can make it challenging to form meaningful relationships.


If you experience any of these emotional symptoms, it's essential to seek help. Burnout can have a significant impact on your mental health, and it's crucial to address it before it causes more serious damage.


Behavioral Symptoms of Burnout


Behavioral symptoms of burnout can be easy to spot, but they can also be misunderstood. Some of the behavioral symptoms of burnout include increased alcohol or drug use, decreased productivity, and a lack of engagement in activities you once enjoyed. Burnout can also cause a feeling of being stuck in a rut and an inability to make decisions.


Increased alcohol or drug use can be a coping mechanism for burnout, but it can also make the situation worse. Decreased productivity can be a result of burnout, and it can make work feel overwhelming. A lack of engagement in activities you once enjoyed can also be a result of burnout, and it can make it challenging to find joy in anything.


If you experience any of these behavioral symptoms, it's essential to take a step back and evaluate your work-life balance. It's crucial to identify the cause of your burnout and take steps to prevent it from getting worse.


Cognitive Symptoms of Burnout


Cognitive symptoms of burnout can be challenging to spot, but they can have a significant impact on your mental health. Some of the cognitive symptoms of burnout include forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and a feeling of being mentally drained. Burnout can also cause a sense of cynicism and a lack of creativity.


Forgetfulness is a common symptom of burnout, and it can make it challenging to remember even the simplest things. Difficulty concentrating can also be a result of burnout, and it can make it challenging to focus on work or personal tasks. Feeling mentally drained is another cognitive symptom of burnout, and it can make it challenging to think clearly.


If you experience any of these cognitive symptoms, it's essential to seek help. Burnout can have a significant impact on your mental health, and it's crucial to address it before it causes more serious damage.


The Link Between Burnout and Depression


Burnout and depression are closely linked, and they can have similar symptoms. It can cause feelings of hopelessness, irritability, and a lack of motivation, which are also symptoms of depression. If left unaddressed, burnout can lead to depression, which can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health.


It's essential to take action and use the right strategies and also seek help if you experience any symptoms of burnout or depression. A mental health professional can help you identify the cause of your symptoms and develop strategies to manage them.


How to Spot Burnout in Yourself


It's essential to be aware of the signs of burnout so you can take steps to prevent it from

causing serious damage to your mental and physical health. Some of the ways to spot

burnout in yourself include monitoring your physical and emotional symptoms, evaluating your work-life balance, and seeking help if necessary.


If you experience any of the physical, emotional, behavioral, or cognitive symptoms of burnout, it's essential to take a step back and evaluate your work-life balance. It's crucial to identify the cause of your burnout and take steps to prevent it from getting worse.


However, it is entirely possible to restore your balance without exiting your current work situation. By taking small, considered actions, such as limiting your work hours, and staying off email at certain times, you can begin to set the boundaries that will turn the tide. It can be helpful to take a small vacation for a reset at first, but ultimately, like changing your diet, you will need to remain vigilant as you create new habits for yourself.


How to Spot Burnout in Others


It's also essential to be aware of the signs of burnout in others so you can offer support and help them address the issue. In workplaces where burnout-creating activities are more common, burnout becomes contagious. It is critical if you are in a managerial or leadership role to intervene and redirect the activities that are harmful, preferably before burnout takes hold.


If that’s not possible, some of the ways to spot burnout in others include monitoring their physical and emotional symptoms, evaluating their work-life balance, and offering support and encouragement. Look for ways to restructure deadlines, work schedules, enforce vacation and breaks, inject strategic, innovative and creative activities into the routine.


A mental health professional can also help them identify the cause of their symptoms and develop strategies to manage them.


 

Burnout’s growing effect is toxic to business growth. Whether you are in a large organization, or are a solopreneur, interrupting the hustle and grind activities, even briefly, is essential to improving productivity and passion for the work at hand. If you need help dealing with burnout for yourself or your team, grab a complimentary discovery call, and see what is the best course of action for you right now.



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