What Does Burnout Feel Like?

What Does Burnout Feel Like?
Mental exhaustion from prolonged stress is on symptom of burnout. 

Burnout is a feeling of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion resulting from prolonged stress. It can cause the person to feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with their own life and obligations. People who experience burnout often become cynical, unmotivated, and emotionally drained.

This post will explore what burnout feels like, both physically and emotionally, as well as look at the factors that contribute to it. You'll also find out about warning signs you should watch out for, and how to manage and address burnout.

If you think you’re struggling with burnout, know that you are not alone and there are resources available to help you cope. Read on to better understand burnout and to learn some strategies for tackling it.

Psychology of Burnout

Burnout is a state of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion that comes from prolonged stress at work. Despite the name, burnout doesn’t necessarily have to be caused by work-related stress. It can be caused by any number of factors, such as long-term caregiving duties or chronic health problems.

When dealing with burnout, you may feel overwhelmed, exhausted and unmotivated. A sense of hopelessness is common, as well as irritability, difficulty sleeping and a lack of energy. Burnout also affects your ability to think clearly and concentrate. You may experience a feeling of being emotionally drained and may find it difficult to get excited or motivated about anything.

You may become more sensitive, easily annoyed or frustrated. You may also find yourself more apathetic, withdrawn, and disconnected from those around you. You may even find yourself expecting the worst in any situation. You may start to lack confidence in your abilities, or be overly critical of yourself and others.

These feelings are tricky to manage on their own, but when added to a pile of external commitments, they can quickly become overwhelming. Knowing the psychological symptoms of burnout can help you better identify it in yourself and in those around you, and seek support and solutions to address it.

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    What Does Burnout Feel Like?

    Burnout can manifest itself in both physical and emotional symptoms. People often feel exhausted and drained, both physically and emotionally due to the extreme levels of stress they are under. Burnout can also have serious physical symptoms, including headaches, chest pain, digestive dysfunction, insomnia, and feelings of numbness or indifference.

    Burnout often creates a sense of hopelessness in a person, as well as a feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to cope with their daily tasks. It can lower energy levels, cause a lack of concentration, create feelings of apathy, and disrupt relationships with others. It is important to recognize the signs of burnout in order to take care of yourself and address the situation.

    Common physical reactions associated with burnout include:

    • Fatigue
    • Headaches
    • Stomach aches
    • Muscle tension
    • Insomnia
    • Loss of appetite
    • Digestive problems
    • Heart palpitations
    • Chest pain

    It is important to listen to your body when it comes to recognizing burnout and taking measures to manage it. If you feel any of the above physical symptoms, don't ignore them – get help!

    What Causes Burnout?

    Burnout has many different causes, and it’s important to understand what these causes are in order to effectively manage it.

    There are three key contributing factors: individual, environmental, and occupational.

    Individual Causes of Burnout

    The individual causes of burnout refer to the unique pressures and expectations one places on oneself. It could be an expectation to constantly be productive or to achieve perfection in all areas of life. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, fatigue, and frustration. Other individual causes of burnout include stress, lack of motivation, unhealthy thoughts, or a lack of balance between work and life.

    Environmental Causes of Burnout

    The environmental causes of burnout refer to the external pressures and demands one faces. This could include a demanding work environment, a negative home life, or a lack of support from those around you. These external factors can contribute to difficulty managing stress, which then leads to burnout.

    Occupational Causes of Burnout

    Lastly, the occupational causes of burnout refer to what is happening in the workspace. This could be a heavy workload or an overly competitive work environment. It could also include long hours, inadequate resources, or a lack of flexibility. These workplace factors can cause an individual to feel overwhelmed, which can lead to burnout.

    It is important to recognize the variety of factors that can contribute to burnout in order to effectively identify and manage the condition. Understanding the causes of burnout can help people take the necessary steps to prevent it.

    Warning Signs Of Burnout

    Burnout can creep up on you without any signs or warning. However, there are some tell-tale signs to watch out for that might indicate that you’re heading down the road of burnout. Here are a few:

    • Lack of motivation and enthusiasm
    • Increasingly negative attitude towards tasks that used to be enjoyable
    • Feeling like you have no control over your life
    • Constant fatigue and sluggishness
    • Loss of focus and difficulty concentrating
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Lack of satisfaction from accomplishments
    • Isolation from loved ones and activities you typically enjoy
    • Using drugs or alcohol to cope
    • Unexplained pains or bodily aches

    If you find yourself experiencing several of these symptoms on a regular or semi-regular basis, it may be time to take a serious look at how you’re managing your stress levels. Try to make a conscious effort to recognize, understand, and manage the warning signs before burnout can take a stronghold.

    Coping Strategies for Burnout

    Burnout is a real and often overwhelming issue for many people. It can be difficult to identify the cause of burnout and to know how to manage its effects. Thankfully, there are several strategies that can help you address and manage burnout.

    One key strategy is to recognize the warning signs of burnout, so you can begin to take action before it becomes too overwhelming. Once you've identified your own warning signs, it's important to pay attention to them and take breaks when needed. Taking time off to relax and recharge may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with burnout.

    It's also important to practice self-care. Even small activities like taking short walks, reading, or listening to music can help manage burnout. Make sure to get outside in the fresh air for some vitamin D, as sunlight can help improve mood and energy levels. Exercise and healthy eating can also boost physical and mental wellbeing, so make time for regular physical activity.

    In addition to physical self-care, it's important to take care of yourself emotionally and mentally. Talk to friends and family, spend time in nature, allow yourself to cry when needed or take a mental health day. If necessary, seek out professional help from a counsellor or therapist for additional support.

    It can also help to prioritize tasks and find ways to reduce stress. Make lists to help manage workloads, delegate tasks when possible, break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable ones, and set boundaries around available time for work. Finally, take time to rest and reset with engaging activities such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness.

    Burnout is a very real and very serious problem that can have severe consequences. It can cause physical, mental, and emotional distress, as well as significantly disrupt your life. Despite the seriousness of burnout, it is very manageable and it is important to take action to protect yourself.

    It is essential to recognize the warning signs of burnout and take the necessary steps to address them. Keeping track of your physical and emotional reactions, such as feeling overwhelmed, having difficulty concentrating and sleeping, or developing physical ailments due to stress, can help you identify when it’s time to take a break. Additionally, understanding the individual, environmental, and occupational factors that may be contributing to your burnout can help you create a plan of action.

    Finally, there are a variety of coping strategies, such as practicing mindfulness, self-care, and actively engaging in hobbies that you enjoy, to help manage and prevent burnout. Taking the time to prioritize these steps can make a tremendous difference in reducing the impacts of burnout and restoring balance in your life. Do not hesitate to reach out for help if you need it—there are plenty of online resources available to support those struggling with burnout. If you take the time to understand what burnout feels like, recognize the warning signs, and develop strategies to cope, you can take back control of your life and thrive!

    Resources For Those Living With Burnout

    Burnout can be a difficult, emotionally challenging experience to go through. That's why it is important to seek out helpful resources to make the process of recovery easier. There are a wide range of online resources that provide support and guidance to people living with burnout. Here are some great places to start:

    • Burnout Support – An online platform offering support and advice for burnout sufferers.
    • The American Institute of Stress – An organization dedicated to helping individuals and organizations combat stress.
    • The Anxiety and Depression Association of America – A non-profit organization that provides information, resources, and treatment referrals for those living with anxiety and depression.

    These sites provide a wealth of information about burnout, its causes, effects and possible treatments. They also have active online communities where you can connect with fellow burnout sufferers and get support from other people in similar situations.

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