Feeling a little bit (or maybe a lot) burned out at work this time of year? You’re not alone. If left to fester, burnout can affect you physically and mentally, and of course, impact your entire life. Because what we experience at work isn’t left at the door when we come home, no matter how hard we try. We still carry it even if no one sees it.

Essentially, you’ve “checked out,” and you couldn’t do differently if you tried. Burnout leaves you feeling apathetic to the point where you’ve stopped putting in the effort, you are exhausted, your performance suffers, and finally, What creeps in to affect you physically. Maybe you’re having headaches or migraines. Your sleep might be suffering, oh and your relationships might be too.

Burnout isn’t a medical diagnosis, but it can be tied to other medical conditions such as depression. It is a type of bone-deep stress that brings physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.

So, how can you tell if you’re experiencing burnout?

I think you know already, but here are some signs to be on the lookout to start making better choices for yourself!

  1. You just can’t get excited about your work anymore.
  2. Your performance at work is suffering.
  3. You can’t seem to put in 100% anymore.
  4. You feel exhausted: beyond tired, profound exhaustion that you can’t shake.
  5. You are starting to have physical symptoms and ailments.

As high-achieving professionals, whether in leadership or not, we are used to keeping all of the plates spinning. We, perhaps, even pride ourselves on how much we can get done on any given day. But when we are testing the limits of what we can reasonably hand each day at work as a matter of pride, it can go off the rails quickly.

Throw in the upcoming holidays, and it gets messy fast.

How Does Burnout Happen?

There are two main ways we can think about burnout:

  1. Physical exhaustion
  2. Mental exhaustion

Physical exhaustion usually comes first and is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, and fatigue. It may manifest physically as weight gain or loss, muscle pain, insomnia, or digestive issues.

The mental exhaustion aspect of burnout is harder to spot because it doesn’t necessarily show up in your body, but it’s affecting you nonetheless.

There are many ways to treat burnout. It depends on how severe the problem is and whether it’s affecting other areas of your life. Consider that you might need to seek help from a therapist or psychiatrist if severe.

Other options could include:

  • Meditation or mindfulness techniques to reduce stress.
  • Practice gratitude
  • Take some time to recharge.
  • Delegate, and lighten your load at home or work.
  • Have a conversation with your boss about the effects, being clear that it’s not just a one-off thing; it’s a pattern.
  • Log off or disconnect at home after a specific time.

Burnout doesn’t go away until you make it go away. You are the only one who can do something about this because you are the one feeling it. I know that may add some pressure right now, but it’s true. We make choices to say yes, and to say no. We know what we can accomplish and what is beyond what we can handle. But until we understand that we teach people how to treat us, including ourselves, nothing changes, and I want more than that for you.

Be good to yourself, and here’s wishing you the Clarity you deserve!


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