Everyone has a bad or stressful day from time to time and we all deal with that day in various ways. However, when those days start to outnumber the non-stressful days, and when our ability to deal with a bad situation is compromised so that we make it worse, we may be headed for a burn out. Burning out is more than just feeling tired and overworked. It’s that plus a level of anxiety and a dose of resignation, all followed by a plethora of health issues. If you can identify this before it happens, you’ll save more than your sanity in the long run.
So, what are the signs of burning out? Your body will send you plenty of clues that it’s time to slow down and take a break. In an article on CNN’s website titled, “Burned out? Know the signs and how to fix it,” one of the first signs is that your memory begins to slip. Unfortunately, if you’re stressed enough that this happens, you may not even realize it. Things like forgetting your phone, the name of a client, or even a coworker, can be red flag. Your ability to focus is interrupted and the stress hinders your body’s ability to encode memory details.
Another burnout issue is poor health. Most people are aware that when they’re stressed, their resistance is down, but did you know this also affects the healing process? Simple cuts and scrapes can take longer to heal. Another health issue when careening toward burnout is that your gut starts to rebel like an angry teenager. Gastrointestinal issues such as acid reflux, nausea, and bowel issues are part of the roller coaster ride that your body goes on when overly stressed. And women get to deal with another issue made worse by stress – PMS. Yes, not only do cramps become worse, but extreme burnout can throw the entire menstrual cycle off track. Now that your body is freaking out, it’s time for its largest organ to react. That’s right, the skin chimes in about this point with inflammation and itchiness. This is why people under heavy stress often show visible hot spots, scratch themselves, or get rashes. It’s the skin’s dynamic ability to react that makes it so sensitive. Speaking of dynamic reactions, burning out can often lead to sleep deprivation, which can then lead to weird dreams. Strange dreams are the direct result of your body prioritizing REM sleep whenever you do get some much-needed rest. Finally, you may get a severe headache or even a migraine, but the funny thing is that this doesn’t occur until the weekend when things have calmed down. It’s not known why this is triggered, but it could be due to a sharp drop in the level of activity and the body’s buildup of stress-related chemicals.
Okay, you’ve made a checklist of these signs that you’re heading for a burnout and all the boxes on your list are checked, some may even be marked two or three times and highlighted. What do you do about it? Start with the basics. Learn relaxation techniques such as meditative breathing, yoga, and small breaks throughout the day. When it comes to meals, use those as a further break rather than grabbing something fast and inhaling it while you continue to work. While you’re eating, pick healthy foods your body needs such as lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And stop skimping on your sleep routine. Set aside the right amount of time for proper, deep sleep and then dedicate yourself to following it.
Utilizing these tips for recognition and relaxation will certainly help you to become a more composed and productive person rather than someone on their way to burning out.