You’re tired, frustrated, and bored. The hours and days and weeks blur together, and you’re seriously starting to question, is this all that my life is going to be?
You used to have lofty dreams that excited you. You used to know what fun and fulfillment felt like, and you chased those feelings with persistence and dedication.
When was the last time you experienced those sensations? Better yet, when was the last time you experienced passion? If you’re unsure of these answers, you may be struggling with signs of burnout. Let’s get into the symptoms you need to know about.
You Don’t Feel Motivated
Whether it’s at work, school, or home, your ambition has waned. You’re no longer pushing yourself to the limit- or pushing yourself at all. It’s like you’re on this strange autopilot mode, but you can’t even enjoy the benefits of so-called “coasting.”
Instead of motivation, you feel a sense of dread or apathy. Maybe you also feel a pervasive sense of numbness- like none of it matters. Projects that once excited you now evoke negative emotions. You don’t want to do anything- it all feels like so much work.
You’re Becoming Physically Ill
There is a powerful connection between the body and the mind. Chronic stress can compromise the immune system, and mental exhaustion can manifest itself in headaches, cold-like symptoms, and gastrointestinal distress.
Furthermore, because burnout can jeopardize basic self-care (exercise, nutrition, proper sleep hygiene), the body becomes even more prone to physical ailments.
You’re Cynical And Jaded
While it’s normal to become frustrated at work or home, constant pessimism and negativity can be a warning sign of burnout. We all feel stressed, and some irritation is a fleeting feeling.
A pervasive cynical outlook, on the other hand, can create a sense that things are ‘completely pointless’ or that there isn’t ‘any escape.’ When we start to believe those distorted thoughts, we tend to feel both hopeless and helpless.
This headspace makes it difficult to stay grounded and grateful. It also makes it challenging to discern whether it’s you or the environment that needs to change.
When we feel burnt out, we often resort to short-term fixes to try and “numb” the misery. Rather than face and confront the complicated emotions, we may turn to other methods to squash or reduce the frustration. Self-medicating can come in the forms of:
Alcohol or drugs
Sex or promiscuous behavior
Gambling or shopping
Television, video games, or Internet
When used in moderation, these behaviors do not inherently raise flag for concern. However, if you’re using these tactics in excess, it could indicate the sign of a much deeper issue.
You Can’t Focus Or Concentrate
The human psyche has a threshold, and if we’re working yourself to the point of complete exhaustion, this fatigue will take a toll. A lack of the ability to focus is one of the telltale signs of burnout.
Maybe you used to be the queen of multitasking, but today you can’t even read a book without your mind wandering. Perhaps you used to dominate in a certain skill at work, but now you’re struggling to finish that particular task- despite having the time and resources to do so.
You Never Feel Satisfied
Do you struggle with constructive feedback? Panic if you make an error- even if nobody else notices? Does a slip-up send you into a downward spiral of despair and self-loathing?
The perils of perfectionism can also be a hidden sign of burnout, and perfectionism represents a losing battle for individuals trying to ‘have it all.’ That’s because a single mistake becomes a life-changing catastrophe. Moreover, the constant berating and self-criticism that follows the mistake only perpetuates a vicious cycle of shame, fear, and depression.
You Dream and Fantasize Incessantly About A Drastic Change
Most of us imagine what it would feel like to win the lottery or pack up our bags and move to a foreign country. Fantasizing is fun; it provides a relieving break from the demands of our daily routine. However, like anything else, constant fantasizing can be a symptom of a deeper issue.
When we dislike our current reality, we’re more susceptible to this compulsive daydreaming.
However, this dissociative trance, while it may seem harmless, can make us feel worse. That’s because we compare this unrealistic image to our current lives- and that comparison game often justifies a doomed feeling that we’ll never be happy.
What To Do If You Have These Signs Of Burnout
Unfortunately, many people suffer for years before addressing their burnout. That’s because it can be challenging to detect the problem before it’s become a full-blown phenomenon. Many people also believe it will get better on their own or they just need to learn how to deal with it.
That said, chronic, untreated burnout can lead to a variety of problems including impaired work or school performance, family or marital issues, physical ailments, and exacerbated mental health problems. If you think (or know) that you’re struggling with these signs of burnout, therapy can help. We will work together to explore the factors attributing to your burnout, and we will also identify realistic goals for change.
You deserve to live a happy and meaningful life- and not a life that feels depressing, boring, and exhaustive! I specialize in working with women who feel overwhelmed and burnt out. Call me and let’s get you back on track towards optimal fulfillment!