A prankster gets in his car, coasts down a hill and ends up at a gas station. He presents his vehicle to the mechanic, exclaiming that it won’t start. The mechanic opens up the hood and finds a vacant space where the engine should be. The driver claims that the car was working fine until he ended up at the station.
Aside from being a terrible prank, this makes a good analogy for people who experience burnout. The sad irony is that high-achievers who work long hours and are passionate about what they do, often don’t notice burnout until it leads them to the point of physical and emotional exhaustion.
You would expect the opposite to be true. The harder you work, the more you achieve. So how can all that time and effort result in you coming to a dead stop? Well, burnout isn’t something you just wake up with one day.
Recognizing the signs at an early stage will prevent it from happening, helping you develop a habit of working at optimal pace. While it might initially seem like you’re getting less done in the same period of time, it’ll work out better for you in the long run. With this in mind, here are six signs that you’re experiencing burnout.
Lack of Enthusiasm
This doesn’t only apply to your work life. If every task, from getting out of bed, to making a cup of coffee, seems to feel considerably more difficult than before, chances are that burnout is to blame.
Inability to Concentrate
Chronic stress is another symptom of burnout. When we become stressed, our ability to concentrate quickly dissipates. In normal situations, our brains will only use this response in short bursts before going back to normal functioning.
But if you’re constantly stressed, you end up getting stuck in a dangerous loop that affects your ability to focus on tasks. This can subsequently make you more forgetful, which of course will negatively impact your work.
Indulging in unhealthy habits becomes a lot more enticing when you’re tired or stressed. This includes using sleeping pills or alcohol at the end of the day, and drinking copious amounts of caffeine in the morning before work. Smoking, eating junk food and being sedentary for long periods of time are also symptoms of burnout.
In this case, it’s important to replace harmful habits with healthy ones. For example, you can eat a more nutritious diet and exercise in the morning. You can also take health supplements to boost your mental performance. Granted, they can be expensive, so be sure to check out this alphabetical list of health and wellness discount codes to save some cash.
A depleted body and mind is a vulnerable one. Burnout can result in you being more prone to illnesses such as colds, flu and infections. There are also a number of physical symptoms to watch out for. This includes heart palpitations, dizziness, chest pain and shortness of breath.
Anxiety and Irritability
It should come as no surprise that anxious thoughts, tension and edginess are common precursors to burnout. As you inch closer to the point of exhaustion, these symptoms are amplified and will negatively impact your ability to work. In later stages, burnout can also lead to anger and irritability.
If you’re starting to feel some sort of disconnect from your environment and those around you, burnout might be to blame. This can extend to anxiety-related symptoms such as trust issues, as well as isolation from friends and family.
It’s clear that burnout is something nobody should ever have to deal with. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, be sure to consult a professional or speak to your management at work as soon as possible.