Americans are exhausted. It’s not a surprise to many of us that there’s a study that found nearly 40% of Americans wake up still feeling sleepy.
I know that most of us can really relate to this. It’s like our energy levels have risen and fallen in waves that are sometimes too inexplicable. There are mornings that I can barely open my eyes by 9:30 AM and there are times that I feel so energetic early in the morning with great levels of excitement. The question is, are we really just tired, or is there something more serious behind those days that we lack in energy?
What is burnout?
Burnout is defined as the mental and physical collapse caused by overworking and stress. While fatigue is also a sign of burnout, it can also manifest along with physical and mental symptoms.
The difference is that when you’re just plain tired, you’re able to function even though you’re not in your full potential. But when you’re experiencing burnout, you are no longer able to function effectively on a personal and even on a professional level. It can even feel extreme, almost like you’re tired physically and emotionally.
Symptoms of burnout
- Physical and emotional exhaustion. When you’re experiencing burnout, not only do you feel physical exhaustion but it includes feeling very drained and depleted emotionally–almost like you’re feeling depressed. You may also experience having difficulty in sleeping even though you’re already tired. Chances are, you’re also being forgetful and your immune system is suffering.
- Detachment. You may start to feel negative, disconnected from other people, and complacent. Even people who seem so passionate about work, family and everything else can still feel this emptiness when they’re feeling burned out.
- Ineffectiveness. You feel distracted, so you are not being as productive as you normally are. You may start to wonder if what you’re doing is okay or what it’s really for.
What causes burnout?
Burnout is simply caused by chronic stress that has built up over time. It’s our body’s way of saying that it needs a break, so that’s what we should give it.
The good news is that one or two nights of not being able to sleep properly won’t make you feel burnout. However, when you’re feeling too much stress over work-related issues, emotional negativity, or even social stressors and it continues over a long period of time, your body and mind might start to feel like it can’t keep up.
How do you overcome burnout?
- Practice self-care. Go easy on yourself and don’t overwork. Learn how to take breaks before your mind and body shut down on you. Take bubble baths and use face masks to help relieve stress– or whatever makes you feel better, go for it. Recovering from a burnout takes time, some people take more than just a day to get back on their feet.
- Set priorities. People who don’t prioritize are prone to burnouts. They start to feel overwhelmed after long periods of juggling from one task to another until it starts to feel endless and tiring. When you learn how to prioritize, you can proceed from one task to another without feeling like you have so many things to do.
- Get some sleep. This is very simple, the best form of rest is sleep and you need it!
Life can be very hectic at times and we all deal with stress on a daily basis. If we don’t learn how to take care of ourselves despite our busy schedule, we are only going to make it worse for our physical and mental health. In order to deal with this positively, we must learn to be mindful of taking breaks when the going gets too tough.