Burn out

13 Signs You Are Experiencing Burn Out

Burnout is often described as being worn out. But, you’re not just tired, overworked, depressed, or exhausted. Well, you may be. But, the core of the issue actually could go a bit deeper than these surface emotions.

Let me introduce you to 13 of the most common symptoms I see on a daily basis, so you can see if burnout is manifesting itself in more ways than just “fatigue”.

Because, if you feel like you’re simply exhausted, you might just go take a nap. And the problem is? That doesn’t fix anything...in fact, it could increase the feelings of hopelessness you may experience.

Burnout is a cumulative process, in which the alarm signal of stress goes off day in and day out for a long period of time in your body.

But it’s only supposed to go off for a brief time...until you can fight or run your way out of danger.

The stress response (especially when it’s overused) creates some fairly toxic responses in our bodies.

It suppresses the immune system, tissue repair, and digestion processes to drive blood to the arms and legs to fight or run from danger, so the longer chronic stress lasts, the more damage it does to your body and the more resources it depletes. It even increases the bad cholesterol and reduces the good kind.

So...it’s kind of important that you recognize these 143 symptoms of burnout (beyond fatigue and exhaustion), so you can take action to resolve it.

  1. Lack of Motivation: This is when your mojo has taken a hike and you have no clue where it’s gone. You might not want to get out of bed most mornings or even want to engage in things that you once enjoyed. If you were once productive, you might find that your productivity has stooped to an all-time low.

  2. Cognitive Struggles: Dazed and confused much? It might be burnout. If you were once a stellar problem-solver, you might find that you can’t think straight to get started on a problem, much less to solve it. Once jammin’ decision-makers, will often find themselves in states of confusion...and brain fog? Well, when you’re burned out, it’s likely your current mental state on most days.

  3. Relationship Issues: Find yourself engulfed in battles, more often than not, with family members? Could be one of your symptoms. OR perhaps you’ve slid all the way to the other end of the spectrum and have just completely cut yourself off from your people. Either way, it’s time to do something about this burnout you’re feeling.

  4. Self-Care Begins To Slip: Self-abuse and self-neglect has very little to do with failing to get a massage like you usually do and more to do with not taking care of your body, binging on junk food, carbs, and alcohol. It can even come in the form of not drinkig enough water! And these behaviors not only show you that burnout is likely behind them, but they also amplify the symptoms of burnout by reducing the amount of healing rest you get, pushing you farther into a hole that will be hard as hell to get out of.

  5. Increase of Health Concerns: The way burnout manifests physically is kind of all across the board. It shows up as headaches, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, digestive issues, fainting, dizziness, loss of appetite, and lack of sleep. If left untreated it becomes difficult to ascertain which was the chicken and which was the egg. Did the headaches create the burnout or did the burnout create the headaches?

  6. Cynicism: “What’s the freakin’ point??” is often a mentality that comes with burnout. Things you used to love, now no longer mean anything. What used to fuel pride, excitement, hope, joy, and even financial abundance soon is replaced with a pointless sensation and everything begins to feel meaningless.

  7. Growing Exhaustion: The constant sense of exhaustion is truly a clear sign of burnout. When you just can’t get enough rest, or just can’t refill your energy reserves burnout is likely the culprit. Exhaustion is rarely only felt in the physical sense of the word. While being burned out you will likely feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. In other words, you won’t be able to sleep enough to change anything.

  8. Decrease of Positive Emotions: Being fed up with everything, your work, your relationships, yourself, and your life, are all places burnout really rips us apart. Because a brain which is impacted by chronic stress and burnout typically becomes focused on perceived emergencies, threates, resentments, problems and attacks.

  9. Depersonalization: The mental, spiritual, and physical exhaustion from burnout create a sense of depersonalization. The best descriptor I can create is we just don’t have the emotional bandwidth to engage and care about family, friends, and other important people in our lives. Depersonalization clearly creates a catch 22 situation because as we disengage in life people we eliminate ways to heal the burnout that we are experiencing.

  10. Insomnia: Contrary to popular belief there are actually stages of burnout. During the early stages of burnout you will typically experience having some difficulty falling asleep one or two nights a week. While, in the later stages of burnout you will actually experience persistent and chronic insomnia. And despite the fact that you are completely exhausted you just can’t find a way to sleep.

  11. Anxiety: It makes perfect sense to me that when you are experiencing burnout you will also experience anxiety. The lack of deep, healing sleep typically increases both anxiety and depression. In the beginning of burnout you may experience edginess, and worry. While in the later stages of burnout you will experience a constant sense of anxiety such that it becomes difficult to engage in work or personal life.

  12. Depression: Again this is one of those symptoms that occur on the continuum. In the early stages of burnout, you may feel sadness, worthlessness, and guilt. However, as the burnout grows this symptoms shows up in the form of feeling trapped, hopeless, and severely depressed. If this is where you are currently at please seek help at once!

  13. Anger: Being in a chronic state of “pissed off” is a tell-tale sign that your gasket has reached its highest pressure. (Again if your anger has reached the point where you are engaging in acts of violence please seek help immediately).

While this is not, by any means, an exhaustive list of burnout symptoms. These are some of the most common that you will easily and readily recognize. If you want to find out where you are on the burnout continuum I’ve created a fun little quiz for you to determine where you are at on the burnout continuum.

How to manage burnout when you’re used to giving everything

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I work with very driven women every day.

And I love working with them, because I’m also very driven.

But the downside of being so driven is it’s easy to find yourself burned out. Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout, as well as how to combat it.  

When you love what you do and who you work with it’s easy to compromise your boundaries. And it becomes more and more tempting to skip lunches, to sacrifice off time, to begin working more and more with less and less down time.

Increasing our risk of burnout.

Burnout occurs on a spectrum, which means you don’t need to experience all of these symptoms in order for it to need attention. The symptoms of burnout that I typically warn my clients about include:

  • Fatigue

  • Not being able to get enough rest

  • Feeling stagnant or stuck

  • Decreased social connections

  • Constant exhaustion

  • Short temper

  • Difficulty maintaining healthy habits

  • Headaches, lingering  colds, increase of health complications

  • Lack of focus

  • Feeling of not being effective

  • Cynicism and other negative thoughts/feelings

  • Cognitive issues

  • Self care completely dissipates

  • Increase in mental health symptoms

I really want to reiterate that if you find yourself experiencing ANY of the symptoms I listed above, then PLEASE consider checking the solutions I am listing below. If you are currently experiencing more than half of the symptoms above, then please get in touch with me.

You don’t need to suffer alone.

When looking at solutions to heal burn out, it’s super important to make sure they are simple and realistic. When I’m experiencing burn out, meditating for an hour a day just isn’t going to happen. So...if while reading any of these, the suggestions feel like too much, break it down and keep it simple. Do what works for YOU. Remember when we are healing burn out, it’s crucial that we keep it simple, easy, helpful and practical.

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One of the best suggestions I have ever received is to set a time for two minutes. So implement any or all of these suggestions for JUST two minutes.

Set the timer and let the healing begin, then when the timer goes off return to work as normal.

This has to be a no brainer for you!

Healing should be easy, natural, and simple. My recommendations include:

  1. Set Limits: Limits are a healthy way of establishing boundaries.

    Contrary to popular belief settling limits is a healthy and self supporting activity to engage in. Some of the limits I typically recommend to clients are to take a FULL LUNCH, schedule down time, and schedule two minute breaks to just breathe. During times of burn out it’s super important to set yourself up for success.

  2. Intentional Relaxation: Relaxation is typically the opposite of being burned out.

    It’s important to dedicate to the habit of engaging in relaxation.  

    Take an extra long shower or bath, spend three minutes outside in the sunlight, spend two minutes looking at the stars. Set the timer on your cell phone for 30 seconds and just focus on your breathing.

  3. Disconnect from gadgets: It’s crucial to disconnect from being “on call” or “on demand” from everyone in the world.

    It’s also important to find a few moments each day to disconnect from cell phones, laptops, nooks, kindles, desktops, televisions, etc. It’s important in the beginning of this activity to prepare for the panic that may set in.

    It can feel super unsafe to  not be accessible 24/7.

    However, it’s important for you to keep in mind that while highly uncomfortable, you are completely safe. Start for very small periods of time and then build up from there.

  4. Get back to basics: I mean this one very literally.

    When we look at the basics we consider things like sleep, hydrations, movement, nutrition, etc. I’m a huge proponent for regular check in’s on these issues.

    How much water are you drinking? How much sleep are you getting? Are you waking up feeling refreshed? Are you feeding your body food that nourishes it? What kind of movement are you giving your body? When’s the last time you stretched your body?

Burn out is a natural and normal culprit that occurs when you are driven and passionate about what you do and who you work with.

Let’s forgo the self deprecating and beating ourselves up for finding ourselves relating to the criteria outlined in this blog. Treat yourself with some compassion and empathy and implement one of the skills above.

If you are struggling with burnout (or even just need to identify if you truly are burned out) I’m here to help. Join me for a free class called 3 Proven Methods to Dissolve Burnout Quickly!

Jenn Bovee is The Driven Women’s Coach to Wholeness. She thrives on empowering her clients to find their way back to living life, loving life, and living in joy.

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The Magic of Sleep

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I have never been a good sleeper. Even as a child, after my sister fell asleep I would take my pillow and blanket and lay on the hallway floor and watch television. On my best nights I would lay there for two and a half hours before I fell asleep. On my worst nights it was substantially worse. As I grew older my poor sleep continued to grow more and more out of control. At one point, in my adult life, my sleep was so poor that if you pieced together all the ten-minute sections of sleep I got, it would equate to just about three hours. To say this impacted every area of my life is the greatest understatement of all time. Are you aware of how your body and mind are impacted by sleep loss? Many people are aware that sleep loss causes depression and even accident proneness, but what about the other areas impacted by sleep loss? Here’s a short run down of the impact of sleep loss: Weakened immune response, weight gain, impaired brain function, cognitive dysfunction, high blood pressure, heart disease, destroys sex drive, and is responsible for accidental deaths. The impact of sleeplessness is wide ranging, but I wanted to give you a taste for it.

For those of you who have struggled with getting deep, healing, rejuvenating sleep I would recommend the following immediately: do not use the bed for anything other than sleep and sex. Any other activities done in bed create confusion in your subconscious mind. Remember that 96-98% of habits and behaviors are stored in your subconscious mind. As such if the habit is that when you lay down you are doing anything other than sleep it creates confusion for your subconscious mind. At the end of the day sleep is a habit. My goal is to empower you to change your habit so that you can live the life you have always wanted to.

Here are my sleep suggestions:

  1. Disconnect: Inside of the television there is a blue tube that is designed to stimulate your brain. The IPAD is capable of depleting all of the melatonin in your brain. I recommend disconnecting all electronics at least a half hour to 45 minutes prior to bed time. Read a book, take a bath, clean the kitchen sink; whatever else we do we must stop stimulating our brains.
  2. Routine: All sleep experts agree on the validity of a sleep routine. My personal sleep routine is before bed I take my vitamins and supplements, drink a bottle of water, and brush my teeth. My experience is that once you being using a sleep routine the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep will diminish.
  3. Self-hypnosis: Once I learned how to use self-hypnosis my sleep substantially improved! If you are not using self-hypnosis I would strongly encourage you to begin. It’s hugely healing and it’s been a game changer for me. While engaging in self hypnosis I typically affirm that I am able to quickly and easily get to a deep level of sleep.
  4. Gratitude Game: Occasionally I will struggle with achieving sleep quickly. On those occasions when I am struggling with sleep, I play the gratitude game. The way I play it is I think of something to be grateful for that begins with the letters of the alphabet. If by some chance I am still awake by the time I reach the letter Z, then I just do it backwards coming up with different things to be grateful for.
  5. Deep Breathing: This is such a valid and helpful component; I just couldn’t leave it out. Engaging in deep breathing relaxes the brain and body. Just for a moment do 5 deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. I would encourage you to do this several times a day.
  6. Letting go:  Many people have developed the habit of reviewing their day once they are in bed.  Find a way to release the stress, anxiety, and worry before you ever climb into bed.  Methods of letting go of these issues include: journaling, exercising, bathing, walking. Find a way that works for you.

Jenn Bovee, LCSW is a spiritual life coach and psychotherapist. Jenn offers in person therapy as well as distance life coaching. If you would like to learn more about Jenn or her services please check her out here:  www.JennBoveeLCSW.com

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