Burning Out Mentally and 5 Steps to Fix It

How to recognize you’re burning out and 5 steps you can take to fix it.

Burning out is a common feeling; it is described as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.” by David Ballard, PsyD from The American Psychological Association. It has a lot to do with experiencing chronic stress. In those situations, the demand being placed on you exceeds the resources you have available to deal with the stressors. If left unaware, burnout can damage your health, relationships, happiness, and work life. We often aren’t aware of the warning signs in order to catch it early. It is important to know what to look out for.

Here are some of the signs you may notice that can indicate you being or becoming burned out:

1.       Exhaustion

2.      Lack of Motivation

3.      Frustration, Cynicism and other negative emotions

4.      Cognitive issues

5.      Slipping Job performance

6.      Interpersonal problems at home or at work

7.      Not taking care of yourself

8.       Distracted by work when you are not at work (Not being able to focus or be present)

9.      Generalized decrease in overall satisfaction

10.    Health problems

It’s important to prioritize taking care of yourself first before taking care of someone else. Here are some things you may want to take a look at when working through burnout.

Unplug and take a moment to yourself and analyze your current situation, reassess and stay attuned. 

It’s good to know how you ended up in the state of mind you are in while being burned out. Take a moment without distraction and detach from social media and unplug in order to assess your current situation. By taking a moment to analyze your situation you can backtrack to see what events lead to your current state.

Sometimes we may not notice important life changes such as loss, separation, even events such as promotions and celebrations or the completion of projects can cause us to feel a bit overwhelmed when combined with the busyness of our day to day tasks. Knowing what’s going on in your life will create a space where you can initiate a course of action when faced with burn out. It may be taking a few steps back or even putting less important tasks on hold while you address an important objective. What matters is taking a moment to detach from the busyness

Reduce exposure to stressful places, people, and situations.

There may be people in your life or those you may encounter day to day who are usually negative. Do your best to spend less time around them as it may also affect your mood as well. It’s also important to know when it’s you who’s in a state of negativity and when it’s them. If you have a high-stress work environment it may be in your best interest as well as your employer’s best interest that you take time away to recollect yourself and distance yourself from the negative impact certain work stressors can place on your mental health.

Consider looking back at what areas of your life are not in the best interest for your mental health and take making lifestyle changes into consideration. You may be in the wrong work field or in the wrong relationship and you are too exhausted to take that into account on how you feel. Any time you may have to yourself use it to understand what may have shifted in your life that has you feeling burned out. If a new job isn’t right for you after you have given it some time to consider a new workplace or profession. If a relationship is causing you to feel overwhelmed consider changing yourself in ways you can improve how you handle things if that doesn’t work then consider having a conversation before deciding to leave the relationship due to being burned out and overwhelmed by it.

Cultivate a rich out of work life find passion in things you enjoy doing outside of work

Find the time to create a home space that provides a way for you to relax and unwind after a long day. If your living space is usually cluttered and messy, try managing your time to allow space for cleaning up. A clean home space provides comfort and supports a calm and cozy environment for rest. Try picking up a hobby such as writing, playing a musical instrument, creating art, or craft work such as building models. A daily home routine is also a helpful method when working on de-stressing.

Take relaxation seriously, rest, and sleep

During burning out we often feel we aren’t doing enough so it’s important to take rest and relaxation very serious. If you have a day off take the day to yourself without feeling guilty about not doing anything. If you have obligations toward others in your family it’s important to communicate to them how you may be feeling so you can take whatever time is needed to get rest. Being present plays a big role here, if you notice it is becoming harder and harder for you to stay present take that as an indicator that you may need to spend some time catching up on sleep or sitting down without any distractions meditating or simply taking time for yourself.

Know when enough is enough. 

Try reaching out to someone such as your partner, family, and friends. Opening up won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most friends and loved ones will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your friendship. Try not to think about what’s burning you out and make the time you spend with loved ones positive and enjoyable.