In a world of overwhelming tasks, demands business and life, it’s not surprising that we get overwhelmed and feel like we are drowning. The trouble is this leads to burnout which leads to needing time out to recover and also suffering along the way.
We don’t always know that this is how we feel as we are ploughing through the world and our never ending to do list, striving to achieve, working way too many hours a week (entrepreneurs are the worst for this), managing the family, being a mum, being a woman and somewhere along the way wanting to be happy!
What are the signs of overwhelm? If you recognise any of these or even several, be mindful that you could be heading towards on in the middle of burnout. If you feel all of them, then it is officially burnout and it’s time to take action to look after your health.
1. Every curveball is a major crisis. When even unimportant or small issues produce a strong emotional reaction, it is time to notice. Being depleted yourself means you won’t have the mental or physical resources to distinguish between a small problem and a big crisis. They all become huge and then it is impossible to know where to start to deal with them.
2. Chronic low energy and exhaustion. Exhaustion is one of the three big dimensions of burnout. The exhaustion associated with burnout is on a different level than just feeling tired here and there as we normally do – it’s a chronic state of feeling overwhelmed, feeling as tired as when you went to bed and thinking about when you can sleep again. A lack of energy accompanies this so you don’t feel like doing exercise or things you normally would.
3. Getting ill more frequently. Stress and adrenaline will keep you going for a while, but once that wears off and runs out, your body will crash. The result is that your immune system breaks down and that makes you more susceptible to getting ill and picking up every bug going. This can mean anything from colds and flu to headaches, migraines, stomach ache, and heart palpitations – plus worrying constantly about your health.
4. Not enough rest to relax and recharge. Recovery is an important component of the burnout prevention process. In today’s world, we are expected to keep going and going, achieving and succeeding but also take care of ourselves. The argument will be that there is no time but do you have time for burnout??
5. Feeling constantly inefficient and like you just can’t produce results. When you feel this way, your confidence plummets, you feel less effective at everything and your self-worth will be impacted too. The more you try and become efficient, the more you feel it isn’t working and you start to not multitask efficiently but rather become random in thoughts, concentration and attention. Develop a scatter approach and get nothing done. You develop a perceived decline in achievement, even if others tell you that you are doing great.
6. Feeling disengaged and ‘checked out’. When you feel like you are just not engaging anymore with anything properly or with interest. Burnout will unplug you from those things that give you energy and enthusiasm usually. This can be emotionally too when you are just not feeling much about anything.
7. Become a huge cynic. Your enthusiasm for anything has faded and now everything and everyone rubs you the wrong way and annoys you. If you used to put in extra time and effort on projects, now you do just the bare minimum. You avoid people and don’t believe it can all be done.
8. Can’t let go of perfection. Research shows that perfectionistic tendencies are associated with a higher risk of burnout because perfectionist behaviour patterns drain your energy. Depending on what you do, the key is to ask yourself whether perfection is necessary for each thing you are applying it to and more often than not, the answer is no.
So if you feel you are at risk of burnout, what can you do?
You need to learn how to build your resilience and tune back into the things that engage you. Identify the areas that are causing you to suffer the most and get some help to organise and work through them. Talk to people around you, if they don’t understand see a professional. Look at your values and see which ones are really being compromised and neglected
1.Stop trying to please everyone and pull back from all the ‘spreading thinly’ of yourself
2. Learn how to put healthy boundaries in place so things don’t spill over into the wrong zones.
3. Make some decisions. Better ones around these issues.
4. Realise that the world won’t stop turning if you take a break. Other people need you and YOU need you. If you run your own business, often it will be impacted or stop if you do.
5. Take time OUT. For you. Regularly. Get good sleep and eat well, avoid alcohol and exercise will help. Motion moves emotion, so even a walk can help.
If you want 30 minutes FREE to talk about how you feel and how you can handle this, book a call with me.