Burnout: How to recognise the symptoms

Once upon a time, it could have been argued that burnout wasn’t a “thing”. Or, if it was, it was at least only experienced by a select few. Suffice to say, our working cultures are changing. Technology advancements have meant that most of us are connected 24/7 and from a work perspective, it means that a reply to an email can be sent from any place, at any time (including from the comfort of your own bed).

Following on from the last paragraph, it won’t come as a surprise to hear that people start to burn out pretty quick. Things start to get the better of them and not before long; they struggle to function both at work and home.

Today’s post isn’t going to take a look at some of how you can free yourself from burnout. Fortunately, there are many, and the fact that plenty of elite athletes have emerged from the doldrums of burnout doesn’t just show that it can happen to anyone, but also that it can be overcome. Sometimes, it’s by taking a long spa weekend away, while on other occasions it’s by going completely offline for a prolonged time.

Instead, today is all about identifying if you are suffering from this issue. It’s something that can be confused with a whole host of other emotions, so let’s take a look at just some of the ways burnout can affect you.

You are at work when you’re not at work

Hopefully, you get the meaning of this first point. Put simply, those individuals who are burnt out will be working or thinking about working, when they’re not at work. They might be in a conversation with a loved one, but still thinking about their day job.

You completely lose motivation

This can come in differing forms. Sometimes, you might lose motivation for the work itself. Granted, there can be other reasons for this, but a lot of people suffering from burnout do experience this loss of motivation.

In more extreme cases, you start to lose motivation over most tasks – including your personal life. It becomes a burden to pick yourself up in the morning, and this can be one of the early signs that you have been hit by the B-word.

You struggle to focus

Another possible symptom is when you struggle to concentrate. Our brains can focus in short stints, before then functioning “normally”. Those people who are burnt out have tended to abuse this area of the brain and it’s just not able to focus for as long as you require it to do so. This can lead to other mental issues, such as struggling to remember things.

You neglect yourself

You may also notice that you embrace some unhealthy coping strategies if you are falling victim to burnout. The usual contenders can be listed here; it can be anything from drinking too much alcohol, ditching your exercise routine or even smoking more. Again, all of these symptoms suggest that work is taking over your life, and is using all of your resources (including the ones you use to look after yourself generally).

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