30 August 2022

Burnout is more than being overwhelmed. It is a prolonged emotional, physical, and mental stress. Usually associated with work, it can be caused by other responsibilities as well. It can be just as likely to occur with a stay-at-home parent or someone who is retired. The demands of life are simply more than you can bear. It is a feeling of being dried up and left in the lurch.

In this article are some of the symptoms to be aware of. Just understand that these can also be signs of a physical illness, some of which can be life threatening. The first place to start is with your primary care physician. If you opt to seek the service of a mental health professional, he or she should first rule out those same conditions.

As mentioned, there is a physical and mental exhaustion that you can’t shake. This will either become a symptom of depression or lead to that condition. Studies reflect that if an individual is prone to depression, they are more likely to experience burnout.

Cynicism is another factor. Your comments are more critical, sarcastic, or snide than they have been in the past, especially the recent past. There is a defined lack of interest and a negative attitude toward everything.

You may feel that everything you do is of no value. This could be because of your own internalization or because of harsh criticism by others. You are also overly irritable. Anything can set you off…a customer, a coworker, a family member, someone you ride the bus with. Included with this is the feeling that you are ready to implode because you refrain from comments.

Physical identifiers include issues with sleep, like trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much. Frequent headaches may also be an indicator, but there is no clear science linking it at this time. Equally ambiguous is stomach or bowel issues. If you find that you are self medicating with food, alcohol, drugs, or other comforts, you are only setting yourself up for more problems.

Depending on your circumstances, you may feel there is no reasonable resolution. Your occupation, where you live, economic conditions, or other factors may make changing jobs difficult to impossible. On the home front, there is still laundry piling up, children to monitor, older relatives to keep an eye on.

The good news is that counseling can help with coping mechanisms and techniques. Seeking professional help is the first step toward a better outlook.

In the meantime, you can make some changes like asking for help or assigning household tasks to someone in the family. Okay, the result may not be as good as you could perform it or as good as you would like it, but it is done. Trying to manage your time as effectively as possible. Learning to set boundaries, including saying no when asked to assume one more committee job.

You can also take a break from news and social media. Hearing about disasters and crimes can negatively affect your own attitude.

As much as possible, eat healthy meals. Get some exercise. Build a social, interactive network of friends.

As mentioned earlier, if you feel you need professional help, seek it. Start with your family physician or a mental health worker. Check with local agencies to find the right fit for your needs and budget. The sooner you can take steps to combat these feelings, the sooner you will be back on track.

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