The term burnout was coined in the 1970s by a psychologist named Herbert Freudenberger. Burnout refers to a state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion. It is caused by prolonged stress, which is a known detriment to emotional and physical wellbeing. Burnout is common in those who work in healthcare and other busy or high-stress professions. Although burnout has become a common and even normalized state of being in today’s society, it is not normal, and it’s definitely not healthy.
Signs Of Burnout
Here are some potential signs of burnout:
- Emotional or physical exhaustion.
- Lessened productivity or motivation.
- Body aches and pains.
- Sleep disturbance.
- Negative thoughts.
- Feelings of hopelessness.
- Alienation or isolation from others.
Some people also find that burnout and prolonged stress cause GI issues, depression, changes in appetite, and difficulty within their interpersonal relationships or connections. If you notice these symptoms in yourself, it may be due to burnout, stress, or even a mental health condition, and it is important to reach out to a medical or mental health professional who can help.
Why It Matters
When it comes to burnout and other similar matters, it can be easy to shut yourself down with thoughts such as “Isn’t everyone burnt out?” “So many people have it worse than me – I should suck it up and deal with it,” “Why am I even burnt out? I don’t do as much as some people,” or “There’s nothing I can do.” However, none of these things are true. If you’re burnt out, you’re burnt out, and it’s not something to ignore. Science tells us that burnout has a number of health detriments, including but not limited to an increased risk of heart disease, lower immune function, and an increased risk of depression. It is possible to cope with and heal from burnout.
Coping With And Healing From Burnout
To cope with and heal from burnout, it’s crucial to focus on stress reduction as well as your overall mental and physical wellbeing. Here are some things that you can do:
- Make sure that you are getting enough sleep. Use sleep hygiene techniques such as limiting caffeine and the use of technology before bed.
- Focus on your work-life balance. If your burnout is caused or impacted by work, take some time to focus on your work-life balance and find stress-relieving activities you enjoy that have nothing to do with what you do for work, such as spending time outdoors, exercise, the arts, and so on.
- Reach out. Social support is a crucial part of our emotional and physical wellbeing, and it is proven that having social support can lead to outcomes such as improved cardiovascular health, improved self-esteem, better tolerance for stress, improved overall mental health, and even an increased resistance to illness or disease.
You might also consider seeing a counselor or therapist who can help you work through life stressors and develop coping skills to use not just now but long-term.
Find Help For Burnout
If you are struggling with burnout, seeing a counselor or therapist can help. Mental health providers such as counselors and therapists are non-judgmental third parties who are there to give you a safe space to talk about what’s on your mind. To find a therapist, you can search for a provider in your area by using an online directory or conducting a web search, asking your primary care physician for a referral, seeing what your employee assistance program offers in terms of mental health services, checking with your insurance company to see who they cover, or sign up for an online therapy website with licensed providers such as MyTherapist. When moving through a challenging time or undergoing stress, one of the most vital things to do is to remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. Whether you see someone online or in your local area, reaching out can make a world of difference, and you deserve to get the support that you need.