We are hitting that time in the semester where midterms are coming, and spring break is almost upon us and we are tired of the hustle and bustle that life brings. It is a stressful time of year for most of us and for some, myself included, it’s when we start to burn out. This is something a lot of overachievers, like myself, hit and don’t realize it because we have that “I can do everything” attitude and take on too much.
What is burnout you ask? Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. This is something that takes time to build up. It doesn’t happen suddenly so the goal here is to recognize the symptoms to try and avoid it. Some of the symptoms include:
1. Chronic fatigue
At first this may just feel like a lack of energy and just being tired most days. But as time goes on you begin to feel emotionally exhausted as well and begin to dread things ahead.
Basically, no matter how tired you are you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep.
3. Forgetfulness/lack of concentration and attention
Self-explanatory here. But as time goes on you won’t be able to get your work done and things will pile up.
4. Physical symptoms
This includes chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal pain, dizziness, fainting, and/or headaches.
5. Increased illness
Because of your exhaustion, your immune system is weakened and therefore unable to fight off sickness
6. Loss of appetite
It may start off as skipping a few meals here and there, but then you lose your appetite altogether and lost significant amounts of weight.
I think we can all relate to this one where we begin to worry and become edgy but then grows so large that your productivity is affected, and you can’t any work done.
Again, another a lot can relate to. Starts off mild with some sadness and maybe some hopelessness but then escalates to feeling trapped and worthless and that the world is better without you. (For the record it is NOT. The world is always a better place with you in it.)
This one I may relate to a little too much. It can start off with some tension and irritability but then it escalates into outbursts and serious arguments that can cause problems. (Unfortunately, this led me to break a door at work because of lashing out at one of my coworkers, who may have deserved it but not to that degree.)
10. Loss of enjoyment
You lose all interest in the things you used to enjoy. You can stand work or school and avoid everything and everyone altogether.
This is kind of my whole personality so its hard for me to consider it a symptom but if its abnormal for you than it is. This is negative self-talk and can lead to distrust in those you love.
I am all too good at this one. You pull away from people and pull out of activities and sometimes at its worst you lash out when people approach you.
This is related to the last one and another one I am too good at. This is feeling disconnected from others or your environment and result in you removing yourself from your responsibilities. This may be seen as “calling in sick” to work often or habitual tardiness.
14. Feelings of apathy and hopelessness
This like depression and pessimism. You are negative towards most things and have that “what’s the point?” feeling.
15. Increased irritability
This comes from feelings of ineffectiveness that you get when things aren’t getting done like they used to. This can destroy relationships if it gets out of hand.
16. Lack of productivity and poor performance
Despite long hours, chronic stress prevents you from being as productive as you once were, which often results in incomplete projects and an ever-growing to-do list. At times, it seems that as hard as you try, you can't climb out from under the pile.