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Am I Burnt Out? What are the signs?

Do you often find yourself overwhelmed by an endless to-do list? Just when you think you've tackled one task, another appears out of nowhere? Living in today's fast-paced world, with its relentless demands, can lead to overwhelming stress. When you add perfectionism and the desire to please everyone into the mix, it's a recipe for burnout. So, what exactly is burnout, and how can you prevent it?

Just last week, my schedule was packed with meal planning, paying bills, attending medical appointments, managing my own to-do list, and running my private practice— the list goes on! Just when I thought my day was winding down, my son walked in with an injury from jiu-jitsu. That led to a four-hour round trip to emergency, and we didn't get home until 3 am. Life certainly has its unexpected twists! How can you recognise the signs that things need to change before you hit burnout?

So what is this thing called burnout?

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), burnout stems from unaddressed chronic stress. Essentially, it's the accumulation of numerous small stressors and warning signs that are disregarded while you persist in multitasking, pushing yourself to the limit, and trying to handle everything—however you may label it—until you inevitably reach a breaking point.

What can be some of the cause?

There are various environments that can lead to burnout, with work being the most obvious culprit! This includes tasks at home, getting chores done and caring for family members. Sometimes, burnout arises from a combination of both work and home responsibilities. It can be triggered by external factors, like an endless to-do list, or internal traits such as perfectionism and people-pleasing tendencies. Think of unrelenting standards and struggles with setting boundaries. Just thinking about it is exhausting!

How do you avoid getting to the point of burnout?

Recognising the early signs of burnout can help you to take proactive steps to avoid burnout. is to recognise the signs of stress. It's important to take notice of stress signals. So what are the signs you need to keep an eye on?

  • Persistent fatigue, feeling REALLY, REALLY tired.

  • Waking up with no energy and struggling to get out of bed, hitting the snooze button repeatedly.

  • Growing irritability and frustration with your significant others more than usual.

  • Decreased motivation.

  • Avoiding activities and social events that you usually enjoy.

  • Difficulty concentrating, finding yourself re-reading the same paragraph multiple times.

  • Experiencing cognitive dysfunction, such as forgetting things or feeling confused.

  • Feeling like you're barely keeping your head above water.

What can you do?

Don't ignore the signs! Gabriella Tavella and Gordon Parker, authors of "Burnout: A Guide to Identifying Burnout and Pathways to Recovery," recommend making changes to your environment, whether it's at work, home, or both. Implement de-stressing strategies like mindfulness and exercise. Tune into your bodily sensations, such as the lump in your throat or the knot in your stomach. There are countless strategies you can adopt, but the key is that something needs to change. Yes, you need to do something different.

The curve balls

Burnout depletes our energy, making it tough to cope with unforeseen events that take us by surprise. These unexpected curveballs can be the tipping point. According to Tavella and Parker burnout can sometimes be mistaken for depression. Therefore, it's crucial to seek appropriate medical help from your GP or a mental health practitioner.

Getting Support

If you would like support in managing stress or burnout, whether in the workplace or at home, please make an appointment or call me for a free 15 minute chat.

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