Burnout: What It Is, How to Spot It, and How to Cope

Burnout is a state where you are so mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted that you can’t do the things you typically enjoy. You may not care about things that used to matter to you, and you may feel hopeless. We should all actively work to prevent burnout; however, sometimes, we don’t even see it coming. And once you’re in the thick of it, it feels impossible to get out of it – but you can. Here are some tips for identifying and coping with burnout.

How to Tell if You’re Burned Out

Common signs of burnout include:

  • Persistent and unexplained muscle tension, pain, fatigue, and insomnia
  • Frustration and irritability at home and work
  • Difficulty staying present
  • Losing track of your values and priorities
  • Diminished sense of accomplishment in your work
  • Trouble remembering things

Ways to Cope With Burnout

The promising news is that you can manage and overcome feelings of burnout! Here are just a few.

Prioritize Yourself

Put yourself first. Burnout often stems from prioritizing external responsibilities and other people over our well-being. Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally to replenish your energy and focus is essential. This includes getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, exercising regularly, connecting with others, and engaging in activities that promote peace of mind, such as meditation, journaling, and spending time in nature.

Set Boundaries

Get comfortable saying no. Along with prioritizing yourself, set boundaries at home and work. Before taking on more responsibilities or agreeing to do something for someone else, take a moment to evaluate if it is something you can do without additional stress and how much time it will take.

Shifting Your Perspective

Perspective is everything. It is vital to look at your mindset and assumptions. What aspects of your situation are fixed, and what can you change? Shifting your perspective can ease the negative impact of even the inflexible factors. If exhaustion is a fundamental problem, ask yourself which tasks you could delegate to free up meaningful time and energy for other important work.

Be Kind to Yourself

Self-kindness is the opposite of self-judgment. It involves treating yourself with empathy and understanding, even when you make mistakes or fall short. Self-judgment, on the other hand, consists of being harsh and critical of yourself. A 2020 study found that people can cope with exhaustion by being self-compassionate. It means having a balanced view of negative events and acknowledging your burnout without letting it consume you.

Do you have any tips for overcoming burnout? Share them with us in the comments below!

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