It’s Monday morning and it’s gloomy outside. If you are anything like me, you might be feeling a distinct lack of motivation, fatigue, and overall disappointment as the work week starts up again. For some people, these feelings become more severe and include other issues such as anxiety and heightened stress which may indicate burnout. Burnout is a phenomenon involving long-term stress that leads to exhaustion, cynicism, and a lack of feelings of accomplishment in your every day life. But how do we tell the difference between burnout and a clinical mental health problem?
Let’s start by further narrowing down what burnout looks like. Burnout does not come on quickly. In fact, burnout tends to sneak up so slowly that many people may not see the problem until it begins to impact their everyday functioning. Signs of burnout include chronic fatigue or sleep difficulty, lack of concentration and focus, irritability and anger, as well as increased illness. These issues may have us feeling like we are having a “bad day” or a “bad week”, but when they extend beyond a few rough days we may be nearing burnout.
One of the simplest ways to combat burnout and to determine whether the presenting issues are a more serious mental health concern is to take time off work. If after a few days of rest you are still feeling the fatigue, anxiety, irritability and other issues listed above, there may be more at play than just simple burnout. If you are also experiencing feelings of significant hopelessness, loss of pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, isolation or even suicidal ideation, you are likely experiencing depression rather than burnout and should seek the help of a mental health provider.
Regardless of whether you’re experiencing burnout, depression or anxiety, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to practice self-care. Rather than focusing on the things you need to accomplish and your obligations to others in your life, take some time to think about how you’ve been feeling and how well (or not) you have been treating yourself. Make time in your busy schedule to pamper yourself in whatever way you see fit and know when you need some time to recharge and regroup. Remember: if you don’t take care of yourself first, you will be no good to anyone else.
For more information on the signs and symptoms of burnout, take a look at the articles below. Call Main St. Psychiatry today if you are concerned that your symptoms may need further support and attention.
Original material found at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/high-octane-women/201311/the-tell-tale-signs-burnout-do-you-have-them