What Is Burnout? Definition, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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What is burnout? It is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. We all have our limits, and your brain and body can only be overwhelmed and overworked for so long. Mental exhaustion is the way your mind and body tell you to slow down. 

It is often characterized by depression and cynicism and might affect a person’s mental health. Thus, it should be taken seriously and might even require professional help through online therapy

This article offers some ways to detect this problem early and deal with it. 

  What Are the Causes of Burnout? 

To make changes in your life concerning burnout, you need to understand what’s contributing to this problem. 

Here are some of the common causes related to this issue:

  • Students having strenuous academic schedules 
  • Caring for loved ones with chronic health conditions
  • Emotional burnout can stem from toxic or one-sided relationships
  • Lack of control or feeling like you have no power in your profession, life, relationship, etc. 
  • Feeling like you’re being exploited or not seeing rewards or positive feedback
  • Working against your values 
  • Working in an unjust and hostile environment
  • Having a child. New mothers are at high risk for burnout because newborns are very demanding

There might also be the issue of lack of support which is common at work and home in the case of some parents. It is easy to be burnt out when taking up overwhelming roles such as caring for everyone around you. Sometimes people focus on other people’s needs that they forget about self-care.

  The Symptoms of Burnout

Detecting burnout goes a long way in helping a person overcome it. However, if left unchecked, burnout can combine with other mental issues causing an even bigger challenge. 

So, here are some common burnout symptoms:

  • Feeling that every day for work or other strenuous responsibilities is a bad day
  • Loss of joy or interest in your job and or responsibilities, and being even depressed by them 
  • Feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities 
  • Excessive indulgence in some escapist behaviors like drinking 
  • Being less patient with others 
  • Forgetfulness and having a hard time concentrating
  • Losing sight of your goals and yourself

  Physical Signs of Burnout

Burnout also manifests through physical symptoms. These signs signal that the condition is dire, and a person should consider seeking professional help. 

Physical symptoms of burnout include:

  • Chest pains 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of sleep 
  • Heart palpitations
  • Feeling exhausted most of the time
  • Weight gain or loss 
  • Headaches
  • Body aches

 How to Recover from Burnout Effectively

Recovering from physical and mental exhaustion is a process that takes some time. It will also require people to take action and change certain aspects of their lives. 

After identifying the before-mentioned signs of burnout, here are some steps to take to counter the situation. 

  Identify the Source 

It’s challenging to make changes when you don’t know what to target. To start, a person needs to assess any contributing factors in their lives. For some people, it could be a combination of the causes, for example, a person having a stressful job only to go home to be emotionally drained in a relationship. 

The same applies to single parents who might have demanding full-time jobs. After identifying the possible causes, you should find ways to optimize your lifestyle and even seek support from family, friends, and colleagues. 

  Identify the Changes You Can Make 

After pinpointing the source of burnout, you should find ways to ease the load immediately. For example, if it is a time-consuming project with a narrow deadline, try seeking assistance or see if a deadline extension is possible. 

Ambitious people are the most affected when it comes to work burnout because sometimes they try to do it all. Instead, a person becomes drained and barely has energy for anything. So, It’s better to accept that handling everything is not realistic. Get your superior to reassign some of the workload or delegate when necessary. 

  Talk to Someone About It 

Recovering from burnout is not something you have to do alone. Sometimes people can’t find adequate solutions to burnout because they are too tired to identify some viable solutions. Talk to someone you trust, for example, a family member, a friend, or partner. 

People close to you are likely to know what works for you and are unbiased compared to you. So, they’ll help you identify what to do and assist with your situation. 

  Examine Your Options 

Addressing burnout is not as straightforward as it seems, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a solution. For example, if your boss keeps assigning tasks despite you requesting more help, you should consider moving on to a better job. 

However, quitting might not be a solution for everyone, especially if a person’s finances are struggling. So, keep exploring to find what works for your situation. If you feel overwhelmed because of your relationship, it might be time to seek the help of a counselor. 

  Seize Back Control 

Burnout makes a person feel powerless. One might feel like their lives are moving too fast, and they cannot keep up. Instead of choosing to keep blaming the external factors that resulted in this situation, it might be time to retake control of your life. 

For example, it might be challenging to avoid burnout as a mom, but you can take control and find ways to recharge. They include: 

  • Prioritizing your life into what’s urgent and what can wait 
  • Delegating your tasks 
  • Finding a balance between work and home. Leave work at work 
  • Be open about your needs to the people around you

  Be Attentive to Your Needs

Sometimes, we are too busy taking care of other peoples’ needs that we forget about ourselves. Be kind to yourself and pay attention to personal needs. Recovering from burnout will require you to take better care of yourself. 

You can start by:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Getting some physical exercise or participating in physical activities daily 
  • Eating healthy food
  • Trying yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and other relaxation techniques 
  • Spend time with friends and family

If you’re having trouble sleeping, it might be time to practice some healthy sleep habits, including reading before going to bed, eating light meals before bed, limiting the use of bright screens before sleep, and setting a consistent schedule for sleeping. 

  Setting Boundaries 

Set appropriate boundaries when it comes to the time and mental energy you will allocate to others. Having too many commitments is overwhelming. Before agreeing to something, assess what will be expected of you and whether you have the time and energy to do it. 

Acoording to cnns news Setting boundaries also involves saying “No.” Declining requests does not make you selfish. It means you are more attentive to your capabilities, and it ensures you’re less likely to experience burnout. 

  Final Thoughts

Mental exhaustion is manageable through self-care and other practices, but sometimes it indicates the presence of other underlying issues that require professional insight. At Calmerry, you can find licensed therapists who can help you identify the causes and explore healthy coping mechanisms. A therapist will also help you navigate the challenges that contribute to your problem.

Even though the above tips on how to deal with burnout should be of help, some situations require professional care. They include a person feeling hopeless, having persistently low moods, and even having thoughts of self-harm. The process of resetting yourself can take some time, but it’s worth it.


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