Stress exists for a reason: to push us to do what we need to in the right amount of time. A small amount of stress is healthy and normal.
However, there comes a point when stress is no longer helpful, and is actually detrimental to our physical, emotional, and mental health. Too much stress can cause us to feel unmotivated, listless, and hopeless. It can even make life seem not worth living.
It’s called being burned out, and it can happen to anyone. Being burned out can make us feel exhausted, unmotivated, and depressed – not a way anyone wants to live their life.
Are you burned out? Check out these warning signs to find out.
8 Ways to Know You’re Burned Out
1. Your sleeping patterns are out of whack
You find yourself sleeping far more than you used to, and taking naps on top of it. However, your sleep isn’t sound; you find yourself waking up. And when you wake up, it doesn’t feel like you’ve rested at all. Changes in sleeping patterns are a huge indicator of being burned out.
Related: How To Sleep Better In 4 Steps
2. You’re still exhausted
All day, you feel sluggish. Despite the fact that you slept those 10 (unsound) hours last night, your brain is fuzzy, and you can’t concentrate. As early as noon, you’re wishing you could crawl back into bed. You’ve become so overwhelmed that instead of being more awake to face the task at hand, you just want to sleep to get away from it. Being exhausted all the time can be a symptom of being burned out.
3. You don’t remember the last time you’ve had some “you” time
Think about it: when was the last time you took some time for you? That is, when was the last time you spent a significant amount of your day doing something that you enjoy?
Not spending time “doing you” (as they say) can be both a cause and a result of being burned out. You’re burned out because you don’t have any relaxation time, and you don’t have any relaxation time because you’re burned out. It’s a vicious cycle.
4. You hate your job
Do you feel like your job isn’t rewarding? Do your daily shifts seem like a waste of time and energy? Do you have an employer who doesn’t encourage you and doesn’t appear to value your work?
If you don’t enjoy your job—especially if you don’t feel like your job matters—you are spending at least a third of your day doing something you dislike. Lack of job satisfaction is often a cause of being burned out.
5. You’re irritable
You may be feeling like you’ve been snapping at everyone recently, whether they deserved it or not. Irritability and the longing to be left alone is a major warning sign.
6. Every day is a “bad day”
Everyone has a bad day every now and then. But think about the last three weeks. How many of them would you say were bad days? During how many of them did you feel negative, hopeless, and sad? If you’re not at least content the majority of the time, that’s a major red flag that you’re on your way to being burned out, if you aren’t already.
7. You’ve been getting sick easily
Have you been feeling under the weather more often than normal? Your immune system could have been weakened by the constant stress you’ve been under, which is a sign of an impending burnout.
8. You have no motivation
Motivation? What’s that?
People who are burned out find it difficult to know what the point of anything is, and it’s hard to remember how you ever felt motivation in the first place. This is a sign that you’ve got too much to deal with to the point where you’re mentally burned out—you’ve just given up.
Oh no, I’m burned out! What do I do about it?
If a lot of these signs apply to you, you’re likely burned out. But have no fear! This doesn’t have to be permanent if you don’t let it keep going.
Ways to Stop Being Burned Out
1. Recognize what’s causing it
This seems like a no brainer, but it’s harder than you’d think. When you’re burned out, everything seems exhausting – even things that make you happy. However, by doing some real soul-searching, you can get to the root of that one straw that’s breaking the camel’s back.
2, Make a change
When you’ve figured out what that straw is, make a change! This could be a small change, like quitting a class that has become more of a chore than a joy, or a massive change, like switching jobs or even careers. Perhaps you need to remove negative people and relationships from your life.
If you don’t change anything, nothing will, well, change. That means you’ll be burned out until you actively try to make your life less stressful.
3. Take some time for yourself
Now that you’ve moved things around a little, start actively trying to take an hour or so of time a day for yourself. You could even occasionally take day trips that make you happy.
Related: 6 Ways To Become Happy
Figure out exactly what it is that you love (you might even know already) and remind yourself that treating yourself occasionally is equally as important, if not more important, than the rest of your responsibilities if you want to avoid being burned out.
4. Take care of yourself
Getting yourself out of that funk isn’t the last step. You have to ensure that you keep yourself from becoming burned out again. Start taking care of yourself. Get enough sleep a night, exercise, eat healthy, and keep yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally well. You deserve a life of happiness—not of intense stress.
Related: 5 Ways To Invest In Yourself
There are warning signs, like exhaustion and lack of motivation, that rear their ugly heads before or during a burnout. However, there are steps you can take to get yourself out of that slump and happy once again. Stay bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and take care of yourself to avoid being burned out.
Sammy Nickalls is the former content manager of Inspiyr.com and is a freelance writer for various sites, including HelloGiggles, YourTango, Quickbooks, and TWLOHA. Follow her on Twitter @sammynickalls.
Photo by Healthnewsnet