Burnout and stress are pretty closely linked, but they’re not the same thing. If you’re wondering what burnout is, or you’re close to feeling burnt out, find out what the warning signs look like and learn how to prevent yourself feeling burnt out below.
This can help if:
- you’re feeling stressed all the time
- you’re worried that you’re approaching breaking point
- you want to know the effects of chronic stress.
Stress puts a lot of pressure on the body. This can be manageable in the short-term, but if it's constant, it can be bad for both your physical health and emotional wellbeing. Eventually, too much stress on your body over a long period of time can cause you to burn out. Burnout is a state of complete mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. You can read more about what stress does to the body here.
Long-term stress is exhausting, and can prevent you from taking part in activities that you normally find meaningful. This is emotional burnout. Some of the signs of burnout include:
- feeling exhausted and unable to perform basic tasks
- losing motivation in many aspects of your life, including your work and friendships
- feeling unable to focus or concentrate on tasks
- feeling empty or lacking in emotion
- losing your passion and drive
- experiencing conflict in your relationships with co-workers, friends and family
- withdrawing emotionally from friends and family.
Essentially, when you've reached the point of burnout, it can feel like you’ve had the life sucked out of you. You no longer feel capable of caring about what’s important to you, to making any effort, or staying motivated.
What can I do about it?
If you’re burnt out, you can help yourself by:
- taking regular time out, including setting aside some time each day to 'switch off' from technology
- developing skills such as problem solving to help you handle tricky situations
- setting boundaries, so that you avoid overextending yourself
- keeping an open line of communication with colleagues, family and friends about how you’re feeling
- reaching out for support, whether it’s from friends and family, colleagues, or a health professional
- re-evaluating your goals and priorities, so that you tip the balance back to including activities that make you feel happy.
Check out more tips to help with stress and anxiety here, as well as these tips on how to manage your time and how to nail your study-work-life balance so you don’t get burnt out. If you’re worried about a friend, check out how to help a stressed-out friend.