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Warning Signs You Might Be Heading for Burnout and How to Prevent It

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There are several warning signs to look out for proving that you’re likely headed for burnout soon enough. When you allow burnout to go unchecked, it can lead to worse issues like anxiety and depression.

Instead of sweeping feelings of burnout under the rug by trying to convince yourself that it’s no big deal, it’s best to face this issue head-on. Find out which doctors in the medical field are most likely to deal with burnout in their careers.

The good news about burnout is that it isn’t something you have to live with forever. Just because you might notice some warning signs of burnout now, it doesn’t mean you have to continue on this path for the foreseeable future. There are ways to prevent burnout from consuming you and taking over your life.

To compile this list of warning signs that you’re possibly headed towards burnout, 24/7 Tempo consulted several different informative publications. Those include The Mayo Clinic, Web MD, Rise Science, and Help Guide.

You feel extremely fatigued all the time

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Someone who’s dealing with burnout feels tired and drained all the time. It doesn’t matter how much sleep you get at night when you’re truly burned out. You’ll automatically feel exhausted when it’s time to face the day and handle your obligations. After all, it’s challenging to exert energy to make things happen when you’re too burned out to be excited about anything.

Talking to your boss and co-workers about taking on assignments that are more interesting to you on a personal level could be helpful regarding your levels of fatigue. When you’re given the opportunity to focus on subjects that individually appeal to you, the energy you bring will naturally elevate.

Every little thing is making you irritable

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Irritability goes hand-in-hand with burnout. When every little thing is making you feel annoyed and perturbed, this is a clear warning sign that you’re headed straight towards burn out. People who enjoy their day-to-day experiences don’t find themselves easily irked by the behaviors of others.

Pay attention to how quickly you reach exasperation when interacting with your boss and co-workers. If your blood starts boiling after just a few short minutes of conversation, consider calming down by doing some breathing exercises, listening to some soothing music, or jotting down your thoughts in a journal.

You get distracted easily

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When you’re going through a period of burnout, it’s easy to get distracted by just about everything around you. This is a sign that you no longer care as much as you once did. You aren’t willing to focus on your obligations on a serious level anymore with a burned-out mentality.

You might even have a stack of documents to review right in front of you, but scrolling through social media clips on your phone is how you’ll spend your time. Instead of giving into distraction, you can fight back against this problem by promising to focus on your responsibilities for a set period of time with a handful of pre-planned breaks strategically scheduled throughout the workday.

You feel like you’ve turned into a cynical person

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Think about the person you once were before you started questioning whether or not you have burnout. Were you full of optimism and joy on a consistent basis? If so, those positive feelings aren’t something you should be comfortable forgetting about. People who are cynical tend to be incredibly pessimistic and misanthropic.

Exerting cynical energy in the workplace isn’t pleasant for you or any of the people you work with. As a way of preventing this from worsening, try to remind yourself of all the reasons why you’re grateful to have what you currently have. The act of showcasing gratitude can help even the most cynical people feel better about their circumstances.

You’re struggling with insomnia

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Having trouble sleeping is another hard-hitting sign of burnout. Insomnia comes into play when you feel like your mind won’t shut off at night. According to Rise Science, insomnia is directly connected to high spikes in your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that courses through your veins whenever you’re holding onto tension an emotional anguish.

It’s possible your job is filling you with so much anxiety that it’s become difficult to peacefully fall asleep. If this is an issue, creating a solid nightly routine to improve your sleep hygiene is essential. This might include falling asleep with a silk eye mask, getting a prescription for sleeping aids, or falling asleep while listening to relaxing meditations.

You’ve been turning to various substances

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Turning to drugs, alcohol, and other substances is something a person with burnout might do. Substances become a little more tempting when you’re trying to escape the reality of your current circumstances. While substances will numb the pain for a short while, the benefits are temporary.

Once you’ve sobered up again, you’ll instantly be reminded of everything you’re going through. At the same time, you’ll also face the exhaustion of recovering from whichever substances you ingested. Depending on how serious your use of substances gets, this is an issue that requires professional help. There are addiction recovery specialists and doctors who are heavily trained in this area.

You’re self-sabotaging

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Have you been noticing self-sabotaging tendencies in yourself lately? If so, this is another sign of burnout. People who are burned out don’t exactly care about what happens next. Examples of self-sabotage include showing up to work extremely late, showing up to work in an unkempt state, falling asleep at your desk, and getting into verbal squabbles with your co-workers.

Instead of allowing yourself to self-sabotage, take a moment to reconsider the stakes. If your self-sabotaging behaviors continue, it’s possible you could be fired from your job. Even if this outcome isn’t something that bothers you much in the midst of burnout, considering the repercussions of losing your job without having another one lined up is crucial.

You feel like every day is a “bad day”

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Complaints are constantly flowing from the mouths of people facing burnout. If you’ve been describing every single day as a “bad day” or “total waste of time,” there’s a high chance you’re facing burnout. Almost everyone who’s ever been employed can admit to going through difficult days every once in a while.

The difference here is if you’re starting to believe that every single day brings you dread. One of the ways to fight back against this sign of burnout is by creating mental lists of your daily highs and lows. This activity gives you a chance to acknowledge all the annoying things you had to encounter, but also forces you to highlight the favorable things you experienced too.

You regret your life choices

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It’s completely normal to feel regretful about your life choices and the path you’re on when you’re dealing with burnout. People who are completely fulfilled are so satisfied with their life choices that they don’t feel the need to question their path. Those with burnout, on the other hand, think about their circumstances in a much darker manner.

One thing you must remember about your life choices is that it’s always possible to switch things up and make changes. Just because this is where you are now, it doesn’t mean you have to stay here forever. You can always pursue a different career, enroll in a new educational program, pick up a trade opportunity, or try something else.

You’re experiencing frequent headaches

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It’s no coincidence that people dealing with burnout often experience painful headaches. When your emotional state isn’t in a good way, it can manifest in physical ailments. It’s possible that your headaches are connected to sleep issues and unregulated stress.

Some of the ways you can prevent frequent headaches from occurring in the midst of burnout include using cold compresses, exercising, hydrating with loads of water, and scheduling acupuncture appointments. Meditation, head massages, and aromatherapy are some other ideas that might be helpful for people experiencing frequent headaches from burnout.

You’re isolating yourself

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Isolating yourself from others is an unfortunate sign of burnout. This usually happens when a person is feeling so burned out that they don’t have any energy to exert on interactions with others. A person with burnout might also isolate themselves from others because they know they’ll lose their temper from irritability and frustration.

Isolating yourself from others is like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. It’s a way of running away from the problem instead of addressing it. Rather, do your best to engage in healthy and pleasurable interactions with others. Spend time focusing on mindfulness in order to take control of every interactions with gentleness, maturity, and professionalism.

Burnout is something that can occur in just about anyone. Sometimes, it’s best to simply take a step back, focus on your mental health, and unplug. Read up on these 10 warning signs that you may benefit from a digital detox.

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