It’s normal for all of us to feel stress at times. At times our stress levels even make it hard to sleep or difficult to concentrate. When stress gets too great, though, we can experience life burnout or job burnout. Fortunately, there are definitely things you can start doing today to regain your work-life balance and recover from life burnout.
- Understand what burnout feels like. Unremitting stress causes your to begin losing motivation. You likely started certain aspects of life, like being a new parent or buying a home, or a new job with high interest and lots of motivation. Over time, the emotional effects of burnout cause you to lose that motivation and your productivity and energy suffer. There are also physical effects of burnout as well, as your body deals with the effects of constant exposure to stress hormones. This can make it easier for you to fall sick and make it very hard to get consistent sleep. You also lose motivation to eat well or exercise.
- Consider whether you might have burnout. Of course, everyone has days when they feel overwhelmed and stressed. But if you find that every single day is a bad day and caring is a waste of your time; if you find yourself perpetually exhausted or mystified by how to handle anger in the workplace; if you constantly feel like a failure or feel helpless and trapped; if you’re often sick or are using food, alcohol, or drugs to get through the day, you could have burnout.
- Know what causes burnout. Burnout is caused by stress, but specifically by feeling out of control of life or work, receiving no recognition for good work, or having to labor under unclear objectives. Other contributors include working too much, especially if you’re not making time to relax, not maintaining close relationships, and not getting enough sleep and exercise.
- Understand the difference between being stressed and being burnout. Life burnout can be caused by constant stress, but it is not the same thing as feeling stressed. A very stressed person still feels a sense of hope. He or she is usually confident that if everything could be gotten under control, things will be fine again. If you’re suffering from burnout you feel empty and hopeless. You feel that you can’t possibly care about anything and that there is no hope for your situation. If you’re stressed, you’ feel too full. If you’re burned out, you feel completely empty.
- Know how to get burnout under control. Reversing the causes of burnout is the first step towards returning to a happy and productive life. It starts with re-engaging with important people in your life and finding help from professionals who can listen and let you unburden yourself. Stepping back from life burnout also means prioritizing healthy eating, exercise, and interactions with the community. You can’t avoid work, but don’t let it rule your life. If you’re struggling with responsibilities at home, now is the time to talk to your partner about how to better divide household chores, and to prioritize what things must be done (keeping the kids fed) and what things can be left until tomorrow once in a while (making sure the living room is spotless).
You can come back from burnout. You can figure out how to recover from exhaustion and how to stop feeling so emotionally drained all the time. Start small and keep track of your progress and how you feel. You’ll be surprised at how quickly small changes can add up to big help.