If you’ve ever felt really stressed, you know how draining it can be. Maybe you were under pressure at home or at work and felt overwhelmed for a few days, or even a few weeks. That feeling of chronic stress and having no energy can be your body’s way of signalling you need to slow down. When you notice things taking a toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally, it can be a sign you might be heading for burnout.
I want to explain a couple of burnout warning signs to watch out for, so you can take steps to get back on track.
You might have heard the saying that the stomach is like a second brain. There’s a really good reason for this! An unhappy digestive system can be a clue that you need to take a look at your current lifestyle. Stress and overload on your body can not just lead to that icky, heart-racing feeling. It can cause problems like reflux and nausea too. When this happens for longer periods of time, it can also upset the balance in your gut.
You can also try using different types of herbal tea, such as peppermint or chamomile tea, which can help soothe an upset stomach in the short term.
I’m sure you’ve had a day where you got home and felt like collapsing from exhaustion. While you might have felt better after a sleep, those on the edge of burnout tend to feel severe exhaustion that is hard to shake off. It could be feeling really worn-out after a workout that you could do easily a month ago. Maybe you feel SO tired, but you’re not able to sleep when you actually get into bed. Other signals, such as choosing not to go out with your friends because the idea of getting dressed up and going out feels overwhelming, could be a sign that something bigger is going on.
Stress can contribute to poor immune function, leaving you more susceptible to catching a cold or some other illness that is going around. Likewise, if you have a bruise that just won’t seem to go away, it might be a sign that your body is so busy trying to manage your stress level, it may not have the resources to repair itself.
Problems focusing on tasks
Are you finding it hard to concentrate, or to stay focused on tasks you are trying to finish? It might be a sign that you are mentally drained, and you need to slow down. Making space in your schedule for a timeout can help you feel calmer and less stressed.
The same goes for your memory. Are you struggling to remember things, or keep forgetting to do simple tasks that are part of your routine? This can be due to the stress hormone, cortisol. Chronic overexposure to cortisol may reduce your ability to form memories, or to store new ones. While it’s easy to laugh things off and chalk them up to forgetfulness, sometimes it is part of a bigger problem.
Now you feel tired, your stomach is churning and you are frustrated because even though you have a lot to do, you can’t seem to remember simple things. It’s hardly surprising that you might be a bit short-tempered! That can lead to conflict — arguments with your partner, being short with your colleagues or snapping at your friends.
When you’re on the brink of burnout, it can be a little bit hard on your relationships. You probably have less patience, which means you might feel irritated more easily. Maybe you’re withdrawing emotionally because you feel mentally exhausted and don’t want to socialise with anyone. Whatever you’re feeling, your friends and family won’t know unless you talk to them about it.
Burnout usually happens after an extended period of stress, when life has been so demanding, it’s hard to keep up. Pushing aside your own health to keep up with studies, with work or with family responsibilities can happen without you even realising it. If you have noticed any of these warning signs, it is time to reassess your priorities and your schedule.
Take care of yourselves.
Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤