Global pandemic. Natural disasters. Record unemployment. School and business closures. Political unrest.
The last year has been a LOT.
We feel that, and you probably do, too.
Burnout absolutely existed before the pandemic, but with all the added stressors over the course of the last year, it’s affecting people more now than ever before. Early this year, Indeed completed a survey of 1500 U.S. workers that revealed that 52% are currently experiencing symptoms of burnout; up from 42% in January 2020.
If you’ve been experiencing prolonged physical and mental exhaustion, or have felt just generally “run down” for a while and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better, you’re probably experiencing burnout. Read on to learn more, and to find ways to prevent and alleviate the pressure you’re currently feeling!
What Is Burnout?
According to Psychology Today, burnout is defined as “a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.”
This can present in many ways, such as:
Lack of appetite
Feelings of irritability, apathy, or hopelessness
Self-isolation and detachment
Burnout can even present as concerning physical symptoms, such as headaches, chest pain, gastrointestinal upset, dizziness, and even heart palpitations and shortness of breath. If you’re struggling with any of these symptoms, be sure to consult with your doctor to be sure that there aren’t other health concerns that need immediate attention trying to make you aware of their existence.
What Contributes To Burnout?
There are many sources of burnout, and, as the last year clearly illustrated, they’re not always occupational! Outside of your job, the stressors of parenting, relationships, social engagements, and so much more can impact your mental health and lead to a sense of burnout.
Common stressors that lead to burnout include unrealistic/unreasonable expectations occupationally and socially, lack of clear communication from supervisors and/or relationships, an unmanageable workload, unfair treatment, external pressures such as economical or societal influence, and many more.
If you find yourself hating your job, feeling bitter or apathetic toward your loved ones, finding little enjoyment in things you usually love, or feeling an immense weight or pressure due to stress in your life, you’re probably reaching the point of burnout.
How Do I Prevent and/or Recover From Burnout?
Prevention and treatment are critical to avoid the mental and physical ramifications of a prolonged state of burnout.
Ways to prevent and treat burnout include:
Taking a vacation, mental health day(s), or weekend getaway
Confronting policies/raising awareness at work with HR and/or supervisors that may be contributing to high turnover and burnout
Setting firm boundaries at work and at home
Making time for yourself and investing in self-care
Scheduling breaks, both at work and at home
Taking breaks from social media
Turning off phone notifications when off the clock
Asking your partner or other loved ones to share in parenting responsibilities/household duties
Identifying triggers and feelings of overwhelm before they become toxic
Maintaining awareness of your schedule and abilities to avoid taking on more than you can reasonably manage at one time
Scheduling (and attending) regular therapy sessions with a licensed mental health professional
Have access to mobile mental health resources while on the go
Seeking support from coworkers, friends, and family when you need assistance
As a general rule: stay aware of your own needs and remember that you are a priority, not an afterthought. If your employer, family, or partner doesn’t understand and respect that, then it may be time to have a discussion and/or move on for the sake of your mental health!
Remember: You’re Not Alone.
Even though you may feel detached and inclined to isolation while experiencing burnout, remember that you are never alone. The people who care about you want you to make time for yourself, so that you can live a happy and healthy life.
Remember that it’s okay not to be okay, and it’s okay to ask for help. Your community is always there to support you! And if you still feel alone? Don’t hesitate to reach out; the Punk Rock Saves Lives community is here to catch you whenever you need us.