10 Ways to Tell You are Burnt Out
1. You are Tired
No matter how much sleep you get, and no matter how much you try to "relax," you feel physically tired. Your body feels heavy. You have bags under your eyes and you have very little motivation to get up and do anything.
2. You do not find enjoyment in the things you like to do
Even the things that you would normally love, you cannot stay interested in. Your mind wanders to all the things you "need to do" or you are too tired to enjoy them.
3. You are easily irritated
When someone does even the slightest thing "wrong" or annoying, when someone asks too many questions or you have to repeat yourself, you get irritated and try to take over whatever it is or snap at the person (even your spouse or children).
4. You Over React to little things
Your boss asks you to do something. The photocopier malfunctions (AGAIN!!) Your child forget his/her soccer cleats and you lose it. You start fuming. You yell, swear, hit something or you burst into tears. These are all normal things, but you cannot handle anything else.
5. You Do not Sleep Well
Even if you go to bed at a reasonable hour: you can't fall asleep because your head is too full of all the things you "need" to do; you wake up over and over again; or you just sleep poorly, tossing and turning, having bad dreams where you don't get everything done.
6. You get sick frequently or have frequent headaches and stomach aches
You feel like you are sick all the time. To some extent, you are as your immune system is weakened and you are catching all the bugs, but there are symptoms you can't explain: Constant headaches, nausea, unusually digestive issues. Your doctor says you are just stressed.
7. You lack Creativity
It seems like so much work to just get the normal things done. You can't think of any innovative ways of doing your work and that combined with your lack of interest means that you don't even care. You are just there to get the work done and move on to the next things.
8. You have a hard time being productive or even finishing simple tasks
You do not care about your work or your mind is moving so quickly with all the things on your to-do list that you cannot focus on one thing at a time. You jump from task to task and give up at the slightest issue.
9. You do not celebrate your achievements
Partially because you aren't finishing things at the speed in which you want to and partially because of your lack of interest, you cannot stop and celebrate the things that you complete. Even if others congratulate you, you cannot be bothered and are on to the hundred other things that need to get done.
10. You are overly cynical
You are cynical of everything. You are cynical of your co-workers, your family, your friends, and mostly yourself. You find faults in absolutely everything and find yourself complaining constantly.
Ok...how many do you have right now? I am sitting at about 3 right now, but I have definitely had points in my life where I have all 10.
Why does it matter if we are burnt out?
Firstly, it does matter. Stress can wreak havoc on the body and lead to serious health concerns. Especially when we add in our own ways of coping such as drinking, drugs, binge eating, pulling all-nighters, and smoking. We can end up with addiction, high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and so many other things that doctors are only starting to figure out. We do not want to be burnt out as it is terrible for our health as well as for our relationships.
So...how do we fix it.
1. My first suggestion is to sit down and really think about all the things that are going on in your life. Then rank the areas your life when it comes to importance (in your mind). This list should be what you want, not necessarily what is happening right now.
Your list might look something like this:
Your Health: Exercise/Eating/Self Care
Your Extended Family
Then think about your schedule. I have another blog post about scheduling and how I set mine up here.
Look at each area of your life and write down the important things and the things that can be gotten rid of. For example: maybe Friday nights are Family Night and every other Saturday night is date night. You want to keep that, but your notice that since your husband works late on Wednesday and Thursdays you want to be home earlier to help the kids with homework, but that Monday and Tuesday would be the perfect days for you to head to a yoga class or the gym. Your kids have activities most afternoons, but there is a lady who is always there as well and you wonder if you can start carpooling with her. Sundays you will meal prep with your husband during the half times of the football games. etc.
The big issue for me is my Job. I need to learn to say no more often. I am a teacher and I have a lot of things that are job requirements, some things that I consider important, and somethings that I add on to be helpful to others or because I feel guilty about saying no. For example, this next week is Spirit Week. I am the Student Council Advisor and the Yearbook advisor as well as a teacher so I will have meetings before school, shopping to do for the pep rally, activities during the common period each day and because I can't work with any struggle kids during common period kids after school every day beside the day I teach Yoga and the day I co-run Dungeons and Dragons club. I know that this is the area in my life right now that has me burnt out. I am looking for ways to streamline, say no, empower the kids, and delegate so that when Winter Carnival comes along I don't find myself in this same place. It also means that I will bring NO work home next week and my husband and I will instead go to visit family.
2. Take a deep breath before reacting. You know that you shouldn't be irritated or that this is not the end of the world, but you still are worked up. You need to connect to your rational brain and balance your emotions with the breath. I have two videos here and here that should help.
3. Write down all the things you are thinking about in a to-do list at night an hour or two before bed and then read a book, watch tv, do a hobby of yours until bed. Hopefully, this will help you sleep better.
4. Set manageable goals and "celebrate" when they are complete. I make a game of it. I will finish responding to emails. Then I will walk down to the water fountain and fill up my water bottle. I will grade 5 papers and then I will check Instagram. I will clean the bathroom today and then do yoga. You could also use timers and race to see how much you can get done in a set amount of time before taking a break. It doesn't matter what it is, but I would caution against having food be a reward. It could be taking a break to eat lunch or get a tea, but I have gone down the road of rewarding myself with candy and it leads to its own problems.
5. Create Pinterest Boards of inspirational quotes or creative ideas. Check mine out here.
6. Tell someone else that you are struggling, so that they can help hold you accountable.
7. My biggest suggestion is to forgive yourself. Go easy on yourself. Live in this moment. You can't change the past or future by worrying.
Do YOU have any other suggestions?
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