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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

7 Signs You’re Burnt out (And How to Bounce Back)

7 Signs You’re Burnt out (And How to Bounce Back)

If you are in a fairly stable career, the likelihood that you’ve experienced feeling burnt out at some point is quite high. We all have moments where we get tired of doing the same thing, day in and day out. Fortunately, there are ways to get out this funk.

Burnout can happen to any of us. It can happen as a direct result of a toxic work environment, or it can creep up on us as we pour all of our energy into doing the work that we love. Either way, when signs of burnout become apparent, they tend to look the same. Furthermore, adjustments must be made to reverse burnout and to prevent it again in the future.

Behaviors and habits that can lead to burnout include staying up long nights working on projects, saying yes to every request or opportunity, taking on extra work from co-workers, and decreasing connections with your family members and friends outside of work.

Outside forces, such as ineffective leadership, unclear expectations, a toxic work culture, a persistently high workload that blocks work-life balance, and no room for growth can all raise stress levels and add to burnout.

Keep in my mind that burn out may mimic other conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder. Please see your trusted doctor or mental health provider to rule out any of these conditions.

Keep reading for some key signs and symptoms of burnout:

1. Poor Performance and Loss of Self-Confidence

Noticeable declines in work performance and confidence in your ability to complete previously mastered assignments are signs of being burnt out.

The pace of the work environment can seem faster and more demanding than ever. The goal of you doing world-class work may diminished to hopes of you barely getting by. You may have decided that staring into space or searching for a new job seems like a better alternative to working.

Poor work performance can become a routine and often leaves the person wondering how this became a problem in the first place. You may even think that your boss will call you out on your performance sooner or later.

How to Bounce Back:

Think back to the motivation you had when you were hired or when you were getting your job done with ease. Think about your thoughts and actions that allow you to perform well. The ability to perform at or around this level is still within reach.

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Make a plan to eliminate distractions at work. Also, prior to coming to work, make sure you are well rested and are eliminating interactions that drain your energy levels.

2. Pessimism

Talking about the amazing work you do has given way to negative talk. Constantly complaining over small tasks that didn’t bother you in the past is a sign of pessimism. Your co-workers may even point out that you have been increasingly negative with your communication lately.

Your outlook on life, especially work, is in the dumps. It’s harder to find positive things to say.

How to Bounce Back:

Even in the midst of feeling burnt out, your time should be spent on forward-moving thoughts.

Change the way you are looking at your current situation. Your body will do everything in its power to make sure that your actions are in alignment with your mindset and thoughts.

Therefore, thoughts that are negative and self-defeating will need to undergo a productive reframe. A high level of awareness must be initiated. Coaching yourself through negative thinking can be the first step in awareness.

When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, first ask yourself “How does this make me feel?” Then, decide if those feelings will push you closer towards your goals and priorities or keep you from taking action.

If your thoughts are not forward-moving, ask yourself what thinking and feeling the opposite of this looks like? It may seem awkward at first, but keep at it until positive thoughts are at the forefront of your thinking once again.

If this doesn’t work, try implementing a long-term gratitude practice. Studies have shown that increasing a sense of gratitude is a major factor in determining overall well-being and optimism[1].

3. Feeling Unfulfilled

Sometimes, the workplace is known for being a fast-paced, high-stress environment. Feeling like you’re part of the team and your contributions matter can really help increase your level of fulfillment.

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When our talents and strengths are highlighted in an environment, we will thrive as we get things done.

When we are constantly left out of vital conversations, we will feel irrelevant and as if things are happening to us and not on behalf of us.

How to Bounce Back:

Talk to the person in charge and discuss your concerns. Confiding in a trusted and knowledgeable co-worker prior to meeting with your boss will help to make your communication with your boss fair and objective.

Set goals and deadlines with your boss or team leader to help increase your fulfillment. Follow up with your plan of action on your goals.

Keep in mind that there will be some level of compromise, but making your boss aware of your viewpoint and feelings is a major step in feeling fulfilled and feeling like a contributing member of your team.

4. Poor Sleep Quality

Staying up late at night, tossing and turning, thinking about your day’s work can really affect your sleep quality. Studies have shown that just a few hours of missed sleep is detrimental to our performance and mental capacity[2].

How to Bounce Back:

If you’re burnt out, try setting a bedtime routine and stick to it. Make sure that your bedroom environment is supportive of a good night’s sleep[3].

Bedtime routine when feeling burnt out

    Social media never sleeps, and it’s best to cut back or eliminate your social media time for about 1 hour before you go to bed. Blue light interferes with your ability to feel sleepy and messes with your sleep cycle[4]. Your electronics can be set to switch to a softer light prior to bedtime.

    5. Dread

    The thought of work sends you into a tailspin of negative thoughts and bodily sensations. You wonder if this will ever end, and the amount of tension in your neck is at an all-time high.

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    The feeling of dread can make you retreat from your daily activities to ruminate on the idea of returning to work. Feelings of dread steals valuable time.

    How to Bounce Back:

    Develop a routine to relax and practice deep breathing. Stress management is key when experiencing burnout.

    Consider a short breathing exercise that you can practice at work if dread or overwhelm creeps in. Go into an empty room or the bathroom, close your eyes, and take 10 deep breaths. Control your breathing as you inhale and fully exhale.

    Notice what time of the day you are needing to step away to take a breath and start scheduling your routines.

    Neck massages at bedtime or therapeutic massages may also help to relax your body and prepare you for the work week ahead. Keep in mind that self care is a necessity.

    6. Lashing out

    You notice that you are short-tempered and lash out at your loved ones more than usual. When you are feeling burnt out, you may find yourself less patient about certain things and snapping at your loved ones.

    You know they don’t deserve this treatment, and you want to get this behavior in check so that you can restore the loving, supportive environment you are used to having.

    How to Bounce Back:

    Be aware that your loved ones may not understand how your work environment is affecting you.

    Consider how you would feel if you were the recipient of irritable interactions when you didn’t have the whole picture of what was happening.

    Take time to explain your situation with your support system. Also, seek services through your work or independently in order to preserve the relationships within your support system.

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    7. Exhaustion

    Does the phrase “this job is sucking the life out of me” ring a bell? Mental exhaustion is totally apparent when work has taken its toll on you.

    Being too tired to do simple house chores or attend events that you once loved is a sign of exhaustion.

    How to Bounce Back:

    Rethink your priorities, and set small goals to take action daily on your priorities. If your priorities include keeping a clean living area or hanging out with your friends once a week, stick to your plans.

    You will find that your mood is improved, and you are not as drained once you are doing things in alignment with your goals and priorities.

    The Bottom Line

    Feeling burnt out can creep up on you. It can be caused by personal behaviors, habits, or toxic work environments. Regardless of the factors that lead to burnout, the signs are the same.

    Awareness is the first step of knowing what is happening. The next step is taking action based on the specific signs you are displaying.

    Recovery from burnout may look like identifying the culprit that caused you to feel burnt out so that you can continue making progress in your work.

    Recovery can also require you to make a strategic exit from your current situation to restore your peace of mind and fully recover—and never look back.

    More on How to Stop Feeling Burnt out

    Featured photo credit: Niklas Hamann via unsplash.com

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    Mary Stewart

    Mary Stewart is a wellness coach. She helps successful professionals and entrepreneurs to take back control of their life and work.

    7 Signs You’re Burnt out (And How to Bounce Back)

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    Published on June 11, 2021

    What Is Well-being: A Guide On How To Measure And Improve It

    What Is Well-being: A Guide On How To Measure And Improve It

    Well-being is a term often utilized in psychology literature to describe healthy individuals. It is often associated with contentment, happiness, or fulfillment. However, there is debate about what well-being really is and even how to spell it.[1] With so much confusion around the definition, individuals are often left to wonder what well-being is and how to achieve it.

    This article will unlock the answers to three questions:

    • What is well-being?
    • How is it measured?
    • How is it improved?

    What Is Well-Being?

    Well-being includes a combination of feeling states and lifestyle factors. Feeling states associated with it may include happiness and contentment. Lifestyle factors may include feelings of fulfillment, achieving one’s potential, having some control in life, and engaging in meaningful relationships. Well-being is also associated with positive mental health.[2] In simpler terms, It is a construct used to describe many facets of life including psychological, physical, and social health. Synonyms for it include happiness, health, positive feelings, welfare, and wellness.[3]

    It may also be defined as a state of balance or homeostasis. This balance is achieved by having enough resources to cope with life’s challenges.[4] Both challenges and resources may be prevalent in three areas: physical, psychological, and social.

    When there is an abundance of challenges and inadequate resources, well-being is lost. However, humans are designed to work towards achieving a state of balance. Well-being is linked to interpersonal, professional, and personal success. It often results in greater productivity at work, increased learning and creativity, prosocial behavior, and fulfilling relationships.[5]

    Why is well-being difficult to define? Likely because it encompasses a variety of life experiences and feeling states that may vary among individuals. To help individuals assess themselves, several measures have been created.

    How Is Well-Being Measured?

    Researchers need to agree on a standardized definition of well-being to accurately measure it. An adequate measure must therefore encompass every facet of well-being, including as a feeling state as well as a lifestyle. In other words, an effective measurement takes both life satisfaction and functioning into account.

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    Well-being can be broken down further into two categories: objective and subjective.

    Objective Well-Being

    Objective well-being looks at standards of living. This is useful for research looking at cultures, countries, or groups of people. It includes measuring education, income, safety, and life expectancy.[6]

    The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United National Development Programme, and the Italian Statistics Bureau have identified six areas for study related to objective well-being:

    1. Health
    2. Job opportunities
    3. Socioeconomic development
    4. Politics
    5. Safety
    6. Environment

    Subjective Well-Being

    Subjective well-being includes an emotional and mental assessment of an individual’s life. Two prominent subjective measures are life satisfaction and happiness. Measuring subjective well-being is useful for predicting mental health patterns.[7] It is determined intrinsically by the individual. Regardless of how their life might be perceived by others on the outside, this measures how individuals feel on the inside.

    Subjective well-being can be broken down further into two categories: hedonic and contentment. The hedonic component relates to feelings, emotions, and moods. The contentment component relates to thoughts and whether an individual feels their life has been fulfilling. Individuals often measure their thoughts and life fulfillment against social and cultural backgrounds.

    In other words, it is important to consider the context in which an individual lives. Individuals may perceive their lives differently based on social and cultural expectations. Furthermore, individuals cannot be measured without taking their environment into consideration.

    In 2013, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development determined subjective well-being to be an important factor in assessing well-being. Because it is perceived by the individual, it is often assessed by self-report measures. In other words, individuals rate their own level of well-being through psychological tests.[8]

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    There are five areas associated with subjective well-being:

    1. Genetic factors
    2. Basic and psychological needs
    3. Social environment
    4. Economics and income
    5. Political environment

    How to Improve Well-Being

    There are many ways that individuals can improve their sense of well-being. It is a complex construct with a variety of factors at play. Therefore, there is no one, perfect solution for it. Instead, the goal should be to engage in a holistic approach the incorporates a variety of factors.

    The following methods are not comprehensive. What works well for one individual may not be the right approach for others. Instead, these approaches should be considered suggestions for improving well-being.

    Individuals looking for a truly comprehensive assessment of well-being should consider scheduling an appointment with a psychologist, therapist, or medical doctor. These individuals may also provide resources, prescribe medication, or share tips for making lifestyle changes to assist in overall improvement.

    1. Spend Time in Nature

    There is evidence to support the claim that interactions with nature increase well-being. This includes an increase in positive emotions, happiness, and subjective well-being. Time spent in nature is also linked with an increased sense of meaning and purpose in life as well as the ability to manage challenges in life.[9]

    One study found that spending at least 120 minutes in nature each week was associated with greater health. In the study, it did not matter if that time was spent all at once or stretched out over the course of a week. Peak gains in well-being occurred between 200 and 300 minutes of nature time, weekly.[10]

    2. Practice Gratitude

    Individuals who experience gratitude as a trait experience increased well-being. Trait gratitude refers to the willingness to see the unearned value in one’s experience. State gratitude is a feeling that occurs after individuals experience an act of kindness and, therefore, feel motivated to reciprocate.

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    One study assessed state gratitude, during Covid-19 in China. Individuals were instructed to journal while practicing gratitude for 14-days, which included a one-month follow-up. The study found that gratitude practiced in a natural setting during times of increased stress and anxiety resulted in increased positive feelings and increased life satisfaction. However, increased life satisfaction was not sustained after one month.[11]

    As a result of the aforementioned study, there is evidence to support a daily practice of journaling and gratitude for increased well-being. Individuals should practice both trait and state gratitude, whenever possible. Over time, these practices will become a habit and lead to lasting improvement.

    3. Develop Increased Awareness

    Increased awareness is associated with improvements in positive subjective experience, increased self-regulation and goal-directed behavior, and successful interactions with others.

    Increased awareness can be attained through meta-awareness. Meta-awareness is the ability to consciously notice an emotion, thought, or sensory experience. It is a skill that can be taught. Mindfulness-based meditation and psychotherapy are two ways in which meta-awareness is learned. Kindness and compassion meditations are both linked with improved well-being. Both Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may help increase awareness.[12]

    4. Achieve Work-Life Balance

    An individual’s workplace has the potential to either help or harm them. Workplace factors that negatively impact well-being include:

    • Work-related pressure or demands
    • Lack of autonomy or flexibility
    • Poor coworker and supervisor relationships
    • Shift work
    • Longer workday length

    Employers can directly improve their workers’ well-being by providing paid leave, opportunities for salary growth, support for individuals with disabilities or those returning after injury, and access to health care. Improvements in the work environment and job structure may also be helpful.[13]

    Worker well-being is beneficial both for workers and their employers. It is associated with improvements in:

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    • Performance at work
    • Coping with stress and self-regulation
    • Satisfying relationships, prosocial communication, and cooperation
    • Immune system functioning
    • And physical and psychological health

    Workplace well-being is also associated with a decrease in burnout, stress, and sleep-related issues.[14]

    5. Seek Out Positive Relationships

    Individuals with caring and positive connections often rank higher in well-being. On the flip side, poor social relationships can be more damaging than excessive drinking and smoking. Positive social relationships also help to protect against mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

    Prosocial behaviors are important for forming social connections that lead to increased well-being. Appreciation and gratitude are both pro-social traits. For example, focusing on the positive qualities and actions of others. Empathy for others also contributes to higher levels of well-being. Lastly, generosity is also a strong predictor of life satisfaction.[15]

    6. Stay Hopeful

    Hope is a concept often related to spiritual and religious traditions. However, it entered the world of psychology around the 20th century. It is now an important construct in positive psychology. Hope can be defined broadly as the belief that things can get better, and that goals are achievable.

    Hope is associated with an increase in:

    • Emotional adjustment
    • Positive feelings
    • Life satisfaction and quality of life
    • Social support
    • A sense of purpose

    Takeaways

    Well-being is a construct that is hard to define, yet widely cited in psychological literature. It is linked with feelings of happiness and contentment. It might also be described as a sense of purpose or satisfaction with life.

    To accurately measure it, there needs to be an agreed-upon definition. In general, it has been separated into objective and subjective categories. Objective well-being considers social and cultural constructs. Subjective well-being refers to the individual’s felt sense and internal assessment of their own.

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    There are several things that individuals can do to improve their well-being. However, no one thing will improve everything. Rather, this requires a holistic practice of mental and physical health. Nevertheless, individuals who spend time in nature, develop positive connections, practice gratitude, stay hopeful, and develop awareness have a greater chance of experiencing better well-being.

    More Tips For Your Well-Being

    Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

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