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Published on October 24, 2018

Am I Burnt Out? 7 Signs That You Are and How to Bounce Back

Am I Burnt Out? 7 Signs That You Are and How to Bounce Back

Has the possibility of becoming burned out ever came across your radar?

Burn out 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 and friends outside of work.

Outside forces such as ineffective leadership, unclear expectations, toxic work culture, persistent high workload, and no room for growth can all add to burn out.

When signs of burn out set in, you slowly start to do things differently. There’s a chance you may not even realize what is happening.

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

Keep reading for some key signs 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 burnout.

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 did this become a problem in the first place. You may even think that your boss will call you out on your performance sooner than later.

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Bounce back strategy:

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.

Make a plan to eliminate distractions at work. Also, prior to coming to work make sure you are well rested and are eliminating energy-draining interactions.

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 is harder to find positive things to say.

Bounce back strategy:

Even in the midst of burnout, 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. Self 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 does thinking and feeling the opposite of this look like? It may seem awkward at first, but keep at it until positive thoughts are at the forefront of your thinking once again.

3. Feeling unfulfilled

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

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We all have things we’re good at or interested in. 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.

Bounce back strategy:

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.[1]

Bounce back strategy:

Try setting a bedtime routine and stick to it. Make sure that your bedroom environment is supportive of a good night sleep.

Social media never sleeps and it’s best to cut back or eliminate your social media time about 1 hour before you go to bed. Blue light interferes with your ability to feel sleepy and messes with your sleep cycle.[2] 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 body sensations. You wonder will this ever end and the amount of tension in your neck is at an all-time high.

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.

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Bounce back strategy:

Develop a routine to relax and practice deep breathing.

Consider a small 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 big 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 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. You lash out more

You notice that you are short tempered and lash out at your loved ones more than usual. When you are experiencing burn 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.

Bounce back strategy:

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.

Your love ones are there to support you. They should not be the expert to get your thoughts and feelings in check- neither should they be expected to fulfill this role.

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.

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

Bounce back strategy:

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.

Final thoughts

Burn 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 of burnout 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 burn 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.

Featured photo credit: Niklas Hamann via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mary Stewart

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

Am I Burnt Out? 7 Signs That You Are and How to Bounce Back

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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