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Last Updated on September 15, 2021

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

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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

    Reference

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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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    1 The Real Reason Why You Feel Exhausted (No Matter How Much You Sleep) 2 7 Common Signs of Work Burnout And How To Deal With Them 3 7 Signs You’re Burnt out (And How to Bounce Back) 4 How To Relieve Stress And Restore Energy 5 4 Things to Do When You Feel Burned Out And Tired of Life

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2021

    The Real Reason Why You Feel Exhausted (No Matter How Much You Sleep)

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    The Real Reason Why You Feel Exhausted (No Matter How Much You Sleep)

    I love my sleep. I always make sure to get at least eight hours each night. I’ll even leave parties early so I can get to bed at my usual time Yet, there are still mornings when I wake up feeling exhausted, even after a great night’s sleep. Whenever that happens, I run through a mental checklist, grasping at straws to explain to myself why I feel so groggy: why do I feel exhausted? Did I drink too much last night? Did I stay up past my usual bedtime? Did I hit snooze on my alarm twelve times? Eight hours of sleep a night shouldn’t result in chronic exhaustion, right?

    Regardless of how much quality sleep you’re getting, you can still feel mentally exhausted, burnt out, run-down, worn through—whatever you want to call it. Most of the time, you’re so exhausted you don’t even have the time or the sense to see it clearly.

    The answer is right in front of your face, but you haven’t had a chance to step back and analyze your situation. Maybe you hate your job, or you’re worried about paying rent, but you’re not actively thinking about it. How could you with all that’s going on? It’s planted in your subconscious, lurking there and eating away at your morale.

    That worn-down feeling is a cumulative combination of unconsidered stressful circumstances—an amalgamation of past worries and future anxieties. We aren’t talking about your regular physical exhaustion from a long day’s work standing on your feet. This is purely in between your ears. You’re overstimulated, and it’s dragging you down. But what’s the real reason behind this brain fog? Why do you feel exhausted?

    The first place to look at is stress,[1] which is the body’s natural response to a new challenge or demand. Where are you currently experiencing stress in your life?

    Most pain, exhaustion, or emotional fatigue is the direct result of stress. Daily life is filled with tiny stressors—running to catch the morning bus, praying you’ll find a parking spot, or worrying about the leak in your ceiling at home. As these small stressors pile on uncontrollably, you realize you’re white-knuckling through the day.

    Mental exhaustion,[2] simply put, is long-term stress. It’s having a day like the above over and over again for months on end until it weighs so much it finally drags you to the ground. You can’t keep living like this.

    You may have experienced this in the form of a “mid-life crisis,” or even a quarter-life crisis where you stop and realize you never pursued the things you once hoped and dreamed of. Life passed you by in the blink of an eye. What happened to the “purpose” you once wanted to get out of life? Maybe you wanted to be an artist and all of a sudden, you look down and you’re forty-three years old sitting in a conference room surrounded by suits and boring charts.

    You’re faking your way through life and you’re tired of putting on an act.

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    Why Do You Feel Exhausted?

    “Depression, anxiety, phobias… so many things can be disguised in a way that gives a facade of normalcy over a person’s internal struggles.” —Morgan Housel

    There are many reasons why you may be feeling exhausted. There may be times when you had complete hours of sleep yet ask yourself after waking up: why do I still feel exhausted?

    Why? It’s because there are other possible reasons for this exhaustion other than improper or lack of sleep. Here are some reasons why you feel exhausted.

    1. High-Pressure Occupation (emergency responders and teachers)

    Working in a highly stressful scene like an ER or police department is an obvious input for stress. Long hours on the job and making high-level decisions in crisis mode need to be followed by a period of rest, relaxation, and debriefing.

    2. Working Long Hours

    Consistently clocking in 12-14 hour days for weeks on end can drag you down. Many occupations require this type of work seasonally, like accountants during tax season. But when you’re spending that much time at week year-round and there is no end in sight, mental exhaustion can become chronic.

    3. Financial Stress

    For obvious reasons, being in troubled circumstances with your finances can cause long-term stress and constant worries, which lead to feeling exhausted. How can you enjoy life if you can’t afford to do the things you enjoy? No matter how much you sleep, you will still feel exhausted if something is troubling you at the back of your mind like financial problems.

    4. Dissatisfied With Your Job

    When you ask yourself, “why do I feel exhausted?” Try also asking, “Am I satisfied with my job?”

    Many people slog through life in a job they hate. Whether it’s your unruly boss, the team that you work with, or the customers who you’re sick of hearing complaining, being stuck in a dissatisfying job can cause feelings of resentment in work and your personal life.

    5. Clutter

    Whether you’re naturally a messy person or life has become so frantic that you haven’t even had a chance to clean or organize, clutter plays a massive part in mental exhaustion. Having a clear workspace and a calm environment to walk into makes a difference in mental clarity. This can also affect your productivity and your attitude towards your job.

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    6. Avoidance and Procrastination

    When you feel exhausted, it may be because something at the back of your head is troubling you. You may have some responsibilities that you should be doing or have done but still have not. Putting things off too long will cause hidden stress to climb on top of you like a monkey on your back. Avoiding your responsibilities and procrastinating are some of the possible causes as to why you feel exhausted.

    7. Living With Chronic Pain or an Illness

    Going through life with stress is hard enough. Add on top of that something like chronic back pain or a congenital condition and it’s like taking care of two separate people for yourself. This can also cause feelings of resentment, bitterness, and irritation around people you love, even those who support and take care of you.

    8. Death of a Loved One

    Losing a close friend or family member is something everyone has experienced, and it never gets easier. Many people try to play tough and portray to their loved ones that they are okay and dealing with it just fine. But the reality is that it’s weighing them down.

    Be honest with yourself about it, and have someone you can talk to. Experiencing your grief alone and not sharing it with anyone may be the reason why you feel exhausted.

    9. Lack of Purpose

    Life needs to have a purpose. Every individual has a purpose that is entirely unique to their circumstance. It can be guided by religion, occupation, or an ultimate life goal to strive towards, such as writing a book or owning a business. Without an ultimate purpose, it’s easy to let yourself slip into a depression that leads to mental exhaustion.

    What Should You Do When You Feel Exhausted?

    “When you’re struggling with something, look at all the people around you and realize that every single person you see is struggling with something, and to them, it’s just as hard as what you’re going through.” —Nicholas Sparks

    1. Talk About It

    It may sound obvious, but talking through these struggles with someone is a form of therapy in itself. Chances are, someone has been through the same type of thing that you’re going through right now. Don’t hide it. Open up and learn how others dealt with it. It’s more common than you think.

    2. Find an Outlet or a Hobby

    One way to help find joy out of a life of exhaustion is to come home to a hobby. Unwind from the workday by doing something you love that’s also a bit challenging. Learn how to play guitar, play video games with your kids, read a book, or learn new recipes to cook for your family. Take your mind away from whatever it is you’re worried about. Focus entirely on the process and get out of your anxiety.

    3. Be Realistic

    You can’t do everything. Look at your schedule, and be honest with yourself and the people around you about what’s possible for one person to do in a day. You can’t change the world alone. Enlist the help of others and don’t be too proud to ask. Putting the weight of the world on your shoulders may be the reason why you feel exhausted.

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    4. Arrive Early

    It took me years in life to realize how much being early can relieve stress. Waking up five minutes earlier gives me five minutes to relax and think if I’m forgetting anything before I head out the door. Leaving five minutes before I normally would for an event gives me five minutes to arrive and get a good seat, scope out the scene, or talk to someone and learn something about the place.

    Being early allows you to be relaxed and completely comfortable as opposed to running through life in a hurry. Settle in before anyone else and have the mental edge that you’re prepared for anything.

    5. Exercise More, Try Healthier Habits

    Exercise is probably the last thing you want to do. But have you ever regretted a workout? One hundred percent of the time it makes you feel better and gives you the momentum to have a great day.

    Try healthier habits. Go for a walk right when you get out of bed. Try a new vegetable once a week. Drink more water. Stand more. Replace dessert with fruit. If you drink ten cups of coffee a day, try to go one day a month without coffee. Healthier habits ultimately lead to a happier life in more ways than you think.

    6. Journal

    Similar to talking about your problems, journaling is an excellent outlet for not only getting the thoughts out of your head but also to clarify your feelings. As you write, you’ll realize you actually didn’t understand what you were thinking. Writing helps that. Do it often.

    7. Take Care of Something

    Get a pet. If you’re not ready for a dog, then buy a few plants to take care of. This takes the attention off yourself and on to something that relies on you for livelihood. It will help put everything in perspective and relieve stress and exhaustion.

    8. Meditate

    This is such an overly-used cure-all, but meditation really does help with clarity of thinking and developing a sense of calm in your life. Researchers found that meditation “decreased symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.[3]

    It doesn’t have to be sitting with your legs cross, fingers in a circle, and saying “Oooommmmmm.” Meditating can take on whatever form you’re comfortable with. It can be taking a few deep breaths before you step out of your car, or it can be closing your eyes and thinking of your loved ones when you’re having a hard time.

    Sometimes before bed, I’ll just close my eyes and envision a future I want for myself. I picture the people I love hugging me and saying “Congratulations.” For what? I don’t know, but I’m putting myself in the mindset to succeed.

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    Final Thoughts

    Dr. Alice Boyes, author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit:[4]

    “The more you work on systems for reducing stress and excess decision-making, the more mental energy you’ll have.”

    This is true in so many areas. Work on habits and routines that will eliminate the number of decisions you make. The more disciplined you are in these areas, the more freedom you will have to do the things you truly want and need. But also, understand how you are getting in your own way.

    Author Tim Ferriss likes to ask himself, “How am I complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?” or “What are the stories I tell myself that interfere with self-love?”

    Take a look at the actions and routines you structure your life around. Are there small tweaks you can make to get out of your own way? What would this look like if it were easy? Sometimes, asking yourself questions like these can lead to surprisingly simple solutions and answer the question of “why do I feel exhausted?”

    As I said, everyone is struggling in their own way. How you manage your stress may differ completely from someone else. By being vulnerable and understanding that you have the ability to overcome this exhaustion, you can begin to find meaning. Exercise consistent positive habits and the momentum will attract more positive momentum. Oh, and get good sleep!

    More Tips to Help You When You Feel Exhausted

    Featured photo credit: Hernan Sanchez via unsplash.com

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