Here Are Just 3 Signs That Could Mean You’re Hitting Burnout

Charlie Swarbrooke
Jul 22, 2019 · 5 min read
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Photo by Danylo Suprun on Unsplash

I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but I know that burnout tends to creep up on me. I try to throw myself into something new — maybe a big project for work, maybe a new hobby, maybe just a bit of writing I’m excited about — and soon enough, I feel completely done with the entire pursuit!

I wonder where the stress, and the boredom, comes from. I wonder why I didn’t see it coming. I wonder why I keep making this same mistake. You’d think I’d learn after all these years of reaching that breaking point.

But it truly is a problem in the modern-day and age. A lot of us are overworked, and a lot of us are underpaid and underappreciated for it.

In the UK, about 1 in 4 people in the working population are only being paid the minimum wage — a (sort of) government-enforced rate of pay that about 3,500 employers across the country have agreed to pay their workers. But there’s a lot of evidence to back up the fact that this ‘basic living wage’ is not enough for most people to live off of. So, think of just how much more willing we’d be to go to work, and do our best work, when we had the right compensation for it.

So with that in mind, I thought it’d be a good idea to examine the idea of burnout. It’s mostly related to the workplace, but in my opinion, I think it affects most areas of our lives. Why not explore the signs and symptoms a little bit? Because even feeling just 2 or 3 of them could mean a mental and physical downward spiral is coming, and it’d be nice to try and stop that in its tracks.

But where to start? Well, with the most obvious of burnout symptoms, that’ll bypass your subconscious and make you feel out of sorts straight away:

  1. You’re Just Exhausted, Pure and Simple

And no amount of sleep seems to be restoring you. You’re just exhausted, and it seems you’re permanently exhausted — you’re sleeping in later, going to bed earlier, leaving work earlier, and heading in later. You just can’t keep your eyes open sometimes, and it feels like your brain has shrivelled into a crispy husk of the powerhouse it once was.

Your job performance slips, and so does your work attendance. You just need to take a day here and there, to desperately try and recharge yourself. You’re tired, you don’t see a day coming when you’re not tired, and you’re definitely not getting enough sleep at night. You want to head back to bed on some Monday mornings (of course, most of us do), but you don’t plan to get out of bed again until it’s dinner time, right?

And that leads onto the next noticeable symptom quite well.

2. You’re Procrastinating Literally Everything!

So, you don’t want to get out of bed, but you know the worst thing? Burnout makes you procrastinate the things you want to do as well. If you’re a gamer, you’re procrastinating booting up the console. If you love to crochet, you’re procrastinating getting the needles out. If you want to call your mum and have a chat, you just don’t want to get up off the sofa to reach the phone.

It’s annoying, isn’t it? You wish you could change, and just get up — you literally count yourself into it! It’s the one thing we find the hardest to cope with, especially when it suddenly comes around.

So, why is procrastination so common amongst those of us with burnout? Because why the hell would you want to spend the energy you don’t have when you don’t need to! You stop committing to your hobbies, and to your good work ethic (if you pride yourself on that). You only get up when you have to, and when you need to do something, you leave it for as long as possible.

And that doesn’t help your current mood either. You just feel a bit more guilty than usual. It doesn’t feel like you’re taking your time, which is perfectly fine and usually acceptable.

And speaking of moods…

3. You Really Don’t Want to Be Around Other People

Burnout makes sure you’re rarely in the mood to hang out with other people. Even when you’re a social butterfly, and love to spend time with people and draw your energy from them, a state of burnout can turn your social life on its head. You don’t want to spend time with people anymore, simply because you feel like there’s no time to — after all, you could be spending that time by yourself, away from work and anyone else’s expectations.

Other people take energy, there’s no doubt about that. And when you’re on the edge of burnout, singing your toes as you get closer and closer, hearing all about your best friend’s recent promotion might just be the lighter fluid that makes the fire in your head roar louder. You start thinking of everything they’re doing that you’re not, and that you suddenly feel incapable of doing yourself, and you become very, very irritable.

You’re carrying a lot of anger inside you, and you’re flying off the handle at a lot of little things. And guess what? It’s the stress!

So, how do you know it’s burnout?

Because you know your trigger: you know the work you’re doing is making you feel like this, or you can identify another overwhelming (and constant) activity in your life that makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. It’s not something you feel commonly.

But it is something you can take yourself to the doctor for. And I would definitely recommend doing so; stress has a lot of long term effects on our health, and it’s not just your patience and energy levels that could be at risk here. Seeing as work is a 5 times a week kind of thing, it’s not exactly a source of stress that you can just cut out of your life.

MediocreMe

A place to talk about the pressures of the world, mental…

Charlie Swarbrooke

Written by

Freelance writer. Here I write about mental health, and societal expectations, seeing as they bother a lot of us. By the way, the pretension is totally free.

MediocreMe

A place to talk about the pressures of the world, mental illness, and everything inbetween. We don’t have to be alone in those moments when the world feels like too much!

Charlie Swarbrooke

Written by

Freelance writer. Here I write about mental health, and societal expectations, seeing as they bother a lot of us. By the way, the pretension is totally free.

MediocreMe

A place to talk about the pressures of the world, mental illness, and everything inbetween. We don’t have to be alone in those moments when the world feels like too much!

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