Burnout is described as when stress has gone over the tipping point and effects someone by making them cynical, disengaged from their job, and have physical symptoms such as more susceptibility to getting colds, flus, and other communicable illnesses. Stress can be a good thing, as it forces us to deal with work deadlines or important work tasks. Stress that reaches a tipping point that impacts our wellbeing is when we’re at risk for burnout.

The issue with burnout is it could affect our work quality or our idea of our competency at work. Burnout isn’t chronic stress that comes and goes, but the prolonged stress that impacts your mental and emotional state. Most people have difficulty recognizing the normal stress that comes and goes with busy times in the work schedule. Burnout is more defined as prolonged stress that creates emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion.

Some physical symptoms of burnout are upper body pains and/or a tough time breathing. It’s important to rule out medical reasons for the symptoms, but accompanying headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, and upper body pain that may interfere with your daily life, are physical symptoms of burnout.

Psychological symptoms of burnout include depression, anxiety, insomnia, chronic fatigue, and loss of appetite. These symptoms may accompany physical symptoms or occur without physical symptoms.

If you’re feeling burnout, there are things you can do to make yourself recover from burnout. In this day and age with constant access to work e-mails, the best thing to do is disconnect. Have a weekend where you do not answer work e-mails and spend that time doing something that is relaxing to you.  The best way to deal with burnout is to treat yourself incredibly well, which means eating right and sleeping well. If, however, you’re dreading your Monday, you are burnt out and should consider taking a vacation to get over the burnout, where you fully disconnect from your work life. If, after the two-week vacation, you are fully recovered from burnout, then you were indeed burnt out on your work life.

There are things you can do to prevent burnout, and those include treating yourself well with self-care. Getting good sleep and eating well are the first steps to dealing with burnout. The second is to be aware of your stress levels. It’s possible to have good stress as well as bad stress that is prolonged. If you see yourself having prolonged stress, like for a project or work task, then you may want to remove the additional stressors in your life to deal with the work stress you’re dealing with.

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