If 2020 hasn’t put you on the brink of burnout, you are a badass.
This year has been rough. Throw in a pandemic, election year stress, homeschooling the littles, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a dumpster fire called exhaustion.
We’re conditioned to keep on going like the energizer bunny. It’s hard to notice signs of burnout.
– depleted energy
– emotional or mental exhaustion
– feeling detached from work
– losing interest in what used to excite you
There are five stages of burnout. Where are you?
Life is good, excitement is high and you’re crushing your goals. You have high energy, lots of ideas and you find yourself in “flow” frequently. You’ve got people to lean on when it gets bumpy and overall, you accept responsibility and have a great mood.
If you work to create solid coping mechanisms at this stage, you could stay here indefinitely, though even prolonged “good stress” can lead to burnout, so be careful.
Learning how to cope & care for yourself when things are good, will help you when they aren’t.
The onset of stress means working later nights, more irritability, and noticing you don’t care so much about chatting it up about the weekend on team calls.
You might find you’re grinding teeth, showering less, and even going for another glass of wine at night to unwind.
What experts call Chronic stress, is when we go from intense periods of work, where some stress is actually energizing, and into prolonged periods of stress where pressure and anxiety is consistently impeding your day.
You’ll likely experience: Anger, missing deadlines, drinking coffee in excess, increased apathy and feelings of panic. You might find yourself tired all the time, and even in denial about how bad it is.
You’re a pressure cooker waiting to explode, and can experience physical symptoms like stomach issues, feelings of despair and an emptiness that is made more challenging by your obsession over difficulties you face.
Where there once was a silver lining, you may want to check out of it all, and at this stage your relationships are likely suffering significantly.
Imagine waking up in the film Groundhog Day, where each day is a repeat of the last, and you see no way out. That’s what persistent burnout is like for tired and overworked souls.
Your fatigue is lasting. Physical and mental challenges are becoming overwhelming and habitual.
Depression, anxiety and chronic hopelessness are not easily overcome at this stage and medical or therapeutic intervention is often necessary.
It’s not enough to recognize we’re in burnout… we’ve got to do something to get out of it.