Burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion that can take the joy out of your career, school, friendships, and family interactions. It reduces productivity and takes your energy, and can leave you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. It can have a long-term effect on your life if it goes unresolved or unrecognized.
According to Big Self School, there are 5 stages of burnout which are subtle dissatisfaction, subconscious disregard, conscious numbing, anxious exhaustion, and then trauma. In the first stage, there can be a lack of awareness that anything is wrong or minor discomfort. The second stage introduces increasingly uncomfortable thoughts and feelings such as irritation which can lead to irritation with family and friends and anything outside or work/school. In the third stage, many symptoms start appearing up in your behavior such as feelings of being overwhelmed, exhaustion and anxiety. This can cause you to start relying on numbing techniques to defer from the discomfort. During the fourth stage, there is a cycle of anxious exhaustion and also conscious numbing as they often coexist together. It can cause you to numb yourself to power through the challenges and feel low as a result. There will also be more lows than there are highs and even when you’re supposed to be resting, you constantly think of what you need to do. The last stage leads to living in a chronic state of excessive stress that can lead to dangerous places and is hard to get out of. The most common symptom of this stage is either a complete physical shutdown or uncontrollable anxiety. Though there are ways to prevent or heal from burnout.
The first step to preventing burnout is recognizing the symptoms before they get any worse. From there you can begin making changes to your life such as taking more breaks for time to yourself. Keeping yourself organized like setting goals is also good and if needed reach out for help. Plenty of sleep is important too. Sometimes recovering from burnout can take a while but overcoming it is what’s most important. Finding the source of what causes you to feel so exhausted and identifying changes you can immediately make. Setting boundaries for yourself is also a good thing. Before committing to anything it’s good to take a moment and ask yourself if you really have the time or energy for it. Practice self-compassion and realize that it’s ok to need breaks and not be perfect. Burnout can have many long-term effects on your life such as poor physical health or depression. It is best to try and intervene before it gets too late.