Stress is unavoidable. In some cases, a little stress can actually be beneficial. But, if we’re being honest, we’re living in an overly-stressful world, and it can be hard to manage it. Too much stress can quickly become overwhelming and cause you to burn out.
Unfortunately, you might not realize you’re too stressed until those symptoms become serious. In some cases, they can even lead to mental health issues like anxiety or depression.
With that in mind, let’s cover some of the most common symptoms of burnout. The sooner you can recognize your own stress, the more steps you can take toward managing it effectively.
1. A Lack of Energy Leads to Fatigue
One of the earliest signs of burnout is feeling a bit tired, or not having as much energy as you usually do.
If that warning sign is ignored, things may become worse. You can quickly feel exhausted and fatigued. You might have trouble staying awake during the day, or you might dread getting out of bed in the morning because you already feel drained.
Even though you’re already exhausted, burnout often leads to insomnia.
Stress can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule and make it harder to get the rest your body needs. As you might expect, that’s another contribution to feeling exhausted and fatigued, creating a vicious cycle that’s hard to get out of.
3. A Weakened Immune System
When your body is depleted and exhausted, it’s easier for you to get sick. Your immune system needs rest and strength to fight off illnesses. When it’s not getting that, you’ll be more susceptible to everyday illnesses like colds and the flu.
4. Changes in Eating Habits
It’s not uncommon for people who are dealing with too much stress to lose their appetite. Eating can completely lose its appeal, so you might start to skip a few meals.
That can become a huge problem if it becomes a habit. As eating properly takes a back seat to your stress, you can start to lose weight, which will make it even easier for you to get sick. You’ll also have to work on gaining that weight back to be healthy again, which will add more stress to your life.
5. Trouble Concentrating
Too much stress can impact every area of your life, including your career.
Fatigue and exhaustion can make it hard to get through the workday. But, burnout also often causes people to have trouble focusing and concentrating. You might find it difficult just to pay attention during a meeting or get through reading an entire email without letting your mind wander. Your confidence can start to wane, self-doubt takes over adding even more stress.
When people at work start to notice those issues, it could impact your job security.
6. Mental Health Conditions
If you let burnout go on for too long, anxiety and depression start to take over. Being overly stressed often leads to excessive worrying and fear, which can contribute to anxiety. Feeling trapped and confined by your stress can lead to depression.
Those are both cyclical problems. The more anxious you are, the more stressed you’re likely to feel. The more depressed you are, the less hopeful you’ll be that things will ever change. The more you doubt yourself, the more you'll find evidence to support that doubt.
If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, start by recognizing you’re not alone. In our stressful society, more people are experiencing burnout than ever before. But, you don’t need to live with the symptoms forever.
Therapy can help you to manage the symptoms of burnout and teach you the skills needed to manage your stress, so you don’t fall into these traps. If you’re interested in learning more or setting up an appointment, feel free to contact me.
Or take the self-care assessment on my website.