It’s been quite a year and one we won’t ever forget. I don’t need to outline why it’s been so stressful on most people in some shape or form, but I do want to talk about burnout, which is what I’ve been observing in most of my clients over the last few months in my clinic.
What Causes Burnout?
Burnout is caused by an excessive amount and/or prolonged stress in one or more areas of your life, and is commonly linked with a feeling of a lack of control or hopelessness over your situation. It makes you feel emotionally, physically and mentally drained.
How do you know you’re burned out? What are the symptoms?
You can feel like you’ve got no energy, nothing more to give, demotivated, negative, hopeless and like you’re continually failing. Daily functioning can become difficult and you may feel exhausted all the time, have unusual aches and pains, sleep patterns may change and your immunity can suffer, making you more susceptible to illness.
You may also find that you’re turning to things like drugs and alcohol, you withdraw from people, get snappy, and procrastinate over the simplest of tasks.
What Impact Can Burnout Have On Your Life?
It can decrease vitality, passion and motivation across all areas of your life and affect your self-worth in that you feel you are a failure. It has obvious health effects too, which can affect your capacity to do the things that are burning you out in the first place.
What Can We Do to Help Burnout?
Listen to your body, respect your own time and space. Create boundaries and say no. Take time out in nature, even if it’s just looking up at a tree or the sky. Take breaks from your phone, and turn your phone on airplane mode at night (putting it on silent is not enough rest for your brain). Get outside and exercise, breathe, do whatever relaxation technique you find helpful and take small breaks often.
One benefit of the pandemic is that it has brought our mental health into focus like never before, so honour it, seek help for it if you feel you’re struggling and look forward to 2021 bringing some lightness to your lives. I wish it for all of us.
Jacqui Manning – The Friendly Psychologist – www.jacquimanning.com.au