Mondays can be tough, especially after a fun weekend. But if you find that you dislike most Mondays - or perhaps that each weekday is starting to feel like a Monday - you may be experiencing symptoms of burnout.
You’re not alone. Over half of us will experience at least some symptoms of burnout in our lifetime.
Burnout syndrome occurs when long-lasting stress leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, lack of achievement, and overall feelings of pessimism and detachment. Because it is so complicated, burnout can impact many areas of your life, making it especially difficult to treat.
The good news first
By living a healthy and balanced life, you can reduce your chances of developing symptoms of burnout. If symptoms do occur, early detection is key. Isolated symptoms are easier to target and timely treatment can prevent full-blown burnout.
The not-so-great news
Burnout is complex in nature, making early detection and intervention difficult:
- Burnout develops slowly
Have you had this experience: you go to bed, perfectly healthy, but when you wake up the next day, you have a sore throat or the sniffles. Instantly, you know that something is wrong.
Burnout is nothing like that.
Burnout develops cumulatively, over an extended period of time. Sometimes years. Because the process is so slow, the incremental changes from day-to-day are virtually undetectable. By the time you notice something is wrong, you are well on your way to getting burned-out.
- Isolated symptoms seem unalarming
Most of us have experienced stress. It seems like stress and its physiological and emotional effects just come with the territory of being a professional in LA. Because these early warning signs seem ordinary and relatively mild, they may not be a cause for alarm or further investigation for most people. Many choose to ignore the early warning signs and instead, continue to push themselves, further contributing to burnout.
- Burnout symptoms resemble those of other disorders
Symptoms of burnout mimic those of other physiological and psychological conditions. As a result, mental health or medical practitioners who are not well versed in burnout may misdiagnose the condition.
- Burnout is not an exact science
Although there are identifiable risk factors and symptoms, burnout is not an exact science. Each person is different. Because of this human component, there is no “magic number” or formula that can accurately predict who will or will not develop burnout.
If left untreated, burnout puts you at risk of developing serious psychological and physiological issues, including depression and heart disease. It is important to be able to identify early warning signs for timely intervention.
What are the warning signs?
Burnout simultaneously impacts several areas of your life. Compounding symptoms* can take a huge toll on your overall physical and emotional well-being.
- Sleep disturbance
- Chest pain or heart palpitations
- Headaches or lightheadedness
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Change in appetite or eating patterns
- Dramatic mood changes
- Poor concentration, poor attention, or forgetfulness
- Isolation from friends and loved ones
- Increased substance use
- Sadness or depression
- Anxiety and worry
- Loss of interest or joy in things that used to be joyful
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please talk to someone who can help. A trained mental health professional can help you identify the underlying causes and help you structure your life in a way that reduces risks and improves the quality of your life.
*Always consult with your medical doctor to rule-out any physiological conditions which may be causing these symptoms.