Do you know your signs of burnout?
Do you take a break or do you break down? Are you afraid that slowing down or scaling back might mean you miss an opportunity? Or let people down? Or that you aren’t living up to your potential? What if I told you you can take advantage of opportunities, live up to your potential, and maintain a healthy mind, body, & spirit? It starts with knowing the signs of burnout.
On this week’s episode, we are peeling back the layers of what burnout looks like. And how you can incorporate steps to overcome and prevent it in the future. A 2020 Gallup poll reported that 48 % of respondents sometimes experience burnout and 21% always do. That means that 2/3 of those surveyed are regularly or always experiencing burnout! Yikes! That’s a lot of mental, physical, emotional, and performance damage due to burnout.
But you’re lucky because like so many aspects of self-improvement, spotting the signs before you’re in too deep can go a long way towards prevention. And that is exactly why we are talking about the signs of burnout and the steps you can take to create an anti-burnout plan for the future.
Why Recognize the Signs of Burnout
The term burnout was first seen in a 1974 book by Herbert Freudenberger called “The High Cost of High Achievement.” Freudenberger defined it as “the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce desired results.”
When you put a plan in place to prevent burnout before it starts, you maintain your motivation and devotion to your goals, your dreams, and your relationships and actually reach your desired results. By slowing down enough to recognize when your body, brain, emotions, or productivity is telling you “hey there…we need a bit of a break to recover”, you can start to stop the problem before it gets out of hand. Or take a break before your broken as I say.
You might be thinking you can’t slow down. Or if you don’t do it, no one will. Or you’ll take a break if you can just make this much money or cross these tasks off you to do list.
But do you also find yourself resenting people who take breaks? Who practice self-care? Who read a book or enjoy a cup of coffee a quiet cup of coffee in the morning? Or a glass of wine in the evenings rather than slogging away doing work for their business or their home? Do you really want your life to need to stop in order for you to take a break?
When can recognize the signs of burnout, you can work to extinguish their fire before they’re out of control. You’ll feel happier. More accomplished. More successful and able to enjoy that success.
And you can stay motivated because you feel less irritation, bitterness, and discontent. Your body will feel healthier and stronger. You’ll sleep better, cry less, and maintain a normal heart rate more often.
Not to mention, you will like your spouse, kids, clients, team, boss, mom, dad, or anyone else who could set you off because you’re burned out and not because of anything they did.
What are the Signs of Burnout
As I’ve said, the first step in learning to overcome and prevent burnout is awareness. Let’s do a quick overview of how burnout looks in four different areas of your life…your physical signs, mental signs, emotional signs, and performance signs.
Firstly, let’s talk about how burnout appears to you physically. You could notice some or god forbid all of these symptoms as you are reaching a breaking point: headaches, intestinal issues, sleeplessness, tense muscles, clenched jaw, low energy and/or fatigue, a change in eating habits, and you feel like you are constantly getting sick or can’t seem to kick an illness.
You may also notice a mental reaction to burnout. For instance, you may experience decreased joy, decreased sense of accomplishment, feelings that you are unable to keep up aka overwhelm, racing thoughts, trouble making decisions or decision fatigue, distractibility, difficulty focusing or concentrating, or a heightened emotional response.
Emotionally you may feel like you are stuck, trapped, depressed, anxious, unmotivated, in constant fear of failure, negative, helpless, and/or angry.
And really quick before I move on to the performance signs of burnout, I want to take a quick minute to address the seriousness of these heightened emotions and mental states. If you are experiencing these thoughts and emotions, there are people to who want to help. Speak with your doctor, a therapist, or a counselor. Because these feelings that start as burnout can quickly manifest into other damaging thoughts and feelings. You are loved and deserve to be supported and helped. If you become aware of these thoughts or emotions and they are simply too much, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor, therapist, or counselor for help.
Finally, let’s talk about how burnout shows itself in your performance…both as a business owner and as a mom. You’ll notice a drop in completed tasks or increase time to complete a task. You might quit more often or easily. You’ll accept not finishing or following through. And procrastinate more frequently. You’ll stop showing up. You’ll find yourself increasingly disorganized. Now, you always struggle with performance issues like procrastination and disorganization. The difference between it being part of your executive function and burnout is if this is a change for you. A complete 180 from how you usually act. If you find yourself performing in ways that are very un-you, that may very well be a sign of approaching burnout.
What to Do When We See the Signs of Burnout
So now that we’ve talked about the signs, what can we do when we notice them. First up, you can create strong boundaries. That’s right. Not self-care…we’ll get to that. Not get a massage or take a vacation. But create boundaries that both identify your limit so you don’t overflow the amount you can handle. And ones that create a clearly defined line between what can and cannot cross into your realm.
I was listening to an interview on the What Fresh Hell podcast with Dr. Pooja Lakshmin who specializes in women’s mental health. She discussed the increase in feelings of burnout moms were feeling in terms of the pandemic and juggling more balls. She emphasized that the overwhelming feeling we assume is burnout is a result of a system that set working moms up to do too much. And essentially fail. Because it is just not humanly possible to do it all, all the time, with a smile on our face, a song in our hearts, and heels on our feet. What can we do as we await a change in perceptions and systemic expectations? We can do is put our foot down as to what we can handle and what we allow in. This is why setting boundaries is so crucial to overcoming burnout.
And once you’ve set your boundaries, you’ll notice workloads decreasing. Stress levels lowering. Resentment fading. Productivity increasing. Focus returning. And relaxation and self-care as a real possibility to maintain your flow.
That’s why your action steps this week are to:
- Write down what you notice your burnout triggers to be. If you aren’t 100% sure, keep an eye out. Remember 2/3 of people surveyed experience some sort of burnout always or often. As you start to feel “stressed, notice any changes in your physical, mental, or emotional health. Notice if your performance, output, or regular habits have shifted or changed dramatically as a result of increased workload, activities, or perceived expectations.
- Create your boundaries. Back in July I did a whole episode on how to identify, communicate, and create positive mantra around maintaining your boundaries so after we finish up here, I recommend you hop over to episode 86 “How to Create Boundaries without Mom Guilt” from July 28th, 2021.
But before you head over there, I want to offer my help in conquering your big, bad, burnout demons. As I said before, getting a medical or counseling professional on board is crucial to right your ship. Where I come in is helping you solidify your boundaries. We’ll create a workflow that focuses on priorities for work and home that aligns with your values & goals. And we make time for you doing what you love so those feelings of burnout stay at bay. When you are ready to live your best mompreneur life, book your free clarity call at bit.ly/bsmbookacall so you can start your journey from burnout to bliss as soon as possible. Click below to schedule your free clarity call today
Ready to experience better mental, physical, and emotional health without sacrificing additional time and energy? Let’s jump on a free, no-obligation 15-minute clarity call to see how I can help you experience more fun & fulfillment in your work and home life.