4 Signs You're Burned Out (and How to Recover)

By Damian Davila on 30 October 2014 0 comments

You're working long hours, taking care of your family, and trying to keep up with your friends.

Most of your friends may even call you superhuman. While you may think that your body has no limits, you may be very close to the point in which you are going to experience absolute exhaustion and overall disinterest. (See also: 6 Little Ways to De-Stress and Enjoy Life More)

To avoid burnout, here are the four signs to watch out for and how to address them.

1. Severe Lack of Motivation

Burnout makes you think that caring about work or home is a total waste of energy. You feel as if nothing you do can ever make a difference or is appreciated. This general feeling of dissatisfaction makes you overthink everything and leaves you stuck in a state of "paralysis by analysis." You just don't know where to get started.

What's even worse is that you don't even care because you believe that it doesn't affect anybody. This is a common sign for people that feel disengaged at work. Only 30% of American employees feel engaged at work. If you're stuck in a job that is going nowhere, it may eventually get to you. The group that is largest victim of this type of job-related burnout are under-30 millennial women.

If you have severe lack of motivation, you may engage regularly in unhealthy coping strategies, such as binge drinking, smoking, or overeating junk food. Pay attention to these unusual behaviors.

2. Frequent Mood Swings

If you have frequent mood swings that are inexplicable, you may be suffering from burnout. You may experience a constant state of emotional exhaustion because you go back and forth between absolute happiness and extreme depression.

This rollercoaster ride of emotions can lead to depersonalization, alienation, and depression. These three feelings blur your mind and turn even the simplest task into an overwhelming challenge. You have an overall feeling of dissatisfaction and become unpredictable.

3. Physical Exhaustion

On top of your emotional exhaustion due to mood swings, you also feel physically tired all the time. It's not that you have less energy than usual, you feel completely spent.

The main culprit is that you are not sleeping well. Not getting enough rest and sleep for several days is a surefire way to burn out.

4. Frequent Skin Breakouts, Rashes, and Blemishes

Our bodies are amazing organisms that provide us clear signals that are taking on more than we can handle. You can wear the effects of burnout on your face, skin, and hair.

If you have burnout, you may experience a larger number of skin breakouts, rashes, and blemishes. If left untreated, those ailments may turn for the worse. A study at Yale University showed a correlation between prolonged stressful life events and the diagnosis of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. When compared to people that didn't have skin cancer, people with melanoma had experienced a more stressful life before the diagnosis.

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that stress can also increase hair and nail problems. Beyond suffering the direct effects of stress on your body, people with burnout tend to worsen those problems by abusing their skin through scratching, pulling, or rubbing.

Now, that you know the four signs of burnout, let's talk about how to address them.

Avoiding Burnout

1. Take More Vacations

If you recognize the four signs of burnout, you need to take a vacation. Don't become part of the two in five Americans that don't use all their paid vacation days. Vacations are good for your body and your career.

  • Vacations allow you to catch up on some well-deserved shut eye and readjust your sleeping patterns.
     
  • People who engage in more leisure activities find more meaning in life.
     
  • The more frequent the vacations, the longer that men live, according to findings from the Framingham Heart Study.
     
  • Vacations have positive effects on wellbeing and performance-related outcomes.
     
  • Employees that take vacations have a lower chance of work burnout.

2. Get Some Sleep

You need to recharge your batteries. While a scheduled nap is a great way to get a second wind from a late night, a nap can't make up for several nights of bad sleeping.

Develop a wind-down routine to help your body prep your sleep. Eat dinner before 7 p.m., take a warm bath, avoid electronics before bedtime, and allow yourself to relax. Proper sleep is necessary for your body and mind to recover. (See also: 7 Ways to Sleep Better in Fewer Hours)

3. Consult a Physician

This is how to recover from the effects of stress on your body:

  • If you notice any abnormalities in your skin, hair, or nails, take that as a cue to slow down and relax.
     
  • Consult a dermatologist to address the symptoms and ask for a plan of action during periods of extreme stress. Have an "emergency kit" ready, or learn how to procure one fast.
     
  • Resist playing, touching, or scratching those sensitive spots. That only worsens the problems.
     
  • Pay attention to the triggers of your hair, nail, or skin problems, and minimize those stressful situations.
     
  • Smile more because it helps relax the skin in your face. A relaxed face has a smaller chance of developiing obstructed pores.

4. Seek Support From Others

Victims of burnout tend to isolate themselves from others and decrease their number of social interactions. This is a vicious cycle. Burnout leads to isolation and isolation further worsens burnout.

Break the cycle and reach out to your relatives, co-workers, and friends. Talking and hanging out with others allows you to put things in perspective, provide an opportunity to vent, and learn tips that have worked for others that experienced burnout.

Have you experienced any of these signs of burnout? What did you do to reduce your stress?

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