Experiencing Burnout? An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

Aug 06, 2022

Experiencing burnout? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

(Photo by Tara Winstead)

Chances are you've been going like the Energizer bunny for years now. You may even be thriving on it. But one can only go for so long. 

You may feel exhausted, irritable, or detached from people and your work. It may start to feel as if you can't be productive and you may stop caring about your responsibilities. It might feel like everyone is asking you for all of your time and effort and you just don't have any left to give.[21]

If this sounds familiar, your batteries might need some recharging. Because you are likely experiencing burnout. 

What is burnout?

This is the low motivation, low energy, and low willpower that comes after a time of exertion. It can also come with anger, frustration, sadness, and many other feelings. One might call it a lack of "give a shit." You may lash out at people that you would otherwise feel more positively towards. These symptoms are self preservation tactics to protect you from further strain.

It’s also been attributed to a multitude of physical and psychological ailments. From headaches and exhaustion, to cardiovascular disease and depressive symptoms.[209] And there’s no set time for how long you have to be doing something before you get burned out. It could be 10 years or it could be a day, it could grow over months or hit you all of a sudden.

Common battery drainers

This can happen in any area of life, but the most common is "occupational burnout." This is specifically burnout from workplace stress. Work takes up so much of our lives (and it shouldn't) so it's likely that the majority of us are experiencing this. 

It can happen in romantic relationships, friendships, and with family members. If you feel like you aren't respected or valued by people you care about, it can be very frustrating. Or you may be having fun with them but the amount of fun is exhausting. There can be many reasons for feeling this way.

There's also burnout from seeing and doing the same things every day. Needing a vacation or just to get out of town, or out of your place for a bit is normal.

Keeping your batteries charged

Some things drain your battery more quickly than others. Some things act as a charger, rather than drain you. All of this depends on several factors, but most of them have to do with one big thing: your self care routine. 

If you feel like you start the day on low power, or your battery drains quickly, take a look at your self care. How are your habits around eating, sleeping, and exercising? How is your mental health? Are you battling negative self talk throughout the day? Do you feel like you have less power over your life than you felt before, or ever felt?

Are you drinking enough water? As far as our brains are concerned, stress is stress. Many of us don’t get enough water and this can stress our bodies which can stress our minds. Simply focusing on drinking more water can be an effective way to keep burnout away.

The answers to these questions will help you take steps towards better self care, which is important if you're slipping into burnout. And it's critical if you're sure that you're already burned out. 

Staying close to 100%

Try to do some things just for yourself, by yourself, and just because you want to. You may even want to talk to an impartial professional, like a psychologist or a counselor. Someone who can simply listen and let you get some things off of your chest without judgment. 

Even if you aren't burned out, you're probably able to imagine how you could find yourself in this situation. If you live a very obligation-heavy lifestyle, you may want to consider some self care behaviors. When you feel taken care of, you will start to feel more motivation and willpower to take on the road ahead of you. You'll be able to feel more confidence in yourself and belief in your choices.  

This can be especially true if a big part of your life is taking care of others. Teachers, parents or those that care for others at work can feel as if they have nothing left for themselves. If you don’t take care of yourself and start to reach burnout, then you will not be able to take care of those that depend on you.

Continue Your Journey