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Take a Break, or face a breakdown – Recognizing the signs of Burnout

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There I was, sitting at the kitchen table sobbing. I had given it my all. And now, I had nothing to give. I was the definition of burnout. Sound familiar? If so, keep reading. Because this article is your answer to turning around a breakdown.

Burnout Bound

When you’re exhausted – emotionally, mentally, and physically – you’re entering the burnout phase. This type of exhaustion is the product of prolonged stress. Constant demands weigh heavy on you, and you become overwhelmed. While the stress starts in one area of your life, likely work, as the pressures increase, other areas of your life begin to be affected.

The byproduct of burnout leads to:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Loss of motivation
  • Disengagement from relationships
  • Feelings of defeat

Signs of Burnout

So, how do you recognize burnout symptoms before the breakdown happens? When stress starts creeping into your daily life, it’s time to be on the lookout. Early burnout symptoms often include increased anxiety, frequent headaches, changes in appetite, and fluctuations in your health. As stress heightens, you may begin procrastinating or distancing yourself from others. It may also become hard to regulate your emotions. Situations that once would have been insignificant now take a big toll on your mental health. When feelings of resentment, anger, or a sense of failure creep into your thoughts, do a stress check-in. It’s probably time for a break.

Take a Break

Your mental health matters. Recognize when to take a break so you can avoid the breakdown. Sometimes a short break is all you need. Break for lunch, take a brisk walk outdoors, or call someone you trust for a quick pep talk. Since work is often the source of burnout, seek work-life balance by prioritizing things that matter. Sure, you may have a deadline for work. But, if you give overtime this week, cut out early next week for date night with the hubs.

Then, commit to a more extended break every few months to disconnect from the responsibilities that cause stress. Take a vacation to recharge your batteries. A reset can help you return with renewed ambition and excitement.

Manage Daily Stress

Daily stress can quickly turn into chronic stress. So, you have to practice stress management techniques to avoid the shift from being stressed out to burnout.

  • Share responsibility. If you’re the boss, delegate. If you’re an associate, discuss manageable workloads.
  • Set boundaries. When possible, limit after-hour responses. You don’t want to set an expectation that you’re available at all hours. Nor do you want to set that example for associates.
  • Self-care strategies can also improve how you manage daily stress.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Exercise.
  • Connect with family and friends.

Healthy habits give your body and mind the necessary resources to think clearly, manage stress, and regulate emotions. These habits make you less likely to reach a full-blown burnout.

Come Back From Burnout

But, if you’ve already hit the point of burnout, let me reassure you, you’ll be ok. This, too, shall pass. Your breakdown should be a wake-up call for a big break. Maybe it’s time for an extended vacation and an action plan for improved stress management when you return. Or, perhaps it’s time to make some lifestyle adjustments. Embrace new opportunities, whether that means a new job, career, or way of doing things. You can find greater contentment and joy – so seize it!

The Outlook Is Good

Whether you’re coming back from burnout or you’re trying to prevent it from happening, you have the power to evolve and shift your thoughts and experiences in a more positive direction. By practicing stress management and self-care strategies, you can create a better work-life balance to help you thrive. And know, you don’t have to do it alone.

Sign up for the self-ish-retreat, and join a sisterhood of women doing the work-life balance dance, just like you.


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