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Burnout's a real B**ch

brain fog burnout chronic stress coping skills cortisol ibs memory nervous system stress sympathetic nervous system Oct 30, 2023

Everything is starting to ramp up as we head into summer! And on top of that, work expectations, family responsibilities and pressure to have things finished by the end of the year can increase too. This can increase the risk of burnout, which is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged or excessive stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain responsibilities in the first place. Burnout can reduce productivity and sap your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may even feel like you have nothing more to give.

Burnout is a serious problem that can have a significant impact on your mental health and your immune, cardiovascular, digestive and nervous systems. It can lead to a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Emotional exhaustion: Feeling drained and overwhelmed, like you have nothing left to give
  • Physical fatigue: Feeling tired all the time, even after getting enough sleep
  • Mental detachment: Feeling disconnected from your work or other activities that you used to enjoy
  • Reduced productivity: Having difficulty concentrating and completing tasks
  • Irritability: Feeling easily annoyed and frustrated
  • Loss of motivation: Feeling like you don't care about your work or other goals
  • Hopelessness: Feeling like there's no point in trying anymore
  • Cynicism: Having a negative attitude towards your work, your colleagues, and yourself

There are a number of things that can contribute to burnout, including:

  • Work-related stress: Working long hours, having a demanding job, or feeling like you have no control over your work can all contribute to burnout.
  • Personal stress: Experiencing stressful events in your personal life, such as a divorce, a death in the family, or financial problems, can also increase your risk of burnout.
  • Lack of support: Not having enough support from your colleagues, your supervisor, or your family can make it difficult to cope with stress and can increase your risk of burnout.
  • Perfectionism: Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself and constantly striving for perfection can lead to burnout.
  • People-pleasing: Always putting the needs of others before your own can lead to burnout.
  • Underlying trauma: that taxes the nervous system, with frequent panic symptoms, poor sleep and raised cortisol levels. 

There are a number of things you can do to prevent burnout, including:

  • Manage your stress levels: Prioritising healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature.
  • Set realistic expectations: Don't try to be perfect. It's okay to make mistakes and to ask for help.
  • Take breaks: Make sure to take breaks throughout the day to relax and recharge.
  • Delegate tasks: Don't try to do everything yourself. Delegate tasks to others whenever possible.
  • Say no: Learn to say no to requests that you don't have time for or that you don't want to do.
  • Take care of yourself: Make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly.
  • Seek professional help: If you are struggling to manage your stress or if you are experiencing symptoms of burnout, talk to a doctor or therapist.

If you are experiencing burnout, there are a number of things you can do to recover, including:

  • Take a break from work: If possible, take some time off from work to rest and recharge.
  • Seek professional help: Talk to a doctor or therapist about your symptoms. They can help you to develop a treatment plan to help you recover.
  • Make lifestyle changes: Make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly.
  • Address underlying drivers of your symptoms: If there is anything that can be changed to reduce chronic stress, it's important to work out a way of making that change. This may involve big decisions about career, relationships or finances. 
  • Learn to relax: Find healthy ways to relax and de-stress, such as yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature.
  • Connect with others: Spend time with friends and family who support you.
  • Do things you enjoy: Make time for activities that you enjoy, such as hobbies, sports, or travel.

Burnout is a serious problem, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. Many people experience burnout at some point in their lives. With the right support, you can recover from burnout and regain your energy, motivation, and sense of purpose.

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