We’ve all experienced it. To be completely honest I realize mine usually hits in February. I think it has to do with dealing with a long winter, less daylight, and usually spending the holiday season working in the office or staying in town instead of traveling to break out the monotony of the day. I do make one trip in December to Art Basel in Miami, (which we all know did not happen this year). I think this time of year I like many people long for spring. A time of rebirth, birds chirping, hiking, green spaces to play in. Especially after a year of Covid. A year of meditation, digging in deep into the stuff we haven’t wanted to cleanout. Whether you finally cleaned out your closet and threw out all of your ex’s stuff, realized you’ve been running away from childhood trauma, faced the fact that one day we are all going to die, and are you truly living your life to the fullest? These are the questions and thoughts that I tend to reflect on. I realize burnout comes from doing too many things at once. Usually, things you do not particularly enjoy, exchanging your time and mental space for others. Usually, you get burned out from a job that does not respect your boundaries. One that told you, you would be expected to stay late on occasion. What you didn’t know was occasionally to them meant 3 hours past your shift 4 days a week, coming in early once a month for meetings that could have been an email, and not getting paid for any of this. Despite the fact that you are hourly and could not get off early without docking your pay. Maybe you are burned out from your side hustle and sick of searching for clients, being the marketing department, admin, CEO, etc. It can be very overwhelming.
The one thing I realized thanks to a recent article in the Atlantic, is that “Bianchi told me via email that understanding the similarities between burnout and depression is important because if people identify as merely burned out, rather than clinically depressed, they might delay seeking help.” [The two are very similar. You feel anxiety, shortness of breath, struggle to focus and are short with the people you care about. In the end, the only solution is to have you and your employer decide to take some work off your plate or hire an additional employee for support. Check any reddit job thread and you will find tons of burned-out employees who were thankful to have a job during the pandemic but could not take doing 4 peoples jobs any longer. Frankly, they never should have been asked too, but that is another point for another day.] Source the Atlantic Only Your Boss Can Cure Burnout.
I am currently experiencing this and it was very reminiscent of a previous job I had prepandemic.
Signs of burn out:
- Tightness in your chest. You may feel the tension in your chest or pain in your stomach.
- Lack of appetite, you may find it hard to eat because you feel like you are going to throw up. You may feel overwhelmed.
- Struggle to focus. You may find yourself rereading the same information over and over or missing details you usually would have understood the first time.
- Memory loss. You usually remember your mom, grandparent, or friends’ birthdays and anniversaries but it completely slips your mind.
- Losing track of time. You may find yourself so deep in projects, that you didn’t realize you missed lunch, have only gone to the bathroom once or not drank water.
- You lack patience. You usually can listen to your coworker be negative, but now you struggle to have empathy. You are so overwhelmed you are angry and short with others.
- You are more emotional. You are very quick to cry and lash out.
- You feel very detached or alone. You hear your co-workers laugh and having fun and feel angry and resentful. You feel like you are not a part of the team.
- You have panic attacks. You feel the tightness in your chest and struggle to get air into your lungs. You feel like the walls are closing in on you.
- You are physically and mentally tired. You have zero energy to do basic tasks like make a meal, clean, or take care of yourself.
- You may binge eat at night because you did not have an appetite all day.
- Jaw pain. Your jaw hurts from clenching your teeth during the day or grinding your teeth at night.
- Headaches. Tension headaches become frequent and last longer than usual.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you are not alone! I recommend talking to your employer about making adjustments. See if there are any tasks they can take off your plate, hire additional people, have you take at least a week off. While you practice creating better boundaries, only looking at work emails during work hours. Cutting off 5 hours before bed so you can mentally relax. Venting to loved ones about the stress, doing something active you enjoy to burn off nervous energy. Going outside at lunch for 20 minutes to get sunlight and fresh air. No matter what people tell you burnout is VERY real as we have all seen after covid.