Deal with Burnout: Recognise the Signs and Take Action

As a Master’s student balancing work, relationships, health, and life, I have seen first-hand the damage burnout can cause. I’ve discussed this topic at length with other students too. When it feels like it’s all too much, what can you do?

Let’s dive into the world of burnout: how it affects your relationships, why it happens, and, most importantly, how to recognize it and take steps to prevent it. Throughout this post, I’ll provide insight into the source of burnout and when it’s time to take a break.

What Does Burnout Feel Like?

Burnout can manifest in many different ways, but some common symptoms include:

  • Exhaustion: Physical, emotional, and mental fatigue that makes it difficult to carry out daily activities.
  • Decreased motivation and engagement: Feeling uninterested or disheartened about activities and tasks that used to be enjoyable.
  • Decreased performance: Decreased efficiency and productivity in academic, work, or other responsibilities.
  • Negative thoughts and emotions: Feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, or irritable.
  • Decreased satisfaction with life: Feeling a lack of purpose or dissatisfaction with life in general.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to take a step back and assess what’s going on in your life.

How Does Burnout Affect Relationships?

If you’re feeling drained by burnout, keeping up with family and friends can be tough. You might find you’re less patient and understanding with them, and that can cause tension in your relationships. You may even withdraw from social activities, making you feel more alone. Remember, burnout can have a serious impact on your life and relationships, so it’s important to recognize it as a real issue. If things have become too much, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Where Does Burnout Come From?

Burnout often stems from chronic stress and an imbalance between the demands of your life and the resources you have available to manage those demands. This can come from a variety of sources, such as:

  • Overloading responsibilities: Taking on too many tasks or responsibilities at work, school, or home.
  • Lack of control: Feeling powerless to change your circumstances, such as a high-pressure work environment or an overly demanding school schedule.
  • Unclear expectations: Feeling unsure about what is expected of you in your role or relationship.
  • Lack of recognition or support: Feeling unappreciated for the work you do or unsupported by others.

Why Burnout Happens

The main cause of burnout is chronic stress, which can arise from the demands of work, school, or other responsibilities. This can result in feelings of exhaustion, decreased motivation and engagement, and decreased performance.

Additionally, burnout can come from a lack of work-life balance and an imbalance between the demands of your life and the resources you have available to manage those demands. This can cause feelings of overwhelm and make it difficult to carry out daily activities.

When Burnout Goes Too Far

Burnout can be a serious issue, and it’s important to be aware of the warning signs. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and unable to keep up with your responsibilities, it’s time to reach out for help. It’s also important to take steps to reduce the stress and imbalance in your life, such as finding ways to better manage your time and introducing more activities that bring you joy.

This can mean seeking support from a therapist or counselor, or talking to a trusted friend or family member. Additionally, it may be helpful to reassess your workload and responsibilities, and identify areas where you can reduce stress and improve your work-life balance.

Burnout is a serious issue that should be addressed as soon as possible. It is important to be aware of the warning signs and to reach out for help if needed. Taking steps to reduce stress and imbalance can help manage it. Remember – nothing is more important than your physical and mental health. Take that day off, take that break. The world will not end, I promise you 🫶

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