16 signs you’re nearing burnout

Does it sometimes feel like you have to hit bottom before you can really change? You can see the warning signs…the negative effects of overcommitting yourself are probably pretty predictable. But how do you take action now? (As opposed to when your body forces you to or when the next break gets here).

Burnout often happens in a cyclical fashion. With unsustainable habits it’s always just a matter of time before your tank dwindles down to empty again. But it’s difficult to make changes to those habits when it feels like you have to choose between having fun and sustainable energy.

 

Burn out can be difficult to recognize >> we've acclimated ourselves to a lower level of wellness. As if uncontrolled eating or constant overwhelm is the "normal" we must accept. Learn 16 signs you're habits are unsustainable PLUS 3 steps to start making changes. Read more at http://alisanelson.co

 

Hold up, do we really have to choose between FUN and WELL? Screw that. I think the choice lies elsewhere, in fact, I demand it lie elsewhere. We just might have to dig a little bit to find it.

Recognizing the patterns

The cool thing about habits is that they can be easy to spot. Trigger >> routine >> reward. It’s always the same pattern. And your patterns, though unique to you, are also easy to spot. You just have to be looking. I’ve compiled a list of common signs of burnout. These physical, mental, emotional, relational behaviors signal you’re reaching the breaking point where your system (being your life) can no longer withstand the stress of the environment. You’re a bridge just waiting to collapse.

Signs you’re approaching burnout (based on research + personal experience):

  1. Trouble sleeping / falling asleep
  2. Tension in back + shoulders
  3. Headaches
  4. Hard time waking up in the morning (even after a full night’s sleep)
  5. Lack of interest in normal activities
  6. Low energy
  7. Trouble focusing / easily distracted
  8. Trouble regulating behavior (outbursts, losing chunks of time to scrolling social media, unable to stop eating or turn off the tv)
  9. Reversion to “default” behaviors (previous transformations start to unravel)
  10. Easily overwhelmed
  11. Down / depressed mood
  12. Easily frustrated
  13. Prone to ruminating on interactions with others
  14. Crying more than usual
  15. Trouble identifying “why” you feel sad, angry, tired, etc.
  16. Pulling away from friends / family

And I’m certain I’ve missed some.

Now if you’re experiencing these “symptoms”, there is no need to panic. This is a diagnosis or anything like that. My hope is that by looking at this list you will see that some of the things you do that are just a “normal part of life” are actually signs that you aren’t handling the stress you’re under well.

See, it’s not a choice between “fun” and “well” – it’s the decision to raise the bar on what fun really is.

Take action

Don’t let this be something that becomes “oh that’s interesting” and on you go. Choose right now to set a higher standard for the “fun” you let in your life.

The greater the responsibility you have to perform at your best, the more resolute you must be in your standard for wellness. From your nutrition to your free time, the stuff you do needs to set you up for better performance. Your classroom, your clients, your patients – they need you operating at your capability. Which means they need you well, not the bare minimum of “functional.”

  1. Take time to write down your personal signs of declining wellness and what you currently do to cope with it — scrolling, tv, declining invites, dessert, hyper-cleaning or organizing, etc
  2. Choose one of your go-to habits for coping with stress and get curious about it. Every time you see yourself doing it or feeling the compulsion, ask yourself why that might be happening and observe does this actually make me feel how I want to feel? Am I really getting what I’m looking for?
  3. Develop a routine or ritual to go through when it’s been a long day – something that will help you feel the way you really want to feel. Read more about this step here.

If you want help developing the routine that will help you stay on your game, I’ve created a step-by-step guide for you.

 

  • Jennifer Radke

    As we enter the holiday season, this is a great reminder to keep wellness top of mind! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, Jennifer! I’m brainstorming ways to let the holidays be a supplement to my wellness rather than a detractor this year – the pull toward frenzied work and worry is so strong as we near the end of the year, but I honestly believe that even if all the work isn’t done, it is better to enter a new year WELL than accomplished yet burnt out.

  • I find I need to spot the signs early, as burnout can escalate quickly. Good advice!

    • Agreed. When we start to get familiar with our personal signs of burnout, then we can get even deeper and see what comes first so we can respond quicker. Between family, friends, and work – there is no time for the burnout! Especially since it can take weeks >> months to get back to optimum performance.

  • As much as I love the holiday season coming up, it sometimes can be a very stressful time of year. These are great tips to help avoid burnout.

    • Thanks, Bree! What parts feel the most stressful? Is there a way for you to align those things more to your strengths and what you enjoy? When we seek more attuned connection between our actions and who we are, we will naturally experience greater wellness even when things are busy or deadlines are looming. Can I challenge you to take one thing off your plate in place of something that really helps you celebrate life?

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