April 11, 2023

How to Identify and Handle Burnout

By B&SC Blog Team

How to Identify and Handle Burnout

When you’re juggling school, work, family, and other responsibilities, feeling stressed is common. However, if this stress is taking a toll on your mental health, you might be suffering from burnout. When you have burnout, focusing on school, work, or other parts of your life can be incredibly difficult. Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout and knowing how to handle it can help you overcome it so you can feel happier and healthier again.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is more than being stressed. When you have burnout, you experience exhaustion that affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally. You’re at risk of having this happen if you’ve been dealing with severe or chronic stress. For example, you might have been excited when you first started your job or a new semester at school, but if you’ve been stressed out most of the time, you might start to feel overwhelmed and discouraged about those same things. As this happens, you’ll find that you don’t feel productive, energetic, or enthusiastic about fulfilling your role as an employee or a student. Over time, your motivation and attitude toward work or school can deteriorate and begin affecting other aspects of your life.

Stress vs. Burnout

While stress can cause burnout, being stressed doesn’t automatically mean you are burned out. Everyone experiences stress from time to time. For some people, stress is usually mild and doesn’t linger for long. You might feel stressed about an upcoming test or work project, for example, but that stress typically goes away afterward. With burnout, you might struggle to feel motivated about studying for that upcoming test or completing your work project.

Stress and burnout also differ in other ways. Your emotions might be stronger than usual with stress but blunted with burnout. Stress also typically causes a loss of energy, while burnout can cause a loss of hope or motivation. Damage from stress is mostly physical; damage from burnout is mostly emotional.

Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

How can you tell whether you are burned out? Being familiar with the different signs and symptoms of burnout can help you determine whether it is what you’re going through. Keep in mind that you might not have all these signs and symptoms. However, even having just a few of them can affect your life and make it harder to focus on everyday tasks and responsibilities. Burnout also tends to develop slowly, rather than suddenly, so you might not realize you’ve been dealing with it until you recognize the signs and symptoms. Once you identify them in yourself, you can start working on overcoming burnout.

Physical Signs and Symptoms

When you have burnout, you might feel physically exhausted all or most of the time. You might also get headaches more often than usual or experience muscle soreness. Wanting to eat more or less than you usually do can also indicate you have burnout. Other physical signs and symptoms include changes in your sleep habits, such as staying in bed longer than normal or having trouble falling asleep at night, or you might have lowered immunity and get sick more often when you’re struggling with burnout.

Emotional Signs and Symptoms

Burnout can cause a number of emotional signs and symptoms that can have a big impact on your life. You might feel a strong sense of failure or helplessness rather than feeling hopeful, confident, or enthusiastic. You might also lose your motivation and develop a more cynical attitude. Other emotional signs and symptoms of burnout you might have include feeling detached or alone or feeling less satisfied with your job. You might also feel a sense of defeat or have serious self-doubt about your abilities and skills.

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

When you have burnout, exposure to stressors in your life – from work, school, or even a relationship with a family member – can lead to behavioral signs and symptoms. You might begin to withdraw from your responsibilities at home, work, or school. Being able to maintain a healthy work-life balance might become extremely difficult or impossible. You might experience irritability or mood changes that lead to conflict with others. Burnout might also cause you to take a much longer time to get things done or to skip work or class entirely. Other behavioral signs and symptoms can include becoming isolated from other people and turning to alcohol, drugs, or unhealthy foods.

5 Essential Tips for Managing Burnout

Since burnout can have a significantly negative impact on your life, health, and well-being, it’s important to be able to manage it. While you might be struggling with feelings of hopelessness and have low motivation, the following tips can help you turn things around so you can feel more like your usual self again.

1.Shift Your Mindset

The way you think about work or other stressors in your life can affect how you react to them. Shifting your mindset can put you in a better frame of mind when it comes to handling your workload, school-related tasks, or other responsibilities. To do this, work on improving your work-life balance, such as lightening your workload, taking up a hobby, or spending more time with friends and family. You can also try making a new friend at work or school or look for value in what you do for a living or in the material you’re studying.

2.Make Time for Self-Care

Self-care is a big part of overcoming burnout. When you take time to care for yourself, it can help improve your mental and emotional well-being. Self-care might involve practicing meditation or mindfulness to help your mind feel calmer or finding a sense of purpose in your life. Caring for yourself also involves participating in regular physical activity, such as taking walks in your neighborhood, doing yoga, dancing, or undertaking another form of exercise you enjoy. Self-care might also include setting aside time to do something you find relaxing or inspiring, such as reading a good book, writing in a journal, or creating a work of art.

3.Follow a Healthy Diet

Eating healthy can help boost your physical and emotional health and well-being at any time, but it’s even more important when you’re experiencing burnout. Your diet should include sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts, flaxseed, and fatty fish. These foods can improve your mood and help you feel more energetic, which in turn can help ease some of the signs and symptoms of burnout. You should avoid eating large amounts of foods that contain refined carbs, sugar, and unhealthy fats, as well as processed foods with chemical preservatives. These kinds of foods can negatively affect your mood and energy levels, which could make burnout symptoms worse.

4.Ask for Help

When you struggle with burnout, you don’t have to handle it on your own. While it might be hard to do so, reach out to other people in your life to ask for help. You might call or email a friend or family member to ask them to spend some quality time with you and take your mind off work, school, or whatever else is causing you to feel burned out. Keep in mind that talking about what you’re going through can also be helpful. You can talk about what you’re experiencing with trusted friends, family members, or a therapist, or find a support group where you can meet other people who are going through burnout as well.

5.Set Boundaries

When you have burnout, you should set boundaries with other people in your professional, academic, and personal lives. Otherwise, you could find your symptoms getting worse, especially if you deal with people who add to your stress. Try to limit the time you spend with people who have a negative attitude, whether they’re coworkers, fellow students, or family members. Being around these people can make you feel worse, especially if they don’t respect your boundaries. Surround yourself with those who have a positive attitude or outlook and are willing to respect any boundaries you set.

How Bryant & Stratton Can Help

When you want to earn a quality education without putting yourself at risk of burnout, Bryant & Stratton College can help. Bryant & Stratton offers flexible learning options, such as blended learning. Blended learning includes in-person classes and online instruction, giving you the best of both worlds and lowering the risk of burnout. With flexible learning options, you’ll be able to learn in a way that suits you best while also being able to receive help from your instructors when needed. Having a mix of in-person and online classes and instruction can help you stay motivated throughout your degree program and avoid burnout.

If you’re ready to explore our educational options, find your program at Bryant & Stratton. From business and education to healthcare and hospitality, we offer a wide range of degree programs.

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