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How Do I know if I’m Suffering from Burnout?

Burnout is not the sole domain of heads of companies or overworked parents. No, burnout can affect anyone who is busy, and who cares about what they are doing.

But what exactly does burnout look like? How do we know if we’re suffering from it, or whether we need to focus on, say, our diet or getting enough exercise?

What Does Burnout Look Like?

It’s likely that you won’t wake up one day and think, “Wow, I’m burnt out!”

Burnout can be defined as “A state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.”

Chronic stress, ongoing mental or emotional anxiety or pressure, leaches out the coping mechanisms from our bodies.

  • We wound up tired, both physically and mentally.
  • We are likely to display a lack of interest in things that we used to love (our jobs, our studies, hobbies, etc).
  • We have trouble getting motivated, perhaps battling to get up in the morning and then struggling to get to sleep at night.
  • We may start to lean on unhealthy crutches such as alcohol, drugs, or sleeping tablets just to function.
  • Our general outlook will probably be negative, and we may find ourselves in conflict with people.
  • Our lives will also probably show a lack of balance, spending too many hours studying with no down time.
  • Our performance will start to slip.

Does this look familiar?

Well, identifying burnout is a great first step to managing it successfully, and restoring some sort of equilibrium in your life.

An article on burnout from Forbes offers some sound advice on coping with your situation. They comment:

  • “Take relaxation seriously”

Make time for yourself and the things that you enjoy. Schedule it into your day so that it doesn’t get lost in the chores of the day.

  • “Cultivate a rich non-work life”

Find things outside of work and study that you love, and then immerse yourself in it. It’s easy to become a one-dimensional droid in university, but it’s not healthy.

  • “Unplug”

Get off your screen. Look up, get out, and leave the tech behind.

  • “Get enough sleep”

Don’t skip the sleep. It’s the regeneration chamber for your mind and body and is essential to avoid burnout.

Yes, burnout can sneak up on us and undermine our efforts in university – and in life. But understanding why you feel the way you do, and then taking steps to get your life back on track can be a simple yet satisfying task.