What is being overworked?
Being overworked or burnout occurs when you excessively stress your body, leading to a feeling of prolonged exhaustion. The effects of burnout are gradual, making it difficult to recognize the signs and manage them early on. Being overworked impacts many areas of your life, including your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. As a result, your friends and family, will likely experience your burnout as well. In the long run, it can lead to serious issues, such as depression and anxiety.
The COVID 19 pandemic has renewed attention to the importance of mental health at work. Many news organizations reported the impacts of the pandemic on people’s capacity to handle stress, drawing attention to the wide swathes of individuals who were experiencing burnout.
- Being overworked is the state where you are constantly and or excessively stressing your body, depleting your energy, and leaving no time to recharge.
- Burnout has serious implications for your mental, physical, and emotional health. It can also impact your friends and family around you.
- Recognizing the signs of burnout is important for taking the steps for prevention. Some early signs include tiredness or chronic fatigue, frustration with work, isolation, forgetfulness, and illness.
The 5 signs of being overworked
It’s hard to spot burnout when you’re in it. It sneaks up on you, slowly taking over your life until one day it seems like the only thing that matters is sleep. It manifests itself in physical symptoms, such as headaches and or shortness of breath. Burnout can be scary and frustrating, but luckily there are ways to prevent it before it starts. The first step is being able to identify if burnout has already begun by looking for these 5 signs:
1. You’re always tired
One of the earliest signs of being overworked is tiredness. It is not secret that logging long hours of work with minimal to no rest in between will result in chronic fatigue. Overtime, this chronic fatigue will also spark feelings of dread and it will feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Tiredness and or chronic fatigue will also be the catalyst for the other and more serious issues you will experience with being overworked.
2. You’re frustrated with work
Burnout can also result in frustration with work. There are two main reasons for this frustration. Firstly, being overworked results in a fatigue that leads to mistakes, which leads to having to spend more time working. For individuals who are perfectionists, this can be even more frustrating as the need to minimize and eliminate mistakes is an obsession. Second, if you recognize your burnout state, you may resent work for experiencing such conditions.
3. You are often in isolation
Another symptom of burnout is isolating yourself from others. Being overwhelmed with all the things you may already have going in your life you may decide to remove yourself from additional social and familial responsibilities. If you find yourself retreating from your family and or declining invitations to social, pay close attention as to the reasons why. Prolonged isolation typically turns itself into angry interactions with others, which can dramatically impact your existing relationships. It may also reinforce your isolation – you may continue to avoid friends and family in order to avoid confrontation.
4. You’re sick all the time
Overworking will lead to depletion of all the energy you have. And this has real implications to your physical well-being. Your immune system will likely be weak as it does not have enough time to recover. This makes you more susceptible to catching the cold or flu. In the most serious scenarios, burnout can lead to dire health concerns that will force you to take a break. When sick, take the time to rest and recover as this is the only way to ensure you are returning to work recharged and ready.
5. You find yourself being forgetful
Being overworked also leads to being forgetful. Because you are stretching yourself and depleting all your energy, your tiredness will lead to forgetfulness. This, in turn, will lead to a perpetual state of burnout, as you take time to catch up on things you forgot and or fix mistakes that were made.
Ways of preventing burnout and minimizing being overworked
Once burnout has begun, the best way to stop it is by taking small steps at home. For example, making sure you’re getting enough sleep will help your brain recover from work stresses and give you more energy for completing tasks outside of work.
Prioritizing your needs
The first key step for preventing burnout is identifying your needs and making them a priority. Overworking often occurs at the expense of doing the things that matter most to us. Whether that’s getting enough rest or indulging in a book, we will deprioritize these things in the name of work. Reflect on what you need in your life to ensure that you are taking time to enjoy living life.
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Getting regular exercise can help alleviate some of the signs and symptoms associated with burnout. Quick brisk walks or mini-workouts will help you in two ways. First, it will force you to remove yourself from work. Second, it will give you an emotional boost. Both are beneficial in providing a break in a long work day that seems daunting.
Eating a balanced diet
Good healthy food is imperative for good health. Having a heavier lunch or processed food heavy diet can dramatically impact the energy you have, contributing to feelings of fatigue. Taking care of yourself also includes eating healthy meals to combat the symptoms of burnout.
Getting enough rest
Arianna Huffington, CEO of The Huffington Post, is an advocate of getting enough sleep to be successful. Getting enough sleep helps recharge us for the day to come. It’s also important for supporting a healthy immune system.