Why Recognizing Burnout Isn’t Such A Bad Thing

The concept of burnout seemed to rise in popularity right before we all became obsessed with self-care — and *woosah* for that.

We were once a culture that glorified the hustler’s lifestyle — risking sleep and putting our mental and physical health on the backburner for the sake of advancement.

Awaiting us at each new level was a new devil — chief among them? Burnout.

While some of us have traded in late nights for good books and mani-pedis, there still exists a demo of over-achievers who are in denial about being overworked.

So, for you, we’re about to break down the basics of burnout and why you might need to slow down and take a nap.

What is burnout?

“Burnout” may sound like something new, but the actual term was coined in the early ’70s. New York psychologist Herbert Freudenberg worked 12 hours each day with drug addicts at his clinic in Manhattan. One day he set out to go on a family vacation and he couldn’t get out of bed. He literally couldn’t move. He began to analyze himself like a patient and reflected on the countless cigarettes that burned out from the lips of his clients. He’d shut down as a result of being stressed out.

What causes burnout?

If you consider yourself a proud member of the over-achiever club, you might not recognize the signs of burnout. Burnout can be caused by an exhaustive personal project; a move; changes at work; the addition of a new baby; or stress in a personal relationship.

What are the symptoms?

Some of the symptoms of burnout include feeling helpless or a lack of control; not being able to see the conclusion or something; chaos and dysfunction at home or in the workplace; depression and unhappiness; imbalance; and loneliness. Physically, a person suffering from untreated burnout can experience extreme anxiety; insomnia; fatigue; obesity; and substance abuse.

How do you turn it all around?

Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, let’s move on to how you can conquer burnout. The first step to fixing a problem is admitting it exists. You may need to stand in front of a mirror and really analyze your physical appearance — then have a look inward.

Do you not see yourself? Maybe you’ve been running on “E” for so long that you aren’t even sure how you should look anymore.

I know you’re probably expecting the insertion of some self-care tactics, but pampering can’t fix this. Your first course of action should be having a seat, so you can reflect. Next, you need to focus on centering yourself by thinking about who you want to be and what steps are necessary to get you to be that person. Lastly, take your to-do list and rip it up (for now.) Your daily to-do list — which is probably a mile long — is what got you to this point. Take a break.

After that’s done, now is the time to delve into the self-care aspect of your recovery. Do things that don’t require scrolling on your phone or sitting at a desk. Try going out to brunch with a friend or calling a relative that you have a positive relationship with. This is how you reconnect with the old you.

Whatever you do, just have hope and realize that this is just another trial in your journey.

Photo via CreateHERstock

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