7 Physical Symptoms Of Burnout (Plus: How To Get Relief)

It’s frightening, isn’t it?

Some days your heart feels like it’s going to pound its way out of your chest.

Other times you’re gulping for air as though you were being strangled. Then your stomach twists into knots so painful it hurts to eat.

Though you’re endlessly busy, at the back of your mind is the nagging thought that you ought to get your symptoms checked by a doctor.

Yes, please! If you’re experiencing worrisome physical symptoms, I urge you to get evaluated by a physician to rule out any potentially dangerous health problems.

And if you’ve been galloping flat out, sleeping for what seems like mere seconds, and the teenager at the drive-thru knows you by name, consider this: your physical symptoms could be signs of burnout.

Typically, the physical symptoms I describe in this post are experienced by people who are burned out. In fact, 65% of adults in the US report both stress and burnout symptoms because they are so closely related. So while you may believe you’re simply stressed, you can quickly move into burnout – with all of its heightened symptoms that take longer to recover from.

Stress-related anxiety  is also closely linked to burnout – although stress can lead to burnout whether it initially creates anxiety, or only after you’re in full-on burnout.

Here’s an example:

Awhile back, before I let myself slide into full-on burnout, I sometimes felt a low level of anxiety. Rarely would my anxiety rise as high as a medium level. But when I was in full-on burnout, my ability to handle stress was compromised, which triggered high levels of anxiety.

Talk about a no-win situation.

Now that you know how burnout, stress, and anxiety can weave together, let’s dive into these seven physical symptoms of burnout so you can more readily identify them rather than dismissing them as just more stress than usual.

#1 Chest Pain

You may have been to the doctor already, who’s ruled out a biomedical condition such as heart disease.

However, here’s one reason why you still might be experiencing chest pain: your burnout-related stress throws you into what’s called the fight or flight response. This stress response includes tightening your body’s muscles to make them more resilient to damage. Your chest and rib cage muscles may be affected, resulting in chest pain.

#2 Heart Palpitations

You know that feeling when your heart’s fluttering like a wounded bird? Scary, isn’t it? And that’s not all. Heart palpitations can feel like your heart is:

  • Skipping beats
  • Beating too fast
  • Pounding
  • Flip-flopping

They can occur when you’re active or at rest. Heart palpitations are another way the fight or flight response can show up in your body, signifying you may be on the path to burnout.

#3 Shortness Of Breath

Shortness of breath can manifest a few different ways.  You may feel like you can’t catch your breath at all. There may be tightness in your chest. Or, it may seem like you’re suffocating.

Studies have shown a strong association between anxiety and respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath.

#4 Gastrointestinal Pain

Are you one of the many people who feels stress in your gut? There’s good reason: it’s caused by a part of the nervous system known informally as the brain-gut axis.

In a nutshell, your brain interacts with the rest of your body through the nervous system. And if you guessed this is another way the fight or flight response shows up, good! Your brain sends a signal to slow or even stop digestion during stressful events, often triggering abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating and constipation.

#5 Dizziness

Anxiety-related dizziness can leave you feeling woozy. You may have a feeling of motion or spinning inside you, or feel like you’re swaying even though you are standing still.

A range of environments like grocery stores, crowded malls, or even wide open spaces may cause you to feel wobbly.

These symptoms are caused by legitimate physiologic changes within your brain when you’re anxious.

#6 Fainting

Fainting may have a variety of causes but the most common type of fainting spell happens because your body overreacts to triggers such as anxiety and stress. Your brain directs your blood pressure to drop and reduces the circulation to your brain, causing a lack of consciousness.

#7 Headaches

So many of us get headaches caused by anxiety and stress. It’s that feeling like there’s a clamp tightening down on your skull, and it’s caused by muscle contractions in your head and neck.

Your doctor may ask you which of these two types you have:

  • Episodic  tension headaches, which happen fewer than 15 days per month
  • Chronic tension headaches, which happen more than 15 days a month

While taking ibuprofen is a short-term way to relieve your pain, it does nothing to relieve the root cause of your headache – which could very well be that you’re burned out.

Now that you see how your physical symptoms could be signaling you that you’re burned out, here are some of my recommendations for how to soothe them.

Self-Care Practices To Get Relief

You can take steps right now to get yourself back into balance.

  • I’m a big proponent of practicing what’s called good sleep hygiene to improve your sleep. Without enough quality sleep, you’ll stay frazzled and burned out. Conversely, your body repairs and restores itself while you sleep, helping bring you back from burnout. Check out my tips on how to sleep better.
  • Conduct a regular spiritual practice to nurture yourself. This could be meditation, praying, journaling – whatever is right for you. As the late Leonard Nimoy said:

“I’m touched by the idea that when we do things that are useful and helpful – collecting these shards of spirituality – that we may be helping to bring about a healing.” – Leonard Nimoy

  • Eat healthy food. I know, fast food or tossing a packaged dinner into the microwave is so tempting when you’re busy! But I also know the toll unhealthy food takes on your overall health. Your body needs high quality food as fuel for adequate performance. Consider having a couple of simple go-to meals for when you’re busy; there’s no need to push yourself to make something complicated.

And for an additional way to support yourself, sign up to receive my complimentaryFrom Burnout To Balance: A Simple 10-Minute Daily Self-Care Practice.

Are You Ready To Go From Burnout To Balance?

You know how frightening it is when stress and anxiety turn into the distressing physical symptoms of burnout.

It’s a relief when your doctor rules out obvious medical causes like heart disease.

Yet then you’re left with a feeling of “Now what?”

How can you get yourself back to feeling good again? How can you bring yourself back from burnout?

Using these practices will get you on your way.

But you don’t have to do this alone! Sign up for a complimentary From Burnout to Balance consultation with me. In this 60-minute consultation you’ll get simple and practical tips for how to break free from your burnout symptoms; create a clear and compelling vision of the burnout-free life you want; tap into greater energy and inspiration; and explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.  Together, we’ll get you on the path to wellness.

 

If You’re Forgetful And Unfocused, Here’s Why (And What Will Help)

We all have off days from time to time.

But running the risk of getting fired from your job because you keep forgetting your commitments is especially frightening.

So, too, is being unable to solve routine life challenges without a huge amount of effort.

Some days you’re so fearful and overwhelmed, you have no choice but to let the tears come. Then you dry your eyes, blow your nose, and carry on.

I get it. I’ve been there. So I know that you don’t have to live your life being forgetful and unfocused.

Let me explain.

The Common Root Cause Of Forgetfulness and Inability To Focus

Most people don’t realize this, but these two symptoms have a common root cause: poor quality of sleep.

How can this be?

When you consider that even in the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can:

  • impair your judgment,
  • affect your mood,
  • undermine your ability to learn and retain information; and,
  • increase your risk of serious accidents and injury,

you see how poor sleep can easily lead to chronic forgetfulness and inability to focus.

In fact, Harvard’s Division of Sleep Medicine tells us that “the cost of poor sleep is much greater than many people think and may have profound consequences for our long-term health, resulting in:

  • an increased risk of chronic disease,
  • obesity,
  • diabetes,
  • cardiovascular disease, and
  • early mortality.”

So a major medical facility urges us to treat sleep as a priority, rather than a luxury, as this may be an important step in preventing a number of chronic medical conditions – including full-on burnout.

Sleep is important because it’s the only time your body has to recharge and recuperate. When you get too little restful sleep, your ability to concentrate and remember can be affected.

Are You Short-Changing Yourself On Sleep?

A survey by the National Sleep Foundation  revealed that over two-thirds of women associate their sleep problems with stress. Yet, over half of the women polled said that sleep is the first thing they give up when they get overscheduled. Sound familiar?

Even when you’re looking for ways to create more time in your busy schedule, the last thing you should sacrifice is sleep. Making sure you get good sleep is the key to healing your forgetfulness and inability to focus.

The Key Is To Prioritize Your Sleep

When I couldn’t focus or rely on myself to remember important tasks, the key step I took to bring myself back was re-prioritizing my sleep. When I did, my brain fog and forgetfulness improved. I was able to start living my life again.

My favorite way to get a restful night’s sleep is to practice relaxation techniques. You deliberately relax your body so that relaxation becomes a habit, easing your entry into sleep.

These techniques include:

  • Meditation
  • Imagining you’re in a beautiful place in nature
  • Listening to a guided relaxation audio recording
  • Scanning your body (focus on relaxing each body part starting at your feet and working your way up to your head)
  • Thinking about all the things in your life that you are grateful for

I use relaxation techniques like guided meditation, guided imagery, and body scans to get more optimal sleep. I also plan in advance what time I will go to sleep. I set the intention of getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night and then set an alarm to remind me when it’s time to get ready for bed.

I offer additional tools to assist you in getting a restful night’s sleep in my Deep Sleep Blueprint: A Magic Rest & Relief Formula. Click here to get the Deep Sleep Blueprint free.

Why not show yourself how much you love yourself by putting your own self-care first? When you prioritize yourself, you can then be the great mom, wife, partner, boss, daughter, and sister that you desire to be.

Is It Time To Take Action?

Pause for a moment and ask yourself, with all good intent, if you may be sabotaging your health.

If the answer is yes, take some time to reflect on how you can re-prioritize your well-being. There’s no reason for a bright, vibrant woman like you to live your life as less joyful and capable than you truly are.

It may be time to make a change – and aren’t you worth it?

Don’t let chronic forgetfulness and inability to focus get the upper hand.

And if you need a helping hand, sign up for a complimentary Break Free From Burnout session.

In this 60-minute consultation you’ll:

  • Get simple and practical tips for how to break free from your burnout symptoms
  • Create a clear and compelling vision of the burnout-free life you want
  • Tap into greater energy and inspiration
  • Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.

>>> Click here now to schedule your complimentary session.

How To Overcome Insomnia: 9 Tips for Sleeping Better, Starting Tonight

When you’re tossing and turning throughout the night, and scarcely able to drag yourself through your day, you pray for restful sleep.

Insomnia – with its ongoing lack of quality sleep – can wreck your health and happiness.

I know; I’ve been there. Which is why I put together these tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.

(And because insomnia symptoms mirror a number of those of burnout, I encourage you to consider if you may be burned out and not just temporarily having a hard time sleeping.)

Now, let’s dive in.

#1. Difficulty Falling Asleep at Night

You go to bed.

And you lie there, staring into the dark, willing yourself to fall asleep.

Even though you’re weary to the bone, you can’t fall asleep. So you pick up your phone and scroll through social media, trying to distract yourself long enough to get sleepy.

Finally, out of desperation, you pop a sleeping pill. Even though you feel like you’ve gotten too reliant on them, you’re desperate for sleep. 20 minutes later you doze off.

Pro tips: create a regular bedtime routine and stick with it, because a consistent routine trains your body and mind to start winding down in preparation for sleep.

Stop using electronics at least 30 minutes before bed in order to lessen the stimulation from the light emitted by your devices.

#2. Waking Up During the Night

Finally, you managed to fall asleep.

But a short time later you’re awake.

You toss, you turn, you doze off, you wake up again.

And again. You watch the numbers on the clock creep by.

Another night of broken sleep that leaves you feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck.

Pro tips: don’t have caffeine after 12pm in order to avoid its stimulation closer to bedtime.

Put the clocks in your room out of sight – it helps to not have them reminding you of the time.

Take a deep breath into your diaphragm in order to consciously relax your body.

#3. Waking Up Too Early

While this might not sound like a serious issue, I promise you that consistently waking too early and not getting enough quality sleep can leave you feeling like a zombie. If you’re someone who has no trouble falling asleep but then finds yourself wide awake several hours later at, say, 3am, you know what I mean.

Pro tips: wear a sleep mask over your eyes to block out all light; even a small amount of light can signal your body to stop producing the sleep-supporting hormone melatonin.

Wear ear plugs to block out noise that can distract you from falling or staying asleep.

#4. Not Feeling Well-Rested Even After a Full Night’s Sleep

You haven’t been sleeping well for awhile, then you’re able to get a full night’s sleep. At last! Hallelujah!

But, shockingly, you still feel like something the cat dragged in.

I’m here to tell you that if you’re burned out, one good night’s sleep isn’t going to erase your exhaustion because you likely have an accumulated sleep deficit that needs a period of quality sleep to erase.

Pro tips: eat food that supports sleep: like chicken, eggs, turkey, bananas, and avocados.

Eating a 1-2 oz protein snack before bed will help keep your blood sugar levels steady. For example, a hardboiled egg, a handful of nuts, or a tablespoon of nut butter.

You could also consider painting your bedroom a warm shade of blue, the most peaceful color.

#5. Daytime Tiredness or Sleepiness

Do you often nod off at your desk? Or feel so weary when you’re driving that you get a strong urge to lay your head down on the steering wheel and nap?

First of all, it’s worth getting a checkup to rule out an underlying medical cause such as sleep apnea, depression, or diabetes. If there isn’t an obvious medical cause, consider that you may be heading toward burnout.

Pro tips: get up and take a brisk walk, even if it’s just around the office. Moving your body will disrupt the sleepiness that can easily set in when you’re sedentary.  

Drink water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated. If you’re dehydrated, your mouth and nasal passages can dry out, setting you up for sleep-disruptive snoring or leg cramps that can keep you awake. Being dehydrated during the night can also compromise your energy and ability to focus the next day.

#6. Irritability, Depression, or Anxiety

You may find yourself shrieking at your family for the least little thing.

Slogging through your day feeling hopeless.

Or so keyed up you can’t sit still, your mind racing, wringing your hands together while you contemplate everything that could go wrong.

(Please seek medical help if these symptoms are severe.)

Pro tips: take a minute to feel compassion for yourself. We women so often get down on ourselves for our negative feelings. Instead, take a few moments to practice being as kind to yourself as you would be to a beloved child. Over time, this will help replace self-judgment you may be trapped in.

Take a long, slow, deep breath into your diaphragm, pause, exhale just as slowly. Repeat. Deep breathing calms your nervous system; it breaks the fight or flight response in your brain that anxiety often triggers.

#7. Difficulty Paying Attention, Focusing on Tasks, or Remembering

When you’re not sleeping well, it can be challenging to concentrate.

Your brain simply can’t, even when you try to force yourself to focus.

You find yourself unable to remember details you normally would be right on top of. (And then you come down hard on yourself – which makes it worse.)

Pro tips: splash some cool water on your face as a way to gently help bring you back to the moment, which will help you re-establish your concentration.

Put on your favorite music and dance or get outside for a walk. Moving your body refreshes you both physically and mentally, allowing you to more easily focus your attention and recall information.

#8. Increased Errors or Accidents

That fender bender you had the other day? It could be from sleeping poorly. Especially if you’re having difficulty paying attention. (See number 7, above.)

Remember when you made that mistake at work and you couldn’t believe it? “That’s not like me!” you protest.

Insomnia can mess with your normal competence, leaving you prone to accidents and mistakes.

Pro tips: practice forgiving yourself for your mistakes. Acknowledge you’re not at your best – often, simply acknowledging what’s going on (“I’m tired”) will soften its effect on you.

#9. Ongoing Worries About Sleep

Isn’t this ironic? Being worried about sleep can cause you to lose sleep.

You set yourself up in a vicious circle.

Pro tips: tell yourself “Stop” when you catch yourself worrying. Say it out loud. Then smile, because smiling releases endorphins, the feel-good brain chemicals. Even the action of lifting the corners of your mouth will trigger endorphins, if you can’t muster up a sincere smile.

What to Do Next

When you are burned out, you’re often exhausted yet unable to relax enough to access that deep restful sleep your body needs. If you’re so tired you’re not sure what you should do next, let me support you. Go sign up for my free quiz “16 Signs You’re Headed To Burnout” so you can find out if you’re more than just tired.

I wish I’d had a quiz like this when I was in a downward spiral. It would have helped me wake up sooner, rather than having to wait till I was in full-blown burnout. That’s why I created this quiz… to empower you with information that can make all the difference in your life, now.

 

Fatigue Is a Sign of Burnout (and 9 Tips to Get Rested)

Here’s the thing:

It’s almost too easy in our culture to…

Wear yourself down to a frazzle.

Feel responsible for everything.

And think it’s your job to change the world.

It’s as if everyone – every single person – is depending on you…

Or so you tell yourself.

A Brush with Burnout 

Burnout is what happens when you go full speed under constant stress until you’re merely a shell of your former self.

Your entire outlook is one of scarcity.

There’s never enough time… never enough energy to do everything.

You’re never good enough… never accomplished enough.

You feel guilty trying to grab a few hours of sleep, even though you’re so tired you can scarcely add two plus two and get four. There’s always more to be done. So you push yourself day after day until you want to cry from exhaustion.

Until, finally, there’s a complete scarcity of you – of your energy, health, well-being, and vitality.

Here’s the thing though, your exhaustion and fatigue are actually important clues for you to pay attention to: these are symptoms of burnout. If you keep pushing forward, attempting to push through these symptoms, well… let’s just say, it could get ugly like it did for me…

Fatigue is one of the signs of burnout. And it’s worth paying attention to because it might not be plain old tiredness that’s wearing you down.

Dismissing Exhaustion as ‘Just Tired’ Is a Mistake 

Because fatigue can be a sign of burnout, it’s important to take a moment right now and assess your “tiredness” over time.

  1. Do you lack energy and enthusiasm?
  2. Do you feel tired most days yet are able to push through?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you’re in the early stages of burnout-induced fatigue.

  1. Do you feel utterly wiped out?
  2. Are you struggling with depression or hopelessness?
  3. Are you having a hard time making decisions?

Responding yes to questions 3-5 indicates that you are in the latter stages of burnout. Either way, I would suggest taking action on the tips below before you get too far down the exhaustion path. I’ve been there, and it’s not pretty.

You Need More Than One Good Night’s Sleep 

One good night’s sleep feels terrific, but let’s face it: One night of restful sleep won’t go a long way toward helping you recover from what may be burnout-induced fatigue. What we’re going for instead is consistently getting a restful good night’s sleep.

9 tips for getting a good night’s sleep every night:

  1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule (Yes, even on weekends or days off!), so your body can find its natural rhythm and settle into a regular sleep-wake cycle
  2. Go to bed early enough for you to get at least seven hours of sleep
  3. Stop using electronic devices at least half an hour before bedtime
  4. Avoid drinking or eating caffeine in the afternoon or evening (Remember, dark chocolate has caffeine!)
  5. Drink sparingly before bedtime so you’re not running to the bathroom throughout the night.
  6. Establish a relaxing 15-30 minute bedtime routine to quiet your mind and soothe tension in your body (i.e. a warm bath, meditation, visualization, soft music)
  7. Keep your room dark and cool
  8. Wear a sleep mask to block ambient light
  9. Use your bed only for sleep or sex, so your body and mind recognize it as strictly a place for rest and intimacy.

You can learn more about the vicious cycle of sleep and stress in my Deep Sleep Blueprint: A Magic Rest & Relief Formula.  You’ll learn how getting caught up in this cycle can set you on the path to burnout and how to avoid this. Click here to get the Deep Sleep Blueprint free.

An Unusual Approach to Overcoming Fatigue 

In addition to getting a great night’s sleep every night, take time to play! Even if it feels hard to imagine having the energy for this or it seems self-indulgent, “play can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you function at your best.”

George Bernard Shaw said it best: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Play will nurture your soul, bring you closer to the joyful person you were meant to be, and ease stress.

What do you love to do? And when was the last time you let yourself enjoy what you love?

Are You Ready to Feel Rested Again? 

Now that you know these tips, you can be in action with a few at a time and see how your sleep changes.

You now know…

  • Why getting consistent, quality sleep is vital for your well-being
  • The steps you can take to get the revitalizing sleep that will let you rediscover your natural optimism and joy
  • How important it is to be in action

Once you do these things and are sleeping better, you can…

Enjoy playing with your family and friends.

Feel hopeful and happy about life.

Make decisions with ease.

Wake up refreshed, eager for the delectable day ahead, and brimming with energy and humor.

Now you have a list of rejuvenating practices you can bookmark and come back to when you need a refresher.

Now is the time to start getting a good night’s sleep. Tonight.

Are you ready?

It’s snooze time!

 

16 Signs Of Burnout That Mean You’re Headed For A Crash (And What Will Help)

It’s a morning like all the others.

The alarm shrieks, splitting your skull in two.

You fumble for the snooze button. Seemingly seconds later the alarm blares again.

“All right, all right!” you whimper. You drag yourself out of bed, exhausted by the effort of putting one foot in front of the other. Plucking clothes randomly from your closet, you pull them on without really seeing them.

In the kitchen you down the first cup of what will become an entire pot of coffee.

Weird, though, the caffeine doesn’t juice you up as much as it used to. Maybe you should change roasts.

While you’re slumped over your cup, your friend’s words float into your consciousness. “You’re showing signs of burnout,” she said. “You used to be so funny, but you never laugh anymore. You bit my head off the other day when I said something you didn’t like.”

She paused. Took a deep breath. “You look like death warmed over. I’m worried about you. I read an article about signs of burnout, and you’ve got almost all of them.”

You know she’s right.

But right now you’re too freaking busy to do anything about it. “Maybe later,” you tell yourself as you prod yourself to get into high gear for your day.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is what happens when you go flat out under constant stress for a long time, succumbing to pressure to do more…more…more.

You push yourself past your limits, not just once in awhile but all the time.

You gulp endless cups of coffee and energy drinks, leaving you so wired by the end of the day you automatically reach for the sweet treats that bring comfort along with the inevitable blood sugar crash that lets you fall asleep.

At least for a little while.

Until you jolt awake and lay there watching the numbers on the clock march by before falling into a broken sleep minutes before the alarm yells at you.

You convince yourself you’re fine. This is just temporary. Oh sure, you get raging headaches. Your heart sometimes flutters in this odd way. And you catch every  bug going around the office.

But really, you’re healthy.

Right?

But let’s face it.

You’re burned out.

Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion combined with cynicism along with feeling detached from important people and activities. Like a failure.

You get burned out when you experience physical, mental, or emotional stress over a prolonged period of time.

“I’m Not Burned Out, I Just Need A Day Off” And Other Myths

Maybe people who care about you are telling you to slow down. They’re worried about your well-being.

And you brush them off. “Nothing a good day off can’t fix!” you declare.

A day off that you never take.

Well, maybe a vacation is a better idea. Yes, after a vacation, your burnout will be gone.

The trouble is, while time off is nice, it doesn’t cure anything. Within a couple of weeks, you’ll be galloping full speed back down the burnout path, heading for a crash.

And deep down you’ll feel ashamed, because you believe only weak people get burned out. If you were stronger, you’d be able to keep up. To help everyone.

Not true! Being burned out doesn’t mean you’re weak and can’t handle stress. It means you’re human, not superhuman.

You May Be Heading Toward Burnout Without Even Knowing It

A few years ago, I hosted my first ever tele-summit to help women get free from fibromyalgia. I had already healed myself from fibromyalgia and wanted to help others do the same.

Despite having a wonderful team to support me, I kept myself insanely busy.

A few weeks before the start date of my tele-summit, I began to feel both mentally and physically fatigued. However, I still had a lot to get done, so instead of listening to my body and adjusting my tele-summit schedule or getting more support, I pushed myself even harder.

I stopped working out. I was no longer eating healthy food. The stress impacted my sleep, too. And to top it all off, I let go of my spiritual practice.

Yet still I didn’t quite realize I was flaming out. Although exhausted, I delivered on the tele-summit and all of my commitments to my speakers and participants, convinced I made it through on sheer adrenaline.

I had held burnout off as long as I could. After the tele-summit, I was completely drained – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Unable to function anymore, I succumbed to the burnout symptoms that had been hounding me.

I spent days in bed curled up in my pajamas. It was agony for a type-A person like me to feel so numb and depleted.

Even after I was able to get up, I split my time between the bed and the couch. I would sleep and watch TV, having no desire to do anything else. It was as if my life was smothered in a thick grey blanket. I was scared. I wondered… will it always be this way?

But I took the first step. And then another. And another.

I brought myself back from burnout.

While you might be tempted to go flat out like I did, if you go down this route you too may pay a heavy price before you’re even fully aware of it. Burnout doesn’t happen suddenly. You don’t wake up one morning and bingo! Burnout.

Its nature is more subtle, sneaking up on you over time, which makes it much harder to recognize. However, our bodies and minds give us warnings. When you know what to look for, you can recognize burnout before it’s too late.

The Difference Between Stress And Burnout

“I’m just a little stressed,” you tell yourself, “No big deal.”

However, the difference between stress and burnout is simply a matter of degree. The earlier you recognize the signs of what’s going on with you, the better you’ll be able to avoid burnout – as long as you take action to alleviate the symptoms as soon as you’re aware of them.

16 Signs You’re Headed To Burnout

Though the list below might seem daunting, don’t worry! I’ll be sharing resources to support you with each of these symptoms. (Be sure to sign up for my email list on this page so you get notification as soon as each is available.)

Even if you have only one of these symptoms, it’s time to get support. And if you have all 16, it’s your body’s way of telling you to heed the call to change. Take the 16 Signs Quiz to rate yourself on each of the signs.

Here are the telltale signs you’re headed down the burnout road.

  1. Feeling fatigued – In the early stages, you lack energy and feel tired most days. In the latter stages, you feel physically and emotionally exhausted; utterly drained and depleted.
  2. Having a hard time sleeping – In the early stages, you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep one or two nights a week. In the latter stages, insomnia may turn into a nightly ordeal; as exhausted as you are, you can’t sleep.
  3. Experiencing forgetfulness and impaired concentration and attention – Lack of focus and mild forgetfulness are early signs. Later, the problems may get to the point where you can’t get your work done. Everything starts to pile up, leaving you to push yourself even harder in a vicious circle.
  4. Experiencing obvious physical symptoms – These may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal pain, dizziness, fainting, and headaches.
  5. Getting sick more often – Because your body is depleted, your immune system becomes weakened, making you more vulnerable to infections, colds, flu, and other immune-related health problems.
  6. Loss of appetite – In the early stages, you may not feel hungry and may skip a few meals. In the latter stages, you may completely lose your appetite. Your weight begins to drop.
  7. Anxiety – Early on, you may experience mild symptoms of tension, worry, and edginess. As you move closer to burnout, the anxiety may become so serious that it interferes with your ability to work productively and may cause problems in your personal life.
  8. Depression – In the early stages, you feel mildly sad, occasionally hopeless, and  experience feelings of guilt and worthlessness as a result. At its worst, you may feel trapped, severely depressed, and think the world would be better off without you.
  9. Feelings of apathy and hopelessness – You have a general sense that nothing is going right or nothing matters. As the symptoms worsen, these feelings may become immobilizing, making you wonder, “What’s the point?”.
  10. Increased irritability – Irritability often stems from feeling ineffective, unimportant, and useless. You experience an increasing sense that you’re not able to do things as efficiently or effectively as you once did. In the early stages, this can interfere in personal and professional relationships. At its worst, it can destroy relationships and careers.
  11. Anger – At first, this may present as interpersonal tension and irritability. In the later stages, you lash out at others, getting into serious arguments at home and in the workplace.
  12. Experiencing a loss of enjoyment – At first, loss of enjoyment may seem very mild, such as not wanting to go to work or, conversely, being eager to leave. Without intervention, loss of enjoyment may extend to all areas of your life, including the time you spend with family and friends.
  13. Pessimism – At first, this may present itself as negative self-talk or moving from a glass half-full to a glass half-empty attitude. At its worst, this can move beyond how you feel about yourself and extend to trust issues with coworkers and family members, along with  a feeling that you can’t count on anyone.
  14. Isolation – In the early stages, this may seem like mild resistance to socializing (i.e., not wanting to go out to lunch or closing your door occasionally to keep others out). In the latter stages, you may become angry when someone speaks to you, or you may come in early or leave late to avoid interactions.
  15. Detachment – This is a general sense of feeling disconnected from others or from your environment. It can also take the form of the isolating behaviors described previously, and result in removing yourself emotionally and physically from your job and other responsibilities. You may call in sick often, stop returning calls and emails, or come in late often.
  16. Lack of productivity and poor performance – Despite long hours, chronic stress prevents you from being as productive as you once were, which often results in incomplete projects and an ever-growing to-do list. It may seem that as hard as you try, you can’t climb out from under the pile.

Rate yourself now! Take the 16 Signs Quiz.

You’ve Got To Turn Around The Burnout

Now that you know you’re on the burnout path, you’ve got to turn it around.

Each day that you push yourself deeper into burnout, you put yourself at risk of:

  • Severe depression
  • Escapist behaviors such as excessive drinking
  • Hopelessness about your life or work
  • Health issues such as chest pain, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, or heart palpitations. (Make sure that you see a physician about these!)
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Panic attacks

Any one of these issues can derail your life. Because chronic burnout often comes with several of these warning signs, you significantly increase your risk of long-term damage to your physical or mental health unless you take action toward burnout recovery.

What Will Help With Burnout

If you recognize you’re burned out, don’t despair.

There are steps you can take to overcome burnout and bring yourself back to wellness. I know, because I’ve been there. Here’s what will help you recover from burnout:

  • Put your focus and energy toward moving beyond burnout. Write or sketch your vision of your life once you’ve regained your ease and sense of well-being.
  • Make your physical health a top priority. Eat nourishing food. Exercise, even something as simple as going for a walk.
  • Re-engage with your preferred spiritual practice.
  • Take time each day to check in with yourself. Ask, how am I feeling? What’s good in my life? What do I appreciate?
  • Work with a therapist, counselor, or coach.

Life Beyond Burnout

You may feel like you’re too deep into burnout to bring yourself back.

You’re not. You just need to take the first step, now that you know how to start to recover from burnout.

I know what awaits you after you ease yourself back to wellness.

You’ll feel lighter.

You’ll wake up refreshed; with energy and clarity and a renewed sense of purpose about your life.

Your family will celebrate the return of your laughter.

Life will be bursting with promise.

Most of all, you’ll fall in love with yourself.

And burnout will become a distant memory.

If you’re struggling with any of these signs of burnout, don’t go it alone! I invite you to schedule your free Break Free From Burnout consultation with me.

In this 60-minute consultation you’ll:

  • Get simple and practical tips for how to break free from your burnout symptoms
  • Create a clear and compelling vision of the burnout-free life you want
  • Tap into greater energy and inspiration
  • Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.

>>> Click here now to schedule your complimentary session.

How I Burned Out… And How I Turned It Around

I used to spend days on end in bed when my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue were at their worst. I was in such pain. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t even move at times because it felt like I was being sucked into the mattress…like I was laying in quicksand.

I couldn’t decide if my bedroom was a sanctuary…or a prison. It was so easy to stay in bed because I was tired, oh so tired, all the time! During the short stints when I was awake, I was lonely and sad. Then I’d get frustrated and angry. But this just made my pain and fatigue worse. I felt helpless and tortured myself with thoughts of, “Why me?”

This went on for months until one morning as I lay in my sanctuary-prison and watched as the sun came through the windows. I could hear a lawnmower buzzing outside. And then a thought popped into my head and a feeling moved through me. I became aware that I was part of something bigger than myself. I knew I had been put on this earth for a purpose and it wasn’t to lay in this bed forever. I began to cry as a huge wave of relief washed through me. I could continue to give in and play it safe, but I knew that I was here for a reason. I just had to figure out what that was.

It would have been easy to stay in bed, but I chose to make a change, to take some action steps…even if it was just one little step at a time. I had come across a life coach several months earlier and decided that I would see if she could give me the support that I needed to turn my life around.

My coach helped me to realize that my anger at my body didn’t serve me. What served me most was believing I could get better and adopting a positive attitude. Thus began my search for ways to stay positive.

I found that when I took on this mindset, I felt empowered. I had more energy. My pain lessened. I discovered I could take back my life! I was tapping into the spark inside me…and I didn’t have to do it alone.

That was 9 years ago. Now I have freedom from fibromyalgia. I took back control from my symptoms. I now enjoy being in a body and having the energy to pursue my purpose in life. I now know that purpose is to support other women who have fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue…like you. I have the empathy, education, experience, and expertise to help you find freedom from fibromyalgia, too. Which is why I’m inviting you to sign up for a “Take Back Your Life” Consultation. So you can get the necessary support to take charge of your symptoms and find the freedom you are looking for.

In this private 60-minute phone consultation, we’ll:

  • Identify the biggest challenges in your journey with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
  • Get you immediate support to begin addressing those challenges
  • Find hope and explore possibilities for getting free of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
  • Discover how we might work together moving forward to lessen pain and take charge of your symptoms and your life

To schedule your complimentary “Take Back Your Life” Consultation, click here.

This action step is for YOU if you also know the pain of laying in bed, sleeping your life away. It’s for you if you’re ready to get out of your prison…the key is inside of you and I can help you find it. And this is for you if you desire MORE… more energy, more clarity (say goodbye to brain fog!), more excitement about your life (bye bye depression) and more freedom from the fibromyalgia symptoms that have been controlling your body and your life. Taking this step of getting support is KEY to having what you really desire for yourself.

Here’s to your ultimate freedom!

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.

Whitney

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