Burnout, also known as being stressed out, can occur in people who have to deal with ever increasing stressors both at work and in their personal lives. Burnout can especially be a problem in high-achievers and professionals who want to be highly productive and want to excel at their careers. The problem with ambition and working all the time is that you may ignore your mental capacity to cope with all the demands and stressors you are facing, and soon, tell-tale signs creep in that signal your inability to cope with the stressors that are building up.
As the stressors continue to build, it will surpass your capacity to cope with them. At that point, you get burnout, which is a long-term stress reaction. If you ignore the symptoms of burnout, then you may either leave your job and career, or you may develop a mental disorder such as anxiety and/or depression.
Burnout is also another term for adjustment disorder, which is a mental health problem that is characterized by the emergence of anxiety and/or depressive symptoms in the context of not being able to cope with stressors. So if burnout, or adjustment disorder, is not dealt with, then it can lead to significant impairment of functioning (impairment of work, school, and relationships), and may also lead to mental disorders such as an anxiety disorder or a depressive disorder.
The flowchart below details how burnout can occur:
The symptoms of burnout (adjustment disorder) may include the following:
- Irritability. You can get irritated quite easily, which is noticed by your co-workers and family.
- Fatigue. You have mental and physical exhaustion from all the burdens of work and home.
- Insomnia. Your sleep patterns are disrupted, and you do not feel rested when you wake in the morning.
- Poor concentration. You are not able to focus on your work as before, and you start to miss important deadlines.
- Poor appetite. You don’t have an appetite anymore, and you are losing weight.
- Anxiety. You start to worry more, and are nervous. You may also start to manifest physical symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart beat, increased breathing, butterflies in the stomach, and lump in the throat.
- Depression. You start to feel sad and hopeless.
- Anhedonia. You don’t enjoy the things you used to enjoy.
- Negativity. You find yourself thinking more negatively.
- Social isolation. You start to isolate yourself from your coworkers, family, and friends. You feel disconnected to the world.
- Poor performance. Your work performance starts to suffer. You are not completing projects and not fulfilling the role of your job.
- You have fantasies of quitting. You may find yourself wondering if you made the right career choice, as you don’t have a sense of accomplishment, and you don’t feel you are effective any longer.
If you want to help yourself deal with burnout, the self-help book Anxiety Protocol can be the solution. Anxiety Protocol and the self-help program contained within AnxietyBoss.com can help those who have suffered from major life events and stressors to bolster their own natural recovery and foster resilience.