What is burnout and how do you cope with it?

What is burnout?

Burnout is when we are emotionally and mentally exhausted due to prolonged stress. It can lead us to feeling a loss of motivation and interest and reduces our productivity. This can affect our mood, leaving us feeling anxious and low. Burnout can affect many areas of our life, such as at work, home or in our social life.

Do you recognise any of the symptoms of burnout below?

  • Feeling like a failure
  • Doubting yourself
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling lonely
  • Lack of motivation
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Procrastinating or avoiding tasks
  • Using food or alcohol to cope
  • Being snappy with others.
  • Feeling tired
  • Muscle pain
  • Change in sleep
  • Change in appetite
  • More frequent illness

Causes of burnout

Do you recognise any of the below causes, as a reason why you may be feeling burnt out?

  • Non-stimulating or overly demanding work
  • High pressure work environment
  • Working beyond your hours or capability
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Not enough time spent with friends and family as you’d like
  • Too many responsibilities to juggle
  • Wanting to make things perfect but failing to achieve this.
  • Needing control over situations, which is unattainable.

If you are experiencing burnout, what can you do about it?

Firstly, you need to recognise that you are burning out. Notice the signs and causes of burnout and commit to making some changes.

Secondly, we need to find some ways to manage the stress in a practical way. Can you problem solve the situation? You can follow the steps in the worksheet by GetSelfHelp below. Using the sheet, you can work out possible solutions to problems, weigh up the pros and cons of different solutions and choose the best one to implement. You may need to reach out to others for help in solving problems too. Within this step, you may also need to take some time off or take a short break from things.

A table showing an 8 step process to solve a problem.

Thirdly, you want to try and keep your stress levels low going forward. You could do this by:

  • Spending quality time with friends and family 
  • Find balance in your schedule – ensure you have time for activities that give you a sense of achievement, closeness to others and enjoyment. You want to make sure you fill your time with activities you value. You can read more about this concept here.
  • Reducing procrastination – there are some great tips here on the CCI website
  • Set boundaries, e.g. with your time. Often our stress can come when our boundaries are pushed.
  • Practice relaxation or mindfulness
  • Set aside time to sleep – you might find it useful to follow some sleep hygiene tips from the CCI website, which you can find here.
  • Exercise regularly – it has benefits for your mind and body.
  • Watch your diet – e.g. reducing alcohol or nicotine can help to alleviate feelings of depression or anxiety. Watch out for high carb or sugary foods which we tend to read for when stressed, but can lead to a crash in our mood later.

I have tried all these things and it’s not working?

If you have given these ideas a go, it may be time to seek some support from a therapist. You can read about our therapy process here. If you’re interested in further support, you can use the contact form below to enquire about therapy sessions. 

2 thoughts on “What is burnout and how do you cope with it?

  1. Thank you for this blog.
    This information is extremely helpful and is exactly what I needed to hear.
    Thank you.
    Pam 😊

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