Learning to exist in this new COVID-19 world can cause mental exhaustion with your work and personal life. Here are signs to look for which may indicate you’re burning out and need to switch gears.
In our regular life, there exist many common factors which can cause us to feel burned out. The pressures from managing our day-to-day job or running our business can be challenging to juggle under regular circumstances.
According to the World Health Organization, burnout can be characterized by feelings of exhaustion or depletion, increased mental distance from one’s job, feelings of negativity related to a job, and reduced professional efficacy.
As COVID-19 continues to impact all areas of our lives, it’s important that we each reflect inwards and assess our own relationship with burnout. We may be struggling with questions like “How do I work while staying sane at home? How do I manage the expectations from my family and business at the same time?” We may be at risk of experiencing burnout in a whole new way.
In order to take care of yourself, there are clear signs to look for which can indicate that you’re heading for a burnout and need to change gears. Here are 3 which we will discuss.
Chronic exhaustion presents itself as a common symptom amongst many people experiencing burnout.
Arielle Shnaidman, Business & Mindset Coach describes her experience with burnout and says the most red flag symptom for her was “feeling exhausted before even starting my workday.”
Where we typically experience burnout due to long days, demanding deadlines, or frustration with our role, we’re now experiencing a whole new theme of exhaustion during this pandemic.
To combat this exhaustion, find hobbies, activities, and routines that you enjoy. Remember that what works for one person might not work for the other.Learning to exist in this new COVID-19 world can cause a lot of mental exhaustion. Many of us are dealing with the realities of not being able to enjoy our everyday work routines. We are also being challenged to work from home with partners, families, or in isolation. Coupled with the constant influx of negative media, it can be exhausting for just about anyone.
To combat this exhaustion, find hobbies, activities, and routines that you enjoy. Remember that what works for one person might not work for the other. Give yourself a mental and physical break, and find enjoyment in activities outside of work.
Lack of creativity and motivation
Another symptom of burnout can present itself as a lack of creativity or motivation for the things you once enjoyed.
Samantha Lloyd, Co-founder and CEO of Metaranx shares her experience with burnout when working throughout corporate jobs and says, “When you’re engaged with your work, you’re constantly thinking about ways to do more and new methods to improve an aspect of your job, your team, and your goals. When you’re burnt out you lose that motivation to think outside the box and look for new ideas.”
If you’re an extrovert, your motivation and energy may come from being around people in the office. For these individuals, living in isolation and working from home may be hindering your current motivation.
Nicholas Bloom, economics professor at Stanford recommends recreating the social interactions you would have face-to-face over video conference as much as possible. There are tons of ways to create space for socializing virtually, including virtual coffee chats, virtual lunches, or even team trivia!
Changes in self-esteem
Experiencing feelings of burnout can negatively impact one’s self-esteem.
Shnaidman shares that when she had burnout, it caused her to have self-doubt. She says that, “When you’re really burned out you can’t think as creatively or strategically and you start to doubt yourself and your abilities. This then feeds into imposter syndrome, which pushes you to work even more, trying to figure out how to not get ‘found out’ as an imposter, leading to more anxiety and burnout — it’s a vicious cycle.”
Many people may be questioning whether they are doing a good enough job taking care of their families, businesses, or employees. Remember that we’re all in this together. It’s imperative to speak kindly to yourself and avoid adding more pressure to your plate.
What to do if you’re feeling burned out?
Reprioritize your work
Lloyd says “I try my best to divide tasks into smaller chunks to make them seem less daunting or overwhelming. I also prioritize certain projects over others. I learned to work effectively so that I didn’t have to turn down projects that excite me.”
Use this time to reflect on your workflows, processes, and systems to evaluate what is and isn’t working for you.
Identify and repair unhelpful thought patterns
Shnaidman says, “The hours we put into work only account for a fraction of actual burnout. It’s also all the time we spend thinking about work that leads to burnout. You might work a normal 40 hour week, but I guarantee a lot of people spend at minimum 20 hours a week thinking about work, which is exhausting.”
Addressing burnout begins with addressing your thoughts. Fear, anxiety, and shame are heavy emotions and they’re a result of the things you say to yourself, says Shnaidman.
If you need some ideas for becoming more mindful with your thoughts, consider using this time to develop a mindfulness practice.
Take care of your mind, body, and soul
Lloyd says, “The main things that keep me from burning out are sleeping well, eating well, and setting aside time for social and fun activities. If you’re feeling burned out, especially if it’s over a business you run, then you need to take time to focus on yourself. Your business cannot successfully operate if you’re not at your best.”
Shnaidman says, “You’re in this for the long haul so you need to learn to manage your mind. Look for something in your work or life that you enjoy right now. Maybe it’s the flexibility of your schedule, the freedom to work from home, or the ability to work on something you’re passionate about — the point is to find something you currently enjoy right now and then celebrate the hell out of it. This helps you to start training your brain to think positive thoughts so you can feel more energized.”
“If you neglect to recharge a battery, it dies. And if you run full speed ahead without stopping for water, you lose momentum to finish the race.” ― Oprah Winfrey