7 Warning Signs That Show You Are Quickly Approaching Burnout
If you know me personally, you would know that I am pretty great when it comes to discipline. I have no problem with work before play. In fact, majority of the time I confuse the two. For a Type A personality, it can be hard to distinguish between work and play. I find joy in working. I get high off of goal setting, working on a task, and finishing it to completion. Nothing gets me off like checking the last item off a to-do list, and as soon as I'm finished, I’m on to the next.
I don’t know why God has created me as this person who thrives off of getting things done or planning a tight schedule. Previously, Monday through Friday I would get up at 5 am to work on my blog from 6 to 8 am, go to work from 10 to 6 pm, and come back home to work on my website until bed. I could go days and days without human interaction in order to complete a project. I would be lonely, but at least everything was done. By the end, I would feel tired, stressed, overworked, and empty. I noticed that my body was giving out on me too. Not only was I getting sick, I realized that my relationship with God and others was suffering too. The quality of my quiet time with God was lacking and my friendships were being neglected. Because of the emotions I was experiencing, I started to develop a love-hate relationship with my work. How could something that made me feel so passionate leave me so empty?
The reality of the situation is that I was experiencing burnout, the mental and spiritual exhaustion experienced from overwork or stress. The capacity overload that I experienced was because I was doing everything in the name of busy. I felt like if I was resting or wasn't being productive, I was wasting time. I was living in a scarcity mindset, believing that if I didn’t work hard now, I would never be successful. I’m sure that a lot of us have experienced similar feelings before. You may be even on the brink of burnout as you read this post. Capacity overload is never a pretty experience. We were made only to handle so much. Usually our bodies will warn us when we are reaching our breaking point. Here are seven warning signs that show you are quickly approaching burnout.
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#1: Emotional Overload
When I had reached the end of my rope, I had an emotional breakdown. It took one conversation with my parents for me to break down hysterically into tears. When you notice that you are starting to lose control over your emotions, that’s a sign that you are reaching your limit.
#2: The Lack of Self-Care
When I get super busy, my health is the first thing to go. I no longer have time to prep healthy meals, and exercise becomes a well-intended idea. It’s hard to make time for healthy practices such as nutrition, sleep, and exercise when you have a full plate, but it’s totally necessary in order to regain your focus and energy.
#3: Health Issues
There was a season in my life when I was experiencing health issues in result of burnout. My junior year in college I had acid reflux, and random skin rashes plagued my body. I had to force time into my busy schedule just to take a trip to the doctor. At the time, I wasn’t aware that stress was causing my body to react against itself. I had to learn how to manage stress and anxiety in order for my body to heal itself.
#4: You’re Always Late
Now I’ve never experienced this problem, but I have friends who were always late because they had overcommitted themselves. You reach burnout sooner when you are trying to be everything to everybody. If you find yourself always scrambling to get to somewhere on time because responsibilities, it’s time to let something go.
#5: Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
I’ll be the first to say that I turn to food and wine for comfort at the end of a long, busy day. Whether you binge on pretzels and Nutella, or you binge watch Netflix instead of facing your situation, it’s a distraction from the real problem at hand. The next time you find yourself overindulging, take a moment to become intuitive with your emotions, and ask yourself is this a sign that you are approaching burnout.
#6: Neglecting Relationships
When I am busy, I unintentionally neglect my relationships. I will find myself turning down coffee dates and girls night out to have a long, drawn out date with my computer. It got to the point, where my boyfriend and friends were confronting me on my neglectful behavior. It’s not worth it to lose your relationships over busyness.
#7 Neglecting God
I was still spending time with God, but the quality of my quiet time was suffering when I was consumed by busyness. I would rush through my quiet time with God just so I could start on my to-do list. Although I didn’t see it at the time, I was missing out on the restorative blessings that come from spending time with Him. This is the most critical warning sign that you are quickly reaching your capacity.
Regardless if you have experienced one sign, or like me, a combo of many, these signs are indicators that we are off balance. Now that we have examined the warning signs, it’s important to take action steps to make sure that we are avoiding burnout in our lives. Here are some tips to help you avoid burnout.
Sometimes it’s good to do a technology cleanse. Set aside time each day to free yourself from technology and social media. Put your phone on airplane mode during your quiet time. Silence your phone a hour before bed so you can decompress from all the digital stimuli. You can even go as far as doing a social media fast where you commit to spending several days unplugged.
In order to give yourself fully to your responsibilities, it’s important to set boundaries. Learn the art of saying no. It’s impossible to be everything to everybody. The more you overcommit yourself, the more likely you are to end up disappointing those around you. Setting boundaries not only protects the commitment you made to others, it protects the commitment you made to yourself.
Spend time in the Word
When you find yourself chasing the wind, you’re going to come up empty. Let His presence and promises fill you up. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus tells us to come to Him when we are tired and burned out. So much peace and clarity is found by spending time with Him.
Learn How to Manage Stress
You will reach burnout much faster if you don’t learn how to manage your stress levels. Stress and anxiety are signs that you are having too much faith in yourself instead of God. Do a word study on stress and start praying His truths over your situation.
Make Time for Self-Care
It’s impossible to pour into others when we don’t take time to pour into our selves. Our bodies are the Holy Spirit’s temple (1 Corin. 6:19), so it’s important that we make self-care a priority. Make time at the beginning of the week to meal prep. Incorporate daily exercise into your routine. Spend a few minutes at the end of the day reading your favorite book. Make time for you.
Are there any warning signs of burnout that you can relate to? Share them with me in the comments below.