A photo of a professional worker experiencing burnout

Understanding Burnout

Burnout happens when you have done too much for too long. There is no way of avoiding the limitations of being a human or the ageing process. You can’t do what you could do at 20 when you are 40. You can’t work 12-hour days over a sustained period without an impact. At some point our brain and body hits breaking point and we experience burnout.

At Hannah Paskin Therapy, I help my clients not only understand how to overcome burnout, but also how to prevent it happening in future. Here’s what you need to know about burnout and what you can do about it:

What is a Burnout?

Burnout is one of the main problems I work with, yet most clients don’t report this as their reason for seeking therapy. Instead, they often described themselves as being stressed, exhausted, having difficulty coping, unable to function, no longer enjoying life, difficulty relaxing or having had a breakdown.

Unfortunately, it’s common for those experiencing burnout to ignore all the signs for as long as possible, until things start falling apart and they are forced to seek help.

Who suffers from Burnout?

Whilst it is not limited to, burnout is most common in two groups of people – those who work in high stress jobs such as business owners or senior execs in professions such as banking, law, communications, tech, consultancy etc.; and those who are the helpers of the world and dedicate time to supporting others needs whether in their professional or personal lives.

What Causes Burnout?

A key element in burnout is the lack of balance – trying to do too much whilst doing too little to take care of yourself. Let’s think of it as like a bank account – there are things we do that spend energy (like work and helping others), and things we can do to earn energy (like sleeping, eating, hobbies, time alone). If we spend more than we earn, we get into the red, and if we keep doing it, we end up so far into the red it will be hard to see how we even get out.

  • Burnout is more likely to occur with people that:
  • Define their worth through what they achieve or their productivity
  • Highly value being a good employee or a good friend
  • Feel overly responsible
  • Have high expectations of themselves or expect perfection
  • Have never learnt how to relax
  • Feel the need to be ‘strong’ or ‘in control’
  • Have problems with boundaries

A failure to look after your own needs, a lack of boundaries, and an absence of limitations on what you can achieve will inevitably lead to Burnout

10 signs of Burnout caused by work commitments

  • You work long hours
  • You don’t take the breaks or annual leave you’re entitled to
  • You have a lack of balance of hobbies, socialising and family time versus work time
  • You are driven by achievement and strive for the success
  • You struggle to relax and have fun
  • You constantly overthink or worry
  • Even your hobbies are taken seriously/are competitive
  • You find that you’re taking too much responsibility
  • You struggle to assert limitations for your workload
  • You regularly get told by others you should slow down or take a break

10 signs of Burnout caused by social commitments

  • You put others before yourself
  • You do too much for others
  • You feel guilty if you don’t do as much as you can for others
  • You struggle to say no
  • You don’t ask for help
  • You sacrifice yourself for others happiness even if they don’t ask you to
  • You avoid confrontation
  • You find yourself in friendships/relationships where you give all the effort
  • You no longer have time for yourself
  • You feel drained and exhausted

Signs you need to seek professional help for Burnout

The sooner you can seek help for Burnout the better. Seeking help early can avoid a full burnout and can help you manage your actions better. Burnout can manifest differently for different people, but commonly include:

  • Feeling physically and emotionally depleted.
  • New Physical symptoms. These may include migraines, indigestion, high blood pressure, changes in sleeping and eating, increased spots/skin allergies, panic attacks, hair loss etc.
  • A loss of interest and motivation. A reduced engagement with hobbies and social activities. Being more withdrawn.
  • Previously doable tasks become more difficult, and you begin to feel more overwhelmed.
  • The exhaustion common with burnout can cause increased irritability, frustration and reduced patience with friends, co-workers, and family members.
  • Frequent illnesses. Like other long-term stress, burnout can lower your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and infections.

If you feel like you are experiencing some of the signs of burnout, it might be best to speak to a professional; why not get in touch with me, Hannah Paskin Therapy today? I can help you increase your self-recognition, and teach you proven effective strategies to change your thinking and overcome unhelpful habits. It’s not just about overcoming burnout to get back to functioning, it’s about creating a sustainable future that can make you happy.

Found this helpful? Have a read of another of my blogs: Back to Work Advice post Burnout | Hannah Paskin (hannahpaskintherapy.co.uk)

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