It’s normal to go through periods of stress every now and then. Usually, though, these pass once the project is done, exam passed, deal made or deadline met.
But feeling stressed and overwhelmed for a long time should ring alarm bells because it can have huge health and career consequences. Here are some of the signs you’re on the verge of burning out.
Constantly feeling worn out and run down is one of the first signs of burnout and can be a trigger for a breakdown.
So if you’re always going to bed late, working too hard and spending restless nights thinking about work or uni, consider making a change to your lifestyle and getting some rest.
Sooner or later, exhaustion is going to bring you down mentally and physically, so take the time to recharge.
You’re Dropping the Ball
Making simple mistakes, missing crucial details and falling behind deadlines are all key symptoms of a bigger problem at play.
If you don’t pick up on this straight away (because you’re too run down), chances are someone else will. A manager, boss, or even worse, a client catching your mistakes is not going to help you climb the career ladder. There’s no point working huge hours only to submit low quality work.
So if you’re making silly errors, think about what you can do to ensure that when you do sit down, work gets 100 per cent of your focus.
You’re Not Looking After Yourself
Whether it’s poor eating choices, drinking too much, not sleeping enough or pushing through sickness, not looking after yourself is a one way ticket to breaking down.
Everyone has those weeks with a little too much indulgence, but from obesity and heart disease to fatigue and depression, persistently neglecting your health has major consequences.
So no matter how busy you are, make time for you. Whether it’s exercise, seeing a movie or catching up with a friend, get some perspective. Even 20 minutes or so each day can help.
Feeling disinterested in work, letting family and social commitments fall by the wayside and not participating in physical activities are all indicators you’re burnt out, bored, overwhelmed and in the process of switching off, if you haven’t already.
If this sounds familiar, you’re well overdue to take some time out and think about your priorities and passions. Life’s too short to be mediocre.
You Can’t Concentrate
Lack of concentration, attention and memory are key clues your plate is too piled up. Chances are, you started a new job or business venture with a spring in your step and passion in your voice.
Of course, the honeymoon period has to come to an end, but losing that enthusiasm to the point where more time is spent on Facebook and avoiding phone calls means you need to rejuvenate, take some time off or find a new job.
Feeling high one day, low the next and apathetic after that usually means you’re emotionally exhausted, with colleagues, friends and family walking on eggshells to decipher your current state.
You’re also probably pretty angry with stress and exhaustion, so arguments and outbursts might start to become more frequent.
If these are sounding a little too familiar, it’s time to stop, reassess and take action. Looking out for number one (yourself) shouldn’t get pushed too far down the priority list.
Image: dave.dave.dave, via Flickr