Spot Burn Out Before it Sets in

Jul 24 2019

Spot Burn Out Before it Sets in with Building Brave Expert Dr. Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite

Marla sat at her desk, looking at the clock in disbelief. An hour passed since she began her report, yet barely a coherent thought appeared on the screen. As the tears welled in her eyes, she silently chastised herself for being unable to concentrate, and risking a missed deadline for the first time in her career. Sure, things had been stressful, but not more than usual. She searched her mind, trying to piece together how she’d gotten herself here.

Building Brave Expert Dr. Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite

Dr. Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite

Can you relate to Marla? I’m sure can, and so can many of the high achieving women I have worked with over the years. Often, in our culture, and as busy women, we navigate stressful situations and meet multiple demands on our time–flourishing all the while. We begin to think we can truly be Wonder Woman!  At a certain point though, the weight of the stress can overwhelm even the most resilient among us. 

Stress helps us move forward in life, but when it builds-up and becomes too great we risk burnout (and the decreased wellbeing that accompanies it). 

Notice symptoms of burnout

Burnout has been defined as “physical or emotional exhaustion with a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Noticing these signs and symptoms counts as an important first step and cue to take action. 

Signs of general burnout:
  • Excessive stress
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Sadness, anger or irritability
  • Alcohol or substance misuse
  • Isolation from loved ones
Symptoms of Job burnout:
  • Procrastination
  • Excessive sick leave
  • Performance issues such as missing deadlines or meetings
  • Isolation from co-workers
  • Lateness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling “fuzzy/foggy”
  • Poor time-management
  • Mistakes
  • Feeling powerless
  • Loss of income
Burnout or anxiety/depression

Burnout shares commonalities with more serious mental health concerns like anxiety and depression. While similar, the degree of impairment, length of time not feeling like yourself, and impact on your ability to function on a daily basis differentiate burnout from mental illness. If your feelings of burnout persist more that 5-6 weeks, if you have physical symptoms or you have thoughts of suicide or self-harm, immediately seek the support of a mental health professional and/or physician. 

Check back soon for a new post on Coping With Burnout – A must read. 

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Please note that this article is for information purposes only and is not meant to serve as mental health advice, is not for diagnostic purposes and does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with the author.

About the Author

Meghan Wollack


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