Burnout – you hear it everywhere, but what does it mean? And how can you recognise the signs of burnout? Here are some subtle signs you might be missing.
What is burnout exactly?
Before we get started, let’s go over the actual definition of burnout as by the Merriam Webster dictionary and here’s what we have:
‘exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration’
What this means, is that burnout doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s sneaky in the sense that it can creep up on you easily without your knowledge, leaving you wondering how you got there in the first place.
The key to preventing burnout and recovering from it should it happen to you, is knowing the key signs of burnout so that you can then treat the cause.
Burnout is hardly surprising in today’s society
It may be common, but why? Well, today’s society has us always striving to do and be more, and the result of that is we always feel in lack, so we do more. And most of the things we do more of, we actually don’t want to do. When you’re not filling your cup, there will be a drought – and that drought is your energy and overall well being.
I want to say that more people than you think experience burnout, especially moms. In fact, ‘One 2019 survey found that of the 35 million working moms in the US, about 9.8 million of them were struggling with burnout.’
So what are the signs of burnout?
Oka, time to get to the nitty gritty. Now obviously there are more signs of burnout than this, but they are usually obvious and what i’m trying to do is give you a perspective who has witnessed so many mamas from an outside perspective.
1 – You wake up feeling anxious.
Before the day has started, your mind is already on your to-do list and it feels overwhelming. Look, I know you need to get stuff done – I mean who else would manage the entire household, all your children’s needs, school runs, appointments and everything else?
No matter whether you’re a work from home or work away or stay at home mom, we all manage huge responsibilities on the daily – and if you have no support network nearby or someone to delegate to, then it’s normal you’re going to feel burned out from the morning onwards.
2 – You’re not enjoying yourself.
Even when your friends tell a joke, you find it hard to laugh. You’re lacking some lightness in your life. The thought of a silly comedy film doesn’t even excite you, and others start to notice it.
If you’re usually a joyous person and you’re lacking joy, then you’re not doing the things that excite you in life, because your schedule is filled with things to do for other people.
Read also: 4 Steps to Break free and Overcome Overwhelm
3 – You’re not in the mood to cook.
I get it, I’ve been there many times but when you’re not managing to make a simple pasta dish and the thought of cooking feels like too much, you could be burned out.
I just want to reiterate that there is nothing wrong with taking something out of the freezer and popping it in the oven – a family fed, is a family fed. However, you and I both know that doing so long term is not going to leave you satisfied.
You need decent nourishment to feel good.
4 – You’re letting your needs slide.
Remember the other week when you started eating a healthy breakfast and going for a walk? Notice how you’re not doing that now? When you’ve stopped caring for your basic needs, you’re getting burned out.
Just as I’ve said above, one of those needs is eating properly – other needs could look like taking a shower, washing your hair, changing the bed sheets. When you’re struggling to meet these basic human needs, it’s a sure sign that something’s up.
5 – You’re not getting enough sleep.
I know that when you’re a new mom, the baby won’t let you sleep. but let’s talk about the moments you have the opportunity but your head is too busy spinning with thoughts to drift off?
Imagine you get a moment during the day to take a nap – do you ever let the laundry wait and just sleep for half an hour? How about at night, are you up until the early hours getting a revenge bedtime when you could really use an early night for once?
It’s okay to stay up late from time to time (I know how precious that time is!) but if this has become your routine, you’re avoiding sleep and therefore self-sabotaging your energy.
6 – You’re starting to isolate yourself.
When was the last time you called an old friend? Had a coffee/play date? Have you been avoiding calls or messages? It could be one of the signs of burnout.
It’s natural to want to keep to yourself when you don’t feel so good, because you don’t want to share your vulnerability with the world. I can guarantee though, that the right friends will always be there to pick you up when you’re having a hard time.
Do you see yourself in any of these?