Burnout is a prevalent and burning problem among the global workforce. Professionals across different fields, nationalities, and age brackets are prone to develop burnout symptoms. Burnout and its warning signs: work-related stress, long hours, stringent deadlines, competitive environment, toxic cultures, etc., cause mental and physical illnesses.
Burnout severely impacts the mental health and well-being of a person and limits their everyday functioning. It is vital to get awareness about the health impacts of burnout for timely prevention and damage control.
Mental and physical illnesses and conditions caused by burnout
Let’s briefly look at the diseases caused by burnout.
Burnout is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion and feeling out of control about things at work. Whereas depression experiencing emotional and physical exhaustion and being out of control about one’s life.
The possibility is going through work stress and showing signs of burnout can lead to depression affecting personal life. It’s true because our work life is likely to impact other facets of our identity. The quality of our relationships, social life, and family is at risk due to a lack of support and proactive measures.
People with burnout are likely to experience anxiety. Initially, anxious behaviors may come across as nagging, irritability, worry, and tension. These behaviors interfere with the ability to stay focused and concentrate. Physical symptoms of anxiety include muscle tightening, heart palpitations, and sweating.
Prolonged anxiety hinders our ability to pay attention and fulfill responsibilities at work and home. Feelings of apprehension, fear, dread, and helplessness may occur over time. Moreover, if left untreated it can lead to panic attacks.
3. Chronic fatigue
The physical signs of burnout are low energy, lethargy, and exhaustion. Fatigue is described as a constant state of tiredness and weakness. You are likely to develop chronic fatigue if the symptoms continue to exist. You may wake up tired and sick despite a full night’s sleep.
Chronic fatigue affects the mind and body in several ways. It slows down bodily functions, and you feel low and lethargic most of the time. It may even require you to take more time to get out of bed or step out of the door.
Moreover, everything you do seems like an effort as you feel physically drained. The high energy you had at the start is now lost. You are no longer excited about work, job, and accomplishments.
In the early stages of burnout, you may experience sleepless nights due to eagerness to give your best shot. It may be a few nights a week and may not seem to bother. However, as burnout advances, you may feel trouble falling asleep despite being tired. Or you are likely to wake up in the middle of the night.
It happens due to continuous thoughts about work, deadlines, pressure, and performance expectations. Over time, insomnia converts into a nightly ordeal. So much that falling or remaining asleep becomes impossible.
5. Weak immunity
Constant periods of burnout, stress, mental tiredness, and physical exhaustion may affect your immunity system. You are prone to catch a cold, have a bad stomach, and have gastrointestinal discomfort.
A high level of stress disturbs the body’s inflammatory response and chronic inflammation is likely to compromise your immune system. Weak immunity puts you at risk of developing serious conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
How to prevent adverse effects of burnout
The following tips for preventing or dealing with burnout can help you cope with symptoms and regain your energy, focus, and sense of well-being.
1. Create healthy boundaries
It is important to create healthy and practical boundaries to stay focused and prevent burnout. Plan your daily tasks into manageable chunks and strictly follow your schedule. Take necessary breaks to get fresh air, drink water, a quick walk, and catch up with your peers.
2. Take breaks
Breaks between work are vital to regain your energy and give your body some rest. Moreover, eat on time and do not skip your meals. Additionally, avoid long hours unless extremely urgent. A healthy work-life balance will help you avoid and combat burnout.
3. Monitor your symptoms
If you catch yourself missing deadlines, getting irritable, and worried, and observing unusual changes, do not ignore the signs. Chances are you may be on the verge of burnout. It is essential to stay mindful of our behavior and conduct to be proactive.
4. Seek professional help
Do not shy away from reaching out to a therapist or a mental health counselor. Share your signs with a healthcare practitioner and seek professional help. Even if it’s not burnout yet, talking to a subject matter expert will help navigate your symptoms.
Burnout and its signs can lead to several mental and physical conditions including depression, anxiety, insomnia, chronic stress, and weak immunity. It is essential to keep a tab on your signs to avoid severe health risks. Preventive strategies such as creating boundaries, taking breaks, and seeking professional advice are recommended to avoid burnout.