Feeling More Exhausted Than Usual? It Might Be Burnout
Updated: Dec 15, 2022
Perhaps you know how it feels to be both overwhelmed and exhausted and still notice the nagging feeling that you are not doing enough. It’s that pit in your stomach when you know you would typically look forward to something, but you cannot muster the energy to get excited about it. Work and personal life are starting to feel like a blur, you feel scattered, and it’s hard to feel present. You’ve hit a wall and to continue to burn the candle as this feels near impossible.
This accumulation of stress is called burnout.
Burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet the demands of your life. It can be caused by chronic stress from a high-pressure job, caring for a loved one, or dealing with a difficult life event.
What Are the Symptoms?
If you’re coping with burnout, you may notice some of the following physical and mental symptoms:
• Muscle tension and pain
• Gastrointestinal issues
• Trouble sleeping
• Constant worry
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Difficulty concentrating
• Memory problems
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to take steps to address the issue.
What Happens If Burnout Is Left Untreated?
If left untreated, burnout can have serious consequences, both physically and mentally.
Physical consequences of burnout include fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and a weakened immune system. This can lead to increased sick days, a decline in productivity, and increased likelihood of accidents.
Mentally, burnout can lead to depression, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness and despair. This can impact your ability to think clearly, make effective decisions, and cope with stress in a healthy way. It can also lead to the use of unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse.
What Can Mental Health Counselors Do to Help?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA) employees in the United States saw heightened rates of burnout in 2021. “Nearly 3 in 5 employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, or energy (26%) and lack of effort at work (19%) (American Psychological Association).
While many factors can impact burnout, one of the most important is overall mental health. When we're struggling with our mental health, managing the demands of our everyday lives can be incredibly difficult.
That's where mental health counseling, otherwise known as therapy, can be so helpful. A mental health counselor, also known as a therapist, can provide the support and guidance you need to manage your symptoms and start feeling better.
A few ways mental health counseling can help:
1. Identifying the Root Cause of Your Burnout
One of the most important things a counselor can do is help you identify causes for burnout, whether it be external or internal. A counselor can help you explore the different areas of your life that may contribute to your burnout.
2. Developing a Plan to Manage Your Symptoms
Once you know what's causing your burnout, you can start to develop a plan to manage your symptoms. This may include making lifestyle changes, such as movement and relaxation techniques.
You may also need to make changes to the way you're handling stressors in your life. A counselor can help you identify healthy coping mechanisms and teach you how to use them effectively.
3. Learning How to Manage Your Thoughts and Emotions
A large part of feeling burnout includes struggling with overwhelming thoughts and emotions. This can lead to feeling numb or distant, making it difficult to engage in life in a way that feels fulfilling. Mental health counseling can help you learn how to better manage your thoughts and emotions through tangible coping mechanisms.
In our fast-paced society, the demands of both work and life can feel like a lot to carry. More people are finding themselves struggling with burnout. If you're noticing these symptoms, don't wait to seek help. Mental health counselors can provide the support and guidance you need to help you feel more balanced, centered, and present in your day-to-day life.
Envision Balance Counseling & Consulting provides mental health counseling for those experiencing anxiety and burnout. We can provide concrete coping mechanisms to our clients and help reframe unproductive thought patterns.
American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Burnout and stress are everywhere. Monitor on Psychology. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2022/01/special-burnout-stress
Better Up. Mental Exhaustion Symptoms, Causes, and Ways to Cope. (n.d.). Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://www.betterup.com/blog/mental-exhaustion