Do I Suffer From Burnout?
Do you frequently find yourself feeling like you are drowning in a pool of overwhelming tasks and challenges? Does the very thought of socializing, or even getting out of bed bring you anxiety or moodiness? If you’re realizing that the little things in life have begun to turn into stressful challenges that seem out of your reach, it’s time to take action. How many times have you found yourself blaming lack of sleep or too many items on your to-do list for your blues? It may be time to honestly evaluate just how long you have been feeling down and pinpoint all the areas in your life that are suffering; physically, emotionally, and cognitively. By learning how you can recognize the various signs and symptoms of chronic stress and taking baby steps to reduce the harmful effects, you will slowly begin your journey back to health. If the constant pressure in your life has you feeling helpless, disillusioned, and utterly exhausted, you may be on the path to burnout.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is brought on by excessive, prolonged stress. It causes feelings of helplessness, making you feel stuck in a trap of constant emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. Burnout may stem from feelings of being overwhelmed or an inability to live up to others’ standards or expectations. It can keep you up at night, fraught with anxiety, and lead to bad sleeping habits. It may alienate you from loved ones or make every task seem like an unattainable uphill challenge.
Think back to the last time you felt full of motivation, energy, and hope. Has it been a while? Do you find yourself feeling stuck on the couch, unwilling to leave the house to engage with others, or complete tasks? Burnout can wipe out your desire to perform your regular daily duties in your home, social, and work environments. Is this starting to sound all too familiar? Let’s take a look at how this process begins with stress and progresses into a snowball of concerns.
What is Stress?
Your body is built to respond to various demands, including potentially dangerous situations. Stress is how your body reacts to and adjusts to these situations. When you begin to sense or even perceive a threat, your body’s defense mechanisms trigger a helpful, automatic reaction. We call this our “fight-or-flight” response or “stress response.”
But at a certain point, you may cross a threshold that causes stress to stop being helpful. It has the potential to become harmful to your health, causing significant damage to your mood, productivity, and relationships, while creating bad sleeping habits, and lowering your quality of health. But that’s not all my friends. As your stress becomes chronic, your systems create reactions that may lead to even more severe health problems. Issues caused by excessive stress may include:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Depression and anxiety
- Various aches and pains throughout your body
- Bad sleeping habits
- Digestive issues
- Skin conditions, such as eczema or acne breakouts
- Heart disease
- Weight concerns
- Reproductive issues
- Cognitive problems such as memory loss
- Adrenal fatigue
What is Considered Chronic Stress?
When your body continues to battle chronic stress, you lose interest in the world around you. Chronic stress affects your nervous system, leading to a state of hopelessness, negativity, and helplessness. Chronic stress can affect all areas of your life across every system in your body. You may find chronic stress can:
- Suppress your immune system
- Cause disruptions and discomforts in your digestive system
- Be responsible for reproductive systems issues
- Place you at higher risk of heart attack and stroke
- Fast track the aging process
- Cause cognitive changes within your brain which can make you more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns
- Lead you down the road to adrenal fatigue and burnout
- Result in bad sleeping habits
Recognizing Signs of Stress That May Lead to Burnout
One of the most dangerous things about stress is that it can sneak up on you before you realize what’s happening. Trust me when I tell you it’s not a road you want to find yourself on. It may begin with a bit of worry at the office or home with your family's demands. Over time, you develop bad sleeping habits and pushing yourself a little more to get things done while ignoring the signs of real stress. Soon, you’re getting used to the daily battles, and even convincing yourself it’s just your usual way of life. This feeling becomes so familiar; you stop noticing just how much it is taking a toll on you. And before you know it, you've dug yourself into a hole that seems too steep to climb your way out of. But there's hope! Understanding and learning to recognize some of the typical stress overload warning signs and symptoms can help you handle or even prevent this horrible fall into burnout. Familiarize yourself with the various manifestations of burnout. Ask yourself if any of these signs or symptoms already apply to you:
- Unable to find pleasure or happiness, depression
- Moody, irritable, or experiencing anger easily
- Feelings of being overwhelmed, even with the smallest tasks
- Often experiencing feelings loneliness and isolation
- Other mental or emotional health problems
- Memory loss
- Inability to focus and lack of concentration
- Lacking in judgment
- Viewing the world in a negative light
- Anxiety, racing thoughts
- A constant state of worry
- Sleep disturbances
- Aches and pains throughout your body
- Unexplainable diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea, dizziness, disorientation
- Unable to explain chest pains, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath
- Decrease or loss of sex drive
- Frequently sick
- Unexplainable exhaustion
- Extreme increase or decrease in appetite
- Bad sleeping habits, including too much or not enough sleep, unable to sleep through the night soundly
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Lack of interest in work or social events
- Putting off or neglecting responsibilities
- Relying on alcohol, drugs or other vices to relax
- Developing nervous habits
- Reduction in productivity
Knowing the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
While chronic stress may have similar symptoms, recognizing you have officially hit burnout is essential to your health. Reaching burnout is a gradual process and often unrecognizable, sneaking up on you while in turmoil. Signs and symptoms are subtle at first, so knowing what to look for can be incredibly beneficial to your health:
Physical Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
- Feelings of adrenal fatigue
- Weak immune system and easily sick
- Unexplainable headaches, muscle, and joint aches
- Drastic changes in your appetite
Emotional Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
- Extreme feelings of failure or low self-esteem
- Feelings of defeat, helpless, and loneliness
- Extreme lack of motivation
- Feelings of negativity towards work and social engagements
Behavioral Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
Withdrawing from work and home responsibilities
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Extreme procrastination or avoidance of daily tasks
- Avoiding work, tardiness, or skipping out early
- Using food, alcohol, or drugs as an escape
- Developing bad sleeping habits
Recognizing the Differences Between Stress and Burnout
Not quite sure where you fall? You aren’t alone. The gradual shift from chronic stress to burnout can make it difficult to differentiate between the two, so let’s break it down a bit.
Think of stress as “too much" and burnout as "not enough." When you are under stress, you may feel too much pressure to perform tasks and achieve goals. Burnout will leave you feeling empty without enough hope, motivation to try, or feeling there’s nothing left in you to give. Even under extreme stress, you are still able to envision a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a glimmer of hope, and you see a possible way out. Here are a few handy comparisons to gauge where you may fall:
What are the signs of stress?
- Excessive engagement
- Hypersensitive, over-emotional
- Hyperactive, elevating all tasks to urgent
- Loss of energy, adrenal fatigue
- Primarily physical symptoms
What are the signs of burnout?
- Often numb to emotions
- Feelings of extreme helpless and hopeless
- Extreme decrease in motivation
- Depression and detachment from others
- Primarily emotional symptoms
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
You may often hear the term “adrenal fatigue" and the arguments surrounding it. So, let’s take a deeper dive into adrenal fatigue. While not clinically recognized as a diagnosis, adrenal fatigue describes a group of nonspecific symptoms. This may include various body aches and pains, exhaustion, nervousness, bad sleeping habits, and various digestive issues. Adrenal fatigue may be a condition stemming from the adrenal glands not producing enough hormones, yet overexerting themselves while trying. Long battles with mental, emotional, and physical stress are often a common link to adrenal fatigue.
The hormones your adrenal glands produce are responsible for managing inflammation and helping to maintain your metabolism. They work to regulate your salt and water balance, blood pressure, and stress levels during your fight or flight responses.
Although it is not currently an official medical diagnosis, certain conditions can negatively affect your adrenal glands and are certainly worth noting:
What are the Symptoms and Signs of Adrenal Fatigue?
- Extreme tiredness
- Bad sleeping habits, including difficulty waking up
- Unexplainable cravings for salt and sugar
- Unexplainable weight loss
- Over-reliance on caffeine or other stimulants
- Various unexplainable digestive issues
I know what you must be thinking. This seems like an awfully generic list - but it’s helpful to keep an eye out for these signs, as they may lead to more severe types of illness. If you are experiencing many of the signs of chronic stress or know you have already reached burnout, adrenal fatigue may help you make sense of your symptoms.
Adrenal fatigue theories explain that your adrenal glands will activate under the pressures of stress. Long-term stress causes your glands to experience fatigue and feel unable to handle your body’s demands. Think about your work environment. Is your job causing you high stress? Are you a single parent, shift worker, or first responder? You may be at higher risk of experiencing adrenal fatigue due to the stressful demands of your job expectations.
Possible Health Issues Due to Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal insufficiency happens when the adrenal glands are not releasing enough hormones, including cortisol. This can lead to:
- Weakening of muscles
- Weight loss
- Ongoing fatigue
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Abdominal pains, nausea, and diarrhea
- Blood pressure concerns
- Agitation and depression
Can Adrenal Fatigue be Life-threatening?
Be aware of your ongoing symptoms. In extreme cases, adrenal insufficiency can lead to life-threatening symptoms, including:
- Intense pain in the lower back, legs, or abdomen brought on suddenly
- Severe episodes of diarrhea or vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
How Can I Manage Burnout?
If you’ve spent some time with me, you know what a die-hard believer I am in the use of bone broth. With numerous health and beauty benefits, it’s hard to deny the positive effects it has on the body. By working to cleanse from the inside out, bone broth is ideal for combatting bad sleeping habits, inflammation, and adrenal fatigue.
Bone broth provides your body with the essential vitamins and nutrients necessary to target many of the symptoms that burnout causes, including:
- Weight gain
- Anxiety and depression
- Chronic fatigue
- Pain throughout your body
- Skin conditions, such as eczema
- Heart disease
- Digestive issues, including bloating and leaky gut
- Bad sleeping habits
What Makes Bone Broth Ingredients the Perfect Burnout Solution?
Bone broth is a healing agent with the ability to soothe and heal illness, irritations, and diseases caused by inflammation. The incredible ingredients in bone broth target and treat your physical and mental wellbeing. From essential amino acids to collagen, it’s a nourishing and natural choice. The incredible powers of bone broth come from:
- Clean protein
As a natural sleep aid, bone broth can help combat those bad sleeping habits you have been developing from burnout. It contains glycine, which helps you sleep soundly and wake to feel refreshed. By reducing inflammation, your digestive tract can rest, while soothing bone broth properties work to heal and repair. As bone broth removes those nasty toxins, your gut repairs pass on the benefits by decreasing bloat, healing leaky gut, restoring energy to relieve chronic fatigue. Your mood will lift while anxiety, depression, and your feelings of hopelessness fade. With the abundance of vital nutrients bone broth replenishes, your body will experience a cleanse, unlike any other. You'll feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and restored like never before!
Isn’t it time you began to feel like yourself once again? Don’t you deserve to rid yourself of the bad sleeping habits, digestive discomforts, and unnecessary worry? Let’s lift the weight of burnout and chronic stress that plagues your daily routines. By starting with your nutrition, we can bring a refreshing and energizing spark back into your life. Find out how you can take back your health, revitalize your ambitions, and restore YOU!
Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!