Tools to help you recover from burn out.

Burnout. It’s a phrase we hear a lot. Perhaps we imagine someone with burnout to be an overachiever who stays late at work until every last task for the day is checked off their list, only to tend to endless tasks at home. They overthink all the details, worry constantly, and rarely slow down.

But what about an individual who feels like they are living life on repeat, with few opportunities for growth? Or what about an individual who doubts their skills to care for those around them as they struggle to care for themselves?

Burnout isn’t about the “go, go, go,” so much as the feeling that we have nothing left to give. Burnout refers to physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms of long-term stress. While stress from a job can commonly be the cause, a difficult home life, demanding relationship, or living with mental illness are among the reasons for burnout.

What are the symptoms of burnout?

Symptoms of burnout can vary among individuals. Commonly reported symptoms include:

  • Less compassion or care toward others.
  • Irritability, cynicism, or anger.
  • Fatigue, less motivation, or hopelessness.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Frequent aches and pains that are otherwise unexplained.
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others.
  • Feelings of dread (such as constant worry of being fired for making a mistake at work, or an intense fear of returning home to a difficult situation).

Teenage burn out

Burnout does not just affect adults. Teens can also experience the same feelings. Pressure to perform well in school and extracurricular activities, prepare for college or a career following graduation, keep up with social media, and other demands can add up for today’s youth. Leaving childhood behind is as exciting as it is scary, and anyone can act out during this time. But consistently low moods, fatigue, or disinterest can be worth sitting down with your teen for a heart-to-heart conversation.

Tools for recovering from burnout

Recognize: Perhaps the first and most powerful step for regaining a healthier lifestyle is first acknowledging, or inviting a loved one to acknowledge, that you or they are experiencing burnout.

Destigmatize: There is no shame in slowing down, simplifying, and reconnecting to who and what matters most. It may help to talk to someone you trust.

Prioritize: Self-care is a necessity. Get quality sleep, exercise (find an activity you enjoy), and practice living mindfully. Give yourself permission to have fun (sign up for the salsa dancing class or start the garden you’ve always wanted). Finally, be willing to say “no” when you feel overwhelmed.

Recovery from burnout is as unique as each individual. What strategies work best may depend on the source of burnout. Above all, patience and self-care are important steps towards a healthier, happier tomorrow.

Learn more about burnout on the Cleveland Clinic website.

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