So, if people can ‘burnout’…. how do I know what to look for?

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Most people would have experienced burnout by the time they were 30-years-old, and definitely by the time they are 50. I haven’t done the research or got any actual data for this, but I am just going off what I have seen, heard and have felt myself.

I have experienced burnout more than I’d like to admit for a 26-year-old. One of the first times, I was so burnt-out, that I started losing my hair! It was coming out in chunks! I had bald patches; it was so scary! I was studying at Tafe at the time, and I ended up joking about it to one of my teachers – I didn’t know what was wrong with me; her ears immediately pricked up, and thank goodness they did. She asked me a few more questions about my hair, and my sleep, and what I did for fun… HA nothing, I think was my answer to the last one. She recognised the signs and symptoms, and sent me off to get some help. Legend!

Burn out might look, and feel different for everyone, and you might realise you are heading that way sooner than others – but I do recommend keeping an eye open for this beast!!

Signs to look for:

  • Exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Not wanting to get up for work
  • ‘Giving up’ with food choices
  • Everything seems impossible
  • Work & life are draining
  • Live off coffee and/or other stimulants
  • Lack understanding (empathy) for other people
  • Negative mindset
  • Reactive to conversations/actions
  • Road Rage/aggression
  • Hyper emotions (over the top in both directions)
  • Low immune system

Symptoms:

  • TIRED ALL THE TIME
  • Overwhelmed by everything
  • Anxious
  • “Why do I even bother?”
  • “I don’t even care what I look like anymore.”
  • “I am too busy to…”

A lot of the signs and symptoms of burnout can be mistaken for being lazy, being uninterested in life, depression, being a jerk etc. What we have to notice in our own lives, and those of us around us, that these people are screaming out for something….

That something is Self-Care!! Self-care is a remarkable concept that a person should spend time on themselves. Simple really, but how many of us consciously set aside time for self-care every single day?

Putting yourself first is such a foreign thing for some people (myself included). I need to consciously plan things I am going to do for myself, otherwise I don’t do them. Hence the higher rate of me burning out! I am goal driven to the point of forgetting about who is getting me to these goals… ME!

Some self-care activities that are really great to avoid burnout are:

  • Go for a walk
  • Meet up with a friend for a cuppa
  • Get a massage (of course!)
  • Drive to somewhere you love
  • Go shopping (spend money on yourself)
  • Pretend to be a photographer, find cool textures and angles
  • Read a book
  • Binge-watch your favourite TV show
  • Take yourself to the movies
  • Cook something nice
  • Draw/paint a picture
  • Visit a day spa
  • Plan your next holiday
  • Get dressed up
  • Dance like no-one is watching!
  • Sing like no-one is listening!
  • Spend time outside playing with your kids and/or fur-babies
  • Get a pedicure/manicure
  • Have some news & phone-free time
  • Join a casual sports team
  • Take a bath
  • Go to the beach
  • Have time off from work (obviously arrange this one with work, but they should really allow for mental health holidays).

‘To look after the many, we must look after ourselves first,’ probably an ancient proverb.

‘The captain of the ship must be mentally stable,’ definitely an ancient proverb.

I hope this has helped someone today! Please be aware of the signs and symptoms that may present in your friends and family, and if they are; ask them, ‘what have you done for yourself lately? What have you done for fun lately?’ I needed professional help for my biggest burnout – my hair was falling out for God’s sake! Getting help from the pro’s is always a great idea. If everyone knows more about it, we can all pick up on it quicker! The best thing about burnout, is it’s treatable/avoidable with self-care. Brilliant! So, if I spend more time on myself, I am a better person to be around, more productive and driven? Sweet, sign me up!

If you or someone you know needs emotional and social wellbeing support, call one of the following numbers:

– Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
– Lifeline: 13 11 14
– Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

These hotlines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.