Things to Know About Burnout

by: Casey Tiernan, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader

Are you feeling detached? Fatigued? Having difficulty concentrating? These could be signs you are experiencing a burnout. Burnout is when one’s health becomes completely exhausted through overwork, lack of adequate social support, taking on more than one can handle, and poor self-care.

There are physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of burnout. All of these symptoms of burnout are important to notice early on. Physical symptoms include feeling tired and drained most of the time, lowered immunity, frequent illnesses, frequent headaches or muscle pain, and change in appetite or sleep habits. Emotional symptoms include a sense of failure or self-doubt, feeling helpless, detached from the world, no motivation, and having a negative outlook. Behavioral symptoms include withdrawing from responsibilities, isolating yourself, procrastinating, substance and alcohol use, and skipping work.

Burnout reduces productivity and drains all your energy, which can leave you feeling helpless, hopeless, and cynical. The negative effects of burnout impact daily home, work, and social life. It can lead to anxiety, headaches, lack of sleep, and a change in your outlook on life. Studies have also linked burnout to an increased likelihood of Type II diabetes, male infertility, sleep disorders and musculoskeletal disorders among those with extreme physical, emotional, and mental fatigue.

There are ways you can avoid or help burnout. It is important to take breaks throughout your day to give your brain time to rest and replenish. Another thing to help is to seek support. This could be a coworker, friend, loved one, or someone from Counseling Services, to help you cope. I find when I am feeling burnout, I like to take a day to work on self-care and disconnect from all school work and focus on myself. This allows me to refresh and take a break from feeling overwhelmed. Other tips to avoid burnout include disconnecting from technology before bed, getting some exercise, mindfulness, and trying a relaxing activity such as reading.

Remember: If you are feeling this way, take a step back and focus on you!

Remember: If you are feeling this way, take a step back and focus on you!