Life is chaotic and it feels like you’re in an uphill battle just to keep up. You’re doing what you can to manage work demands, family needs, and your own care. But lately you’ve been so exhausted and it’s kicking your mood out of control, your brain is a foggy mess, and you’re seriously wishing for a weekend all to yourself, just to disconnect. And it hits you…are you burnt out or just really tired?
Look up “burnout” and the top cause is career stress. While workplace stress is a common cause of burnout, but there are many different things that can make you wonder, are you burnt out?
What is Burnout Anyway?
Like many stress-related health terms, burnout is a relatively new one.
Founded in 1974 by Herbert Freudenberger, burnout was originally defined as:
“the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship, fails to produce the desired results…”
Kind of a complicated explanation to the question, are you burnt out? Right?
Well, let’s simplify this:
If you start to feel exhausted all the time and you start to resent your job, stop doing things you love, and feel absolutely zero motivation to do what you’re supposed to, then you’re likely burnt out.
Causes of Burnout
It’s not always easy to spot burnout.
Too often, women battling burnout are put on antidepressants. When your doctor isn’t sure what to do with you, well, those historical beliefs for women run deep! It’s the modern-day equivalent of being diagnosed as “hysterical”.
Burnout is real. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
And is is becoming a big problem today. It’s not only the long work hours you put, or outrageous demands by our managers that lead to burnout.
Constantly caring for others and putting their needs first can burn you out quickly. And often without you noticing it’s happening.
Living with any type of chronic health problem (like an autoimmune disease, anxiety, or heart problems) is mentally and emotionally draining.
And exposure to fear-mongering or devastating news adds to your overall stress load and put more pressure on your body to adapt.
Even your personality can lead you to become burnt out! Women who are Type A people are more likely to become exhausted and sick from trying to do it all, perfectly and in control. (This was me – I was a huge worrier and I wanted to do everything myself!)
Are You Burnt Out – Signs & Symptoms
Some common signs of burnout include:
- Chronic exhaustion
- Lack of motivation to do or complete activities
- Loss of enjoyment in favorite hobbies
- Mood swings and crying spells
- Desire to be alone more often
- Easily get sick
- Neglect of your basic personal care needs
Other symptoms that may signify that you’re burnt out are:
- Having a negative attitude at work no matter what
- Longing for the weekend all week long
- Difficulties sleeping
- New physical aches or pains with no known causes
- Blaming others for your mistakes
So, are you burnt out or is it just stress?
The relationship between burnout and stress is interesting. Some women can take on lots and lots of stress and still feel great.
Others can seemingly be fine until, one day, they’re suddenly snapping at co-workers, skipping out on girls’ nights, and avoiding household chores.
While you may experience different levels of stress on any given day, what matters is how resilient your stress response is.
When you have multiple stressors with a weakened stress response, your overall stress load increases, which then leads to burnout.
Okay, Let’s Ditch This Burnout!
Alright, perhaps you’ve answered the question, “are you burnt out?” with a resounding YES!
Ever Googled how to get rid of burnout? And read that all you have to do is “relax, get more rest and do more self-care activities”. Perhaps someone even said, “reduce your stress!”
Um, easier said than done, amiright???
It’s true – your stress load and how well your body has been able to take on and respond to all the chaos in your life is what got you burnt out in the first place.
But…to tell someone like you to just “reduce your stress” isn’t helpful. In fact, I generally feel MORE stress when I hear that!
So, let’s take that bad advice off the table, shall we? At least to start.
(There are exercises I do with my clients to help them identify stressors that are in their control so that they can create a deeper level of stress reduction.)
Nutrition Tips to Reduce Burnout
Remember when I said your stress response is weakened and not responding to stress in a healthy way?
That’s because your overall stress load has created several Nutrient Gaps in your body. A nutrient gap just means that your adrenals are using up much of a specific set of vitamins and minerals. And, other organs don’t have enough to do their jobs, which, again, boosts stress load.
So, one of the very first things you can do to overcome burnout is to refuel your nutrient gaps.
Now, let’s not forget that some foods pull important nutrients from our bodies, too, so we have to look at food from two perspectives.
One, remove the trigger foods (i.e. dairy, gluten, sugar).
And two, replace them with foods rich in magnesium, selenium, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
It never hurts to add a wee bit of Himalayan rock salt to your diet each day, especially if you already eat healthy.
Lifestyle Habits to Balance
The #1 habit to break is poor sleep.
Whether you struggle to fall asleep at night, can’t stay asleep all night, or you wake up groggy, your sleep habits need a reboot.
Begin by setting a healthy sleep schedule and stick to it. Even on weekends.
Try to be asleep between 10 PM and 2 AM every night, at a minimum.
A close #2 habit is to get your body moving, but in a way that feels good.
When you’re burnt out, long, intense workouts may not be the answer. (The wrong exercise can make fatigue and hormonal imbalances worse.)
Start by taking a 30-minute walk every day, and go from there. Maybe you can add in some resistance training, a bike ride, or yoga. Always listen to your body.
Of course, some self-care activities to reduce stress can be helpful, if you’re able to fit them into you schedule.
Mindset Practices to Reduce Stress
Did you know that your mind has the power to create disease and burnout? Yes, your thoughts can turn on your “fight or flight” response!
This also means that your mind can turn on your body’s natural healing processes, too.
Right now, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to practice gratitude daily. Start by writing out 5 things you’re thankful for each night…that’s it!
Eventually, you can move on to rewiring your limiting beliefs, and working on settling down certain personality traits that spike your stress load.
But a good 10-minute gratitude sesh each day will start to reformat your thinking. And boost your overall energy.
Need Some Help?
If overcoming burnout feels too overwhelming to tackle on your own, and you’re ready to fast track your hormonal balance and energy output, then I’ve got the perfect solution for you!
My 6-month Energy & Hormonal Rebalance System is a proven, 4 phased approach to overcoming chronic fatigue and burnout. I help my clients create new, sustainable habits in nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset so that they can improve productivity, become more engaged with loved ones, and get back to living a life they absolutely love!
If you’d like to learn more about the System, click here for an overview.