Signs You Are Burning Out

It’s the New Year and you are back on your desk to work and you started feeling that it is not right and not fair that you are sitting there surrounded by your colleagues and doing the same thing for the past 15 years. You suddenly felt a sheer panic inside you “What the heck I’m going to do today?” despite the mile-long-To-Do list, you still don’t know what to do and how to start.
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The energy and enthusiasm you have are way less compared to those years when you were just starting your career. You wake up each day struggling and asking yourself “How long will I be feeling like this?”. You get up, get dressed and drive your way to your work but you are already thinking of what you will do once you’re back home, your heart is just not into it anymore. Coffee has now failed to jump-start your early morning working day, another cup of Joe, accompanied with some breathing exercises to help you focus…no longer work, the energy is just not there.
Have you ever been in these situations? Have you been giving yourself some benefit of the doubt that maybe you are just tired or maybe you are still in holiday mood or maybe you are just having the usual Monday Blues? You tried every possible way to boost your energy at work but it’s just not helping. You may now be on fire…burning out.
These are the signs that you are burning out:
1. Exhaustion
We get to unplug ourselves from work on weekends or any days your time-off falls, enough days to just recharge ourselves for the next week-long stretch at work. Weekdays come and you got nothing to do, yet you still feel exhausted. You just had an amazing one week holiday at Bali and you just feel so calm and energetic, but when you get back at your office chair, your energy just goes back to zero. Waking up in the morning…you haven’t even gotten out of bed, you already feel exhausted. This means that unplugging ourselves from work doesn’t work anymore because we’re burning out. What happens now is that anything or any activities that have something to do with work makes you exhausted, not only physically but as well as emotionally.
Human Resources encourages time-off at work so that we get to relax ourselves to just take the physical, mental and emotional stress we face at our workplace every day out of our system. This way, we get to have a fresh view of our jobs. Usually, it will help us reset ourselves mentally and makes us feel productive when we return. So if you’re usual time-off isn’t enough to recharge you, apply your annual leaves and go somewhere that you will be refreshed. If this is not the case, then it may be time to rethink of either moving into a new company or changing your career path.
2. Lack of Motivation
There will be a point in your life wherein you will just feel that nothing motivates you anymore. May it be the business venture you want to explore in the future, your future trip to Manila and Madrid and even your family cannot motivate you like before. Your outlook and how you view your job has flipped 360 degrees. When you started feeling burn-out all you think about is being able to leave the job immediately, nothing and no one can motivate you or inspire you anymore.
One thing to think about is “Why you started this job in the first place?”. Go back to that time when you were cracking your head in preparation for your interview for this job. Think back the time when you are just obsessing on how much you will get paid and on what can you buy… maybe a brand new BMW, or that trip to the Maldives or maybe your plan to propose to your partner. This may trigger back your motivation and excitement to go back to work tomorrow, motivated. If it doesn’t jump-start your motivation meter, try reflecting on your goals in the future, you maybe need some new motivations.
3. Frustration and Depression
When I started feeling burned out, I feel so frustrated that I have to just feel awful about whatever it is I do that has something to do with my job. Getting up early every day to go to work, driving on the way to the office, staying in the office for 9 hours, it’s really frustrating to just do anything at work. This frustration leads to depression. We often ask “Why? Why do I still have to work?” and this is where the even more frustrating moment comes, “Darn it, of course, I have a car to pay, credit cards and bills to pay”. “Do I have savings to cover my expenses in case I leave my job?”, “No”. Imagine the frustration… that you’re sticking to the job because you have financial responsibilities and you don’t have any savings to cover for yourself. This building frustration then leads to depression.
Take this frustration and twist it to be on the positive side of things. Just think that if you stick around with your job for a while, you will be able to save money until it’s enough to cover your expenses for at 6 months. This way you will be motivated to work and don’t feel frustrated and depressed at all.
This will help you, every day ask yourself “Why do I need to work and stick around?” your answer will be “So I can quit the job soon?”. I know it’s ironic but trust me, this worked well for me, took my frustration and depression away.
4. Lack of Productivity
When you feel consumed by your exhaustion, lack of motivation, frustration, and depression it’s definitely understandable that you won’t be productive anymore. Gone are the days that you do your work the fastest way you can and your pro-activeness just turned into re-activeness instead. All you do is just to procrastinate and procrastinate and procrastinate and not getting things done on time. Your usual task that takes 30 minutes to complete now takes you a week to deliver. This is a red flag needed to be addressed ASAP, you don’t want to get fired prematurely when you are in the process of saving for your early retirement or for your future business.
One method I used that really worked for me is creating a to-do-list. Instead of procrastinating, try to finish the tasks faster so that you can tick it off your to-do-list immediately. Seeing a lot of tasks checked off your list helps you feel accomplished and productive. Be efficient. The earlier you can finish the tasks, the earlier you can go home.
I hope that you will find a way to get that fire burning in your heart with passion and enthusiasm for your job. If not then don’t fret, maybe it’s the universe’s way of telling you to try other career paths. Maybe you can look into being your own boss by being an entrepreneur…just like I did.
Lots of Love,