So, How's Burnout Different Than Stress?
Well, stress is the thing that leads to burnout. It's the thing that we're all familiar with when a deadline is looming or you've got too much on your plate. It's the feeling of too many things to do and not enough time to do them in.
This feeling might be a combination of heightened emotions including anxiety, excitement, frustration, and adrenaline. Of wanting things to move faster, for people to get out of your way, and of racing toward an imaginary finish line in hopes of beating the clock.
It could also be an internalized stress based in fear. The fear of failing or succeeding, the fear of being seen, of being judged, of not having your voice heard, of not feeling like your good enough or a myriad of other fears that push and pull at us.
Stress is our body's natural response to a perceived or real pressure or threat by an internal or external force or circumstance.
When any experience of stress happens over a sustained period of time, you're in a state of chronic stress. This is when you're on your way to burnout.
You know when you've reached burnout when you feel burdened by your to-do list no matter how short it is, even the small tasks seem daunting, you barely have the energy to get out of bed, you get irritated and angry at the smallest things, and life has lost its glow.
Burnout is the line your body draws in the sand when you've eventually maxed it out. It is a shutting down of your system, due to extreme and sustained exhaustion. You don't just need a couple of days off, you need a recovery plan.
Burnout speaks to a problem that has changed from a small flashing caution light in your body to a fire alarm. It can carry with it feelings of severe depression, hopelessness, and soul level exhaustion.
Overwork isn't the Only Road to Burnout
Internalized pressures to do everything perfectly, stressful or toxic home/work/relationship situations, masking, managing severe or complex trauma, care taking, stay-at-home parenting, having a lack of boundaries, being unappreciated or underpaid for the work you do, not feeling like the work you do matters in the world, and being under stimulated in your work life can all be contributing factors to burnout.
Anywhere in your life that pulls you out off balance and keeps you there for extended periods of time has the ability to overtax your nervous system, deplete your energy stores, and eventually burn you out.
10 Signs it's Burnout
You have no energy. Burnout level of exhaustion means that getting a good night sleep or going on vacation for a week isn't enough to recharge your system.
You feel overwhelmed. All the time. Everything feels like too much.
You have little to no motivation. As much as you might like to get done, you simply don't have the motivation to do more than the bare minimum.
You have increased your coping activities. This could include drinking, watching more Netflix, eating, sleeping, drugs, or other forms of escapism to help you cope or numb.
You can't find your joy (or your empathy). Even though there are good things in your life, you can't seem to enjoy them. And even though you want to care, it's a huge challenge to care about yourself or those you interact with.
You feel detached and alone. You feel as if there were a great distance or even disconnection between you and the world around you. This along with joylessness can bring you into states of sadness and depression.
You are withdrawing and isolating yourself. Whether socially or at work, you find yourself wanting more and more to be alone and avoid taking on more responsibilities.
You feel irritable and angry. You are much more prone to moodiness, short fuses, bursts of irritability, and even rage.
You feel more aches/pains or get sick more often. Since your immune system is compromised in a state of burnout, you can find yourself getting more headaches, back aches, and catching more colds/flues.
You are foggy, unfocused, and forgetful. Your brain doesn't do well with stress in general. Chronic stress can have even more negative ramifications. In burnout you experience a lack of clarity, loss of focus, decreased ability to do the complex reasoning you once did, and not being able to hold on to information (short and long term memory issues).
From Stress to Burnout to Balance
When I burned out, I moved slowly from the stress column to the burnout column without even knowing it. It didn't happen in a day or a week or even a month, and once I was there, I didn't have the slightest idea how to get myself out of it.
I researched and couldn't find anything, not programs, energy workers, or EFT practitioners with a focus on burnout recovery at the time. I found lots of recommendations for things to do and not to do, but nothing that would help me rebalance my system other than time.
Reading about the severity of my symptoms taught me that I would need 3-5 years of dedicated healing time to fully recover. I'm a little impatient.
Instead, within 2 years I had tapped my way out of burnout, started True You Tapping, and used my knowledge and experience from all that inner work and healing to create a burnout recovery program called From Weary to Well where I help people clear their symptoms and rebalance their lives over the course of 10 weeks.
The Core of the Issue
In From Weary to Well, although the symptoms are released, the true focus is on finding and clearing the core of the issue... the reason that they burned out in the first place. If this isn't cleared, they're still susceptible to burnout and may find themselves right back in the same place down the road.
I don't believe in simply managing symptoms or helping people heal so they can get back to work and be productive. It's my hope in working with clients that they find more of themselves when the heaviness of responsibility and the overwhelm of the day-to-day is eased. I see this happening and it truly brings me joy.
I see my clients find balance in so many ways, and find themselves through the work we do together. I've seen them create healthy boundaries almost effortlessly, connect with partners more fully, close businesses and take to the open road to pursue rich new chapters of their lives, retire with grace, and move across the country for new beginnings.
I can't wait to see what you will do when you find your balance and more of yourself.
If you're feeling burned out and know it's time for some support, I'm here and I'd love to work with you.
Schedule a free 30-minute Burnout Assessment Session with me to find out about your level of burnout and chat about the best next steps to get you back to balance.
Ready to recover? Check out these programs...
Burnout Triage a 4-Week Burnout Recovery Kickstart (self-directed)
From Weary to Well A 10-Week One-on-One Burnout Recovery Program
Angela Hed Vincent (she/her), owner of True You Tapping, is an EFT Master Practitioner and Energy Medicine Practitioner.
She helps her clients honor and release emotional trauma and energetic density, using their biggest challenges as catalysts for transformation, so they can more fully embody the truth of who they are and the unique purposes they are here to fulfill.
Angela introduces something new to the world of wellness and transformation. She has developed a unique approach to burnout recovery and intuitive development, and continues to create innovative programs to help people find their balance in various aspects of life.