It does not matter where I go these days I seem to find many people on the edge of burnout or breakdown. Good article to think about this topic.
So how do you know if you’re heading for burnout?
Here are nine things I personally experienced as I burned out.
I hope they can help you see the edge before you careen past it:
1. Your motivation has faded. The passion that fueled you is gone, and your motivation has either vaporized or become self-centered.
2. Your main emotion is ‘numbness’—you no longer feel the highs or the lows. This was actually one of the earliest signs for me that the edge was near. I wrote more about emotional numbness here.
3. People drain you. Of course, there are draining people on the best of days. But not everybody, every time. Burnout often means few to no people energize you anymore.
4. Little things make you disproportionately angry. When you start losing your cool over small things, it’s a sign something deeper is very wrong.
5. You’re becoming cynical. Many leaders fight this one, but cynicism rarely finds a home in a healthy heart.
6. Your productivity is dropping. You might be working long hours, but you’re producing little of value. Or what used to take you five minutes just took you 45. That’s a warning bell.
7. You’re self-medicating. Your coping mechanism has gone underground or dark. Whether that’s overeating, overworking, drinking, impulsive spending or even drugs, you’ve chosen a path of self-medication over self-care. Ironically, my self-medication was actually more work, which just spirals things downward.
8. You don’t laugh anymore. Nothing seems fun or funny, and, at its worst, you begin to resent people who enjoy life.
9. Sleep and time off no longer refuel you. Sometimes you’re not burnt out; you’re just tired. A good night’s sleep or a week or two off will help most healthy people bounce back with fresh energy. But you could have a month off when you’re burnt out and not feel any difference. I took three weeks off during my summer of burn out, and I felt worse at the end than when I started. Not being refueled when you take time off is a major warning sign you’re burning out.
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