You’ve lost your flame, your essence, and not much excites you anymore. Forget soul-stirring passions, it’s a good day if you care about matching socks! You sleep, but rarely feel rested upon awakening. The usual things that once left you feeling refueled no longer make a dent in your recovery or outlook. Burnout, whether personal or professional, often comes from choosing a high pressure career that is emotionally draining, or having too much on your plate. In addition to career demands, you may be juggling the needs of others—children or aging parents. In my private practice, my therapy and coaching clients describe feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm by the seemingly ordinary tasks of daily living. I have many clients complaining of long hours and added responsibility which they attribute to cutbacks and corporate greed. My clients describe feeling undervalued and disrespected in the workplace. Many are very experienced and are tasked with the responsibility of training colleagues who are inexperienced or younger and therefore hired because they can be paid less. Many have jobs that carry a great deal of responsibility with little reward which can feel hard on the soul.
How do you know you have burnout? There are many physical and emotional symptoms of burnout. They may include loss of joy, fatigue and exhaustion and behavior or cognitive problems such as agitation, forgetfulness and apathy. Stress manifests in many ways and a good physician can help you determine if stress is showing up in your body. Something is off and you may not even know what’s wrong especially for those who are over achievers. Getting support for professional or personal burnout will help you in your recovery. While the thought of visiting a psychotherapist fills many with terror, it may be helpful to see a professional just to talk, vent or express the emotions that you cannot do with a spouse, family member, friend or colleague. Asking for help is not a weakness, it’s very proactive and smart.