What is burnout – and do you have it?

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Read -

It’s the term given to ex­treme ex­haus­tion, af­ter the body and mind have been pushed to their lim­its. “The body’s cells be­come sat­u­rated with tox­ins and free rad­i­cals that form due to stress,” says Dr Michael Bar­nish, UK Med­i­cal Direc­tor at Re­viv. “Poor sleep and life­style choices [diet, smok­ing, drink­ing] can con­trib­ute, too.” Think you have it? Look out for these warn­ing signs…


Those suf­fer­ing with burnout of­ten get fewer than six hours of pil­low time a night and feel chron­i­cally tired, even af­ter catch­ing up on lost sleep. Ba­si­cally your body is done in, due to pro­longed stress and be­ing on con­stant high alert. Yawn­ing be­cause you stayed in the pub for three hours longer than in­tended yes­ter­day? That doesn’t count.


Tend to put oth­ers be­fore your­self? Can’t es­cape a naggy, neg­a­tive voice in your head that says you’re not good enough or work­ing to your best abil­ity, de­spite the fact you stay late in the of­fice most nights? This is a big old sign of burnout.


If you’re strug­gling to stay fo­cused on a task, it could be those eight Daily Mail Side­bar Of Shame tabs you have open and keep flick­ing be­tween. If not, and you’re also strug­gling with mem­ory, it could be burnout.


Feel­ing like you’re de­void of, well, every­thing re­ally, is an­other red flag – both men­tally, emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally. Keep a diary of how you feel for a few weeks to track what’s go­ing on and if it per­sists, hit up the doc­tor.


If the thought of go­ing to work on Mon­day fills you with dread, even though you love your job, it might be time to chat to your GP.

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