November 4, 2022

How To Handle Burnout

Written by Rachel Eddins

Posted in Career Planning, Stress Management and with tags: burnout, overwhelm

burnout in Houston tx

Burnout is a common mental health challenge that many people experience in their lives. It can occur when you find yourself overwhelmed with tasks in your personal or professional life.

Work might be a common source of stress, making it vital to understand what burnout is and how to recognize and handle it before it has irreversible effects on your emotional, mental, and physical state.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is being in a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion brought on by prolonged stress from feeling overwhelmed and overworked. When you feel this way, you can lose interest in your work and home life.

It’s a common diagnosis, and according to the American Psychological Association’s Work and Well-Being Survey from 2021, “Nearly 3 in 5 employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, or energy (26%) and lack of effort at work (19%). Meanwhile, 36% reported cognitive weariness, 32% reported emotional exhaustion, and an astounding 44% reported physical fatigue…”

woman experiencing burnout

Generally, there are five stages of burnout:

1. The Honeymoon Phase

The honeymoon phase is when you begin a new job or project. Often, you feel motivated and excited to continue working while experiencing high job satisfaction.

This is the first phase of burnout because you can naturally feel stressed by the new project or role and forget to create positive coping strategies to help yourself relax when you’re not working.

Choosing positive coping strategies that work for you can help you remain in the honeymoon phase.

Some symptoms of this stage are:

  • Job satisfaction.
  • Optimism.
  • High, sustained energy levels.
  • Consistent flow of creativity.

2. The Onset of Stress

The onset of stress is when you notice your days continue to be stressful or difficult consecutively. During this phase, you may feel like your excitement for the new project or position is lessening. This can happen when you’re not implementing or using positive coping strategies.

A few symptoms of this stage are:

  • Anxiety.
  • Fatigue.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Headaches.

3. Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is the third phase of burnout, and it’s when your stress levels are always high. Likely, you may experience much less positivity toward your goals, projects, and responsibilities and feel more depleted and stressed by your daily tasks. Additionally, the symptoms from the onset of stress in the second phase can feel more intense here.

Here are some symptoms you may feel at this stage:

4. Burnout

The fourth stage is burnout, and your symptoms continue to feel more intense. Often, you don’t feel like yourself, and the symptoms become even harder to manage. In this stage, you may think about seeking counseling to help your work stress and burnout syndrome before the stress has long-lasting and damaging effects on your body and mind.

Some symptoms of this phase include:

  • Self-doubt.
  • Self-isolation.
  • Behavioral changes.
  • Chronically neglecting your needs.

5. Habitual Burnout

Habitual burnout is the final stage, and it’s when burnout and chronic stress have become an integral part of your life.

You may feel your personal and professional challenges are ongoing, and once you complete one task, more have piled up. This can lead to you procrastinating and missing deadlines constantly, and you’re severely neglecting your needs.

An extended absence from your job and therapy is essential to help you recover properly.

You may also consider searching for a new position that causes less stress after your absence.

A few symptoms of this phase include:

  • Depression.
  • Burnout syndrome.
  • Chronic mental and physical fatigue.
  • High anxiety.

feeling overwhelmed and at the end of the rope

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Burnout?

There are various signs and symptoms of burnout that you can spot in yourself and address before it becomes too much of a challenge for you and affects your daily life.

You may feel like you’re experiencing burnout if:

  • Each day feels like it’s hard.
  • Every task or chore feels pointless to care about accomplishing.
  • Each day you feel exhausted, despite how much sleep you received the previous night.
  • Every task feels boring or overwhelming.
  • Each day you feel those at work or in your life don’t appreciate your tasks or contributions.

Burnout can manifest itself in mental, emotional, and physical symptoms. It’s essential to understand these signs in yourself and seek proper professional help to ensure that you experience minimal effects from it.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Feeling drained constantly.
  • Experiencing more illness due to lower immunity because of chronic stress.
  • Dealing with frequent, unexplained headaches and chronic pain.
  • Changing sleeping and eating habits.

Emotional symptoms include:

  • Feeling like a failure.
  • Experiencing increased self-doubt.
  • Having less motivation and optimism.
  • Expressing a negative outlook on your life and the world constantly.

Mental symptoms include:

  • Isolating yourself from others.
  • Procrastinating on your tasks and responsibilities.
  • Taking out your frustrations and irritabilities on others, such as family members or co-workers.
  • Calling out of work or coming in late frequently.
  • Finding it hard to maintain your relationships outside of work.

man lying on bed in work suit exhausted from burnout

How Does Burnout Differ From Stress?

Burnout differs from stress because burnout is a prolonged sense of stress that doesn’t resolve itself, no matter how much you accomplish. Typically, you may feel relief from stress after completing large projects, tasks, or events.

Once you reach the burnout stage of your stress, you no longer have any energy left to give to your work or personal life, and it’s vital to rest and receive help to deal with your feelings of hopelessness.

Preventions and Treatments for Burnout

If you think you’re experiencing burnout or you might be on your way to it, there are several preventions and treatments you can use to help you.

Our website offers many resources you can review to help manage your stress, such as learning how to implement healthy coping mechanisms to lessen your daily stress, especially at work.

Other ways you can help prevent and treat your burnout include:

  • attending counseling,
  • talking to someone you trust in your life,
  • setting boundaries for your personal and professional life, and
  • paying attention to and addressing your needs.

Additionally, consider activities or hobbies that make you happy, and incorporate them into your daily life.

Integrating the activities you love into each day may return your sense of control and help you find happiness again.

wondering how to treat burnout talk with your houston therapist

Next Steps

Here at Eddins Counseling Group, we want to provide you with the most effective treatment plan for your mental health needs to encourage a healthy lifestyle. There are several resources and treatment options available to you at our facility.

For more information about preventing and treating burnout, contact us to book an appointment with one of our Houston, Montrose, or Sugar Land therapists.


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