A burn-out is felt physically, but is often caused by mental exhaustion. Contrary to popular belief, it does not have to be work related at all. We all have a build-in battery. If you have no health issues and sleep well at night, you could go on all day; off to work, doing the grocery shopping afterwards, cook, clean and still have quality time with your partner.
If you have a burn-out, you could wake up with a battery that is either half full or nearly empty. Even when you slept through the night. Every day is literally a different day depending on what percentile your battery is on. And let's not forget that fun activities cost energy too.
You literally have to plan all of your activities around the energy level you think you might have that day.
The causes of a burn-out
• Long periods of mental health issues or stress disorders
• Feeling pressure from fulfilling all your roles; being an amazing parent, a partner, a friend, an employee etc.
• Living an unfulfilling life
• Being a perfectionist
• Long periods of doing and working too much without quality relaxation time
• Dealing with highly stressful situations at work, while moving, trauma etc.
Physically it feels like
• Doing small activities or having conversations with someone, causes you to be out of breath
• You are extremely tired. You could sleep for hours without feeling more energised
• You lose your balance sometimes. You occasionally find yourself stumbling over your own feet
• When really tired you slur your words or have trouble getting complete sentences out
• When exhausted you're physically shaking
• Quickly feel overstimulated by loud noises, bright lights and large crowds of people
Emotionally it feels like
• You feel like a failure because you "should" be able to do it all
• You feel frustrated, because healing takes a long time
• You are angry, because you feel like you've lost all control of your own body
• You will have feelings of grief, because you mourn who you used to be and what you were able to do.
• You have panic attacks due to unforeseen circumstances you find yourself in like being in a crowd or suddenly becoming exhausted while being nowhere near your house
Mentally it feels like
• You are unable to focus or prioritize tasks
• Your self-esteem is low, because you can't trust your body
• The voice in your head speaks negatively to and about you
• You feel like your life is paused
• You can't handle too much information at the same time
• You make lists when running errands so you don't forget anything
You get burned out when you've been going hard for an extended period of time. You have ignored the signs your body has given you previous to burning out.
Healing from a burn-out can take weeks, months and even years, depending on the severity. And you will probably go through all the stages of grief first before you're able to start healing. It's a long but necessary process.
I can't stress enough how important it is to prevent having a burn-out. We don't have to spend our lives grinding at the expense of our health. Make sure your life is as balanced as possible and that it fits you as a person.
Because once you're burned out, it's out of your control and your left at the mercy of your energy levels.