Burnout is definitely a thing. I was off work for about a month in 2013 for burnout and I was only 23 years old. Granted, there was quite a bit going on that led to the problem but first, what is burnout?
According to Dr. Shimi Kang, a psychiatrist from Vancouver, burnout is when a patient suffers from chronic stress. Symptoms include: signs of physical or emotional exhaustion (i.e. chronic fatigue, insomnia, constantly falling ill, weight gain, loss of appetite, anxiety, depression, anger issues, pessimism, cynicism and detachment) and a drop in productivity (i.e. forgetfulness and issues with concentration and focus) (Alini).
I was working ridiculous hours with rotating shifts while on availability and had just started a full-time evening position at work. I was also working on an online event planning certification. I was at my heaviest weight to date because my schedule didn’t allow for much time to cook and prep food at home. I had recently moved out on my own, for the first time, after my relationship with my then fiance fell apart. I was being harassed incessantly by a former manager and a close friend had a pretty major accident. It was too much; I needed a break.
For a month, I was off work. I used the time to recover and work on strategies to prevent it from happening again. Clearly, changes needed to be made.
Since then, I’ve made every effort to make my well-being a priority. If it meant working less or taking a break from school, I did it. I started exercising more, eating better and trying to regulate my sleep. I lost 40lbs and went from a size 13 to a 6. I started reaching out to family and friends more, taking my breaks at work, restarting old hobbies and whatever else I, or my doctor, thought could help. I started taking better care of myself again and I’ve never let my stress levels reach that height again, nor do I intend to let them.
Take care of yourself. You cannot help yourself or others if you’re running on empty. You deserve health and happiness just as much as anyone else.
Have you suffered from burnout? What steps did you take to get well?
Let me know in the comments.