Do you feel like you’re running out of gas? Burnout is one of those road hazards in life that many of us should keep a close eye out for. But more often than not, we rarely see it coming. Those who are prone to burnout are often so passionate about what they do, that they tend to ignore the facts. They’re working exceptionally long hours. Taking on exceedingly heavy workloads. And putting enormous pressure on themselves to excel. All of which make them at risk for burnout.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress and is characterized by three main components:

  • Physical and emotional exhaustion
  • Cynicism and detachment
  • Feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment

The stress that contributes to burnout can come mainly from your job, but stress from your overall lifestyle can add to this stress. Personality traits and thought patterns, such as perfectionism and pessimism can contribute as well.

It’s important to note that burnout doesn’t happen suddenly. You don’t wake up one morning and all of the sudden “have burnout.” Its nature is much more insidious. Burnout creeps up on us over time like a slow leak. But that doesn’t mean our bodies and minds do give us warnings. If you know what to look for, you can recognize it before it’s too late.

The Signs of Burnout

While burnout isn’t a diagnosable psychological disorder, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Here are some of the most common signs of burnout:

Signs of Physical and Emotional Exhaustion:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Forgetfulness/impaired concentration and attention
  • Chest pains
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Gastrointestinal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Headaches
  • Increased illness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger

Signs of Cynicism and Detachment

  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Pessimism
  • Isolation
  • Feeling disconnected

Signs of Ineffectiveness and Lack of Accomplishment

  • Apathy
  • Hopelessness
  • Thoughts like “what’s the point?”
  • Increased irritability
  • Feelings of being unimportant or useless
  • Lack of productivity
  • Poor performance

Prevention and Treatment

Although the term “burnout” suggests it may be a permanent condition, it’s reversible. An individual who is feeling burned out may only need to make a few changes to their work or home-life environment. It can also be helpful to develop clear strategies that help you manage your stress. Self-care strategies, like eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercises, and engaging in healthy sleep habits may help reduce some of the effects of a high-stress job.

A vacation may offer you some temporary relief too, but a week away from the office won’t be enough to help you beat burnout. Regularly scheduled breaks from work, along with daily renewal exercises, can be key to helping you combat burnout.

CPA Counseling Wants to Help with Your Summer Burnout!

Counseling can be a helpful tool to help you make mindfulness techniques a part of your daily life. Sharing your burnout with your therapist can help you both stay on the same page and keep you accountable in working towards your goals. Therapy and counseling are safe spaces where you can voice your concerns, develop coping and communication skills, and find the support you need.

Remember, therapy is hard work! It can feel extremely uncomfortable and even exhausting. Having a hand to hold and help guide you will only add to your personal success. Cristina Panaccione and Associates Counseling has two locations in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and one in the Robinson area. We are currently accepting a limited number of new patients, so check out our videos to learn more about how we can help you avoid burnout!

* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.

Marissa Betancourt

Marissa Betancourt has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. After her studies at Chatham University, she became a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has approximately 5 years of experience working with the dually diagnosed population. She works with people who experience depression, anxiety, mood disorders, personality disorders, and substance use. Marissa uses a mix of motivational interviewing, behavioral therapy, CBT, psycho-education, and gestalt therapy to assist clients with working towards their goals. She is transparent and assertive in the counseling process, helping clients gain insight into past and current behavior. Marissa looks forward to helping you understand your symptoms and working through them at your own pace!


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