Many of us are feeling mentally burned out during the pandemic, but even a worldwide illness can’t be blamed for all of our stress. Whether its work, family, or relationship drama, there are plenty of reasons why our stress or anxiety levels spike. When too much is on our plate, certain things start to shift in our routine. It can be exhausting, and a big sign that you need to take a step back and practice some self-care, letting your mind recover.
1. You can’t sleep
If you can’t sleep and there’s a random bout of insomnia going down, it could be a big red flag. When we’re overwhelmed or stressed, it’s common to lose sleep. This is especially true if your sleepless behavior is causing issues in your ability to function.
2. Restless feelings
Besides not being able to sleep, burned out folks are restless and find it hard to sit still or calm your brain. This commonly happens when you don’t take enough breaks at work, or jump from project to project at high speed all the time. It’s important to slow down and take a beat — consider active meditation like coloring or yoga.
3. Unusual loss or increase in appetite
If you feel way hungrier than usual and are constantly snacking or looking to binge on junk food all the time, it may be a sign that you need to take a break. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re eating less than usual, skipping meals, or never have an appetite, that’s a common side effect of stress.
4. Lack of motivation
Feeling less motivated than you are regularly? Perhaps you’re not enjoying work anymore, or no longer enjoying activities that you once gained pleasure from. This is a sign of burnout. If you simply can’t muster the energy or motivation, it means that your high stress levels can turn previously pleasurable activities into monotonous chores.
5. Energy levels drop
Feeling exhausted in mind and body but not sure why? If you’re getting your full amount of sleep but still waking up and feeling tired or sluggish, this is a sign that you’re burned out. Taking a rest mentally to recuperate is essential for getting that energy back.
6. Getting sick more than usual
A weaker immune system can be a side effect of stress. If you discover that your cold annoyingly keeps coming back or is hard to recover from, your body is unable to fight off infection because it’s not as strong as it usually is. Take a breath and recharge with some self-care.
7. It feels impossible to focus
Do you find your mind drifting at work or in class? Even in a conversation with a friend or family member? Hen usual tasks feel harder to focus on, it’s more than a mild case of forgetfulness. Maybe you need to rediscover passion in things that you love, or take a little off your plate so that you can let go and relax.
8. Indifference over achievement
Completing everyday tasks and activities are meant to provide at least some amount of achievement and satisfaction. If you’re bored all the time or just waiting for the time to pass, feeling connected to these daily activities can feel like an impossible feat.
9. Feeling overly negative and irritable
If you’re taking your bad feeling out on others, snapping, or getting annoyed more than usual. In its beginning stages, burnout often builds up a tense and irritable feeling that can escalate into furious outbursts on undeserving parties. If you’re always cranky, pay attention to the root of that frustration, recognize if you’re overreacting. It may be time to take a vacation or head to the beach.
This is always a dangerous path to head down, if you start to lose control. If the only thing you’re thinking about is the next time you can hit that joint or drink a cocktail, pay attention to these signs. It may mean that you need to search for a new relaxation technique — especially if you experience withdrawal without this substance, or spend most of your day thinking about it.
11. Loss of passion in interests
We briefly talked about indifference, but it’s particularly troubling if you lose interest in things that you used to actively take an interest in, like going out to eat, heading to the movies, or spending time with friends. If things feel pointless, this could be a sign that you need to recharge, but it also might be a sign that you’re depressed, in which case you should seek professional help.
12. You’re not taking care of yourself
Prioritizing work over doctor and health related appointments? Finding yourself too tired to shower? A mental break will help you rearrange your schedule so that you stop disregarding your health or hygiene — both mental and physical. Taking care of yourself is important — start with a bubble bath and your favorite book or TV show to remind yourself.