Is it a Bad Day, or is it Burnout?

by | Dec 2, 2019 | 8 Minute Read, Blogs

I’m sure we’ve all had a bad day that’s turned into a bad week. And a bad week that’s turned in a bad month.

But what sets apart a bad day (or a collection of bad days) from serious burnout is your ability to bounce back. Even when things get tough, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and weather the storm so you can resume your life and gain joy from it.

Burnout, on the other hand, can seriously impact your health and wellbeing. It’s when days are filled with anxiety, normal daily activities become exhausting, and you reach a point where it all gets too hard, and you feel like giving up.
Genuine burnout leads to an inability to successfully function on a personal, social and professional level. It steals hope. It squashes motivation. It, quite literally, sucks the life out of you.

Recognise Early Signs of Burnout

If you learn to recognise the early onset of burnout, you can minimise the effects and possibly prevent it. Here are some experiences that may indicate you have some early symptoms of burnout:

  • Taking longer amounts of time to complete tasks at work that you could normally do quickly
  • Disinterest in tasks or activities you used to enjoy
  • Feeling tired all the time and experiencing physical illness like headaches or stomach cramps
  • Spending all day Sunday, worrying about going to work on Monday
  • A change in diet, eating less or eat more with a focus on unhealthy options

Three Tell-tail Signs It’s Burnout

(Source: psychologicalscience.org and verywellmind.com)

Emotional and physical exhaustion:

People with burnout often describe experiencing a complete lack of energy that manifests itself physically. It can be characterised through poor sleep routines (including insomnia), a lack of ability to concentrate and focus, panic attacks, chest pain, trouble breathing, migraines, and stomach pains. These symptoms become so severe and disruptive that it becomes impossible to cope with the challenges (and even pleasures) of daily life. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness can lead to anxiety and depression.

Feelings of self-doubt, ineffectiveness, and lack of accomplishment:

Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work or in the home when someone’s main job involves caring for family members. Individuals with burnout feel negative about tasks. They have difficulty concentrating and often lack creativity. It is easy to get to the end of the day and feel that you haven’t accomplished anything.

Detachment & cynicism:

Individuals experiencing burnout view their jobs as increasingly stressful and frustrating. They may grow cynical about their working conditions and the people they work with. They may also emotionally distance themselves and begin to feel numb about their work.

So, if you’re feeling like your cup is empty and has been for a while, our new guide Helping You Help Others: The Essential Guide to Self-Care in Employment Services will help you get things back on track. It will help you uncover what areas of your life are contributing to your stress levels and give you the tools you need to create a self-care plan which it’s the perfect way to help you fill your cup so that you can then help fill the cup of others.

Ready to learn more? Here’s something you’re really going to like!


Helping You Help Others – The Essential Guide to Self Care in Employment Services

Everything you need to know about self-care is right here in this beautiful step-by-step guide that has templates you can edit, print and share.

About the Author

Maria Smith

Way Finder, Thought Leader, Rule Breaker

Maria has been delivering soft-skills, employability skills and job readiness training to the long-term unemployed, as well as professional development to consultants and leaders within employment services sector in Australia and internationally since 2006.

Maria is passionate. Her mission is to ignite human potential and help people find what it is that gets them excited to live every day.

Maria’s unique knowledge in Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Positive Psychology have been the corner-stone of our Bounce training programs which are successfully delivered in Australia, the US and New Zealand.

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