Burnouts are becoming as common place as avocado toast and CBD. Whether due to lack of enthusiasm for your job, boredom or pure exhaustion, being overworked with no downtime is the beginning of a burnout. But how do you know it is really a burnout and not depression showing up?
According to Richard Firshein, D.O., leading expert in integrative and precision-based medicine and founder of Firshein Center, burnouts and depression can have very similar symptoms. “Burnouts are comprised of emotional exhaustion and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment. It’s hard to separate from depression on some level, but there is certainly evidence that emotional exhaustion (a core feature of burnout), combines a number of factors which includes a depressed mood, fatigue and a loss of a sense of purpose,” he says.
Stresses at work, lack of free time, and frazzled work schedules are the leading causes for burnout.
Stresses at work, lack of free time, and frazzled work schedules are the leading causes for burnout, Firshein says. Some other signs of a burnout include feeling constantly depleted and exhausted, seeing your workplace and job in a negative light, and lack of efficiency in job performance. According to a Gallup survey of 7,500 full-time employees, 23 percent reported feeling burned out very often or always, and 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes. The increasing numbers led the World Health Organization to include burnouts in its International Classification of Diseases on May 28, 2019.
And even though a burnout is very similar to depression, there are clear distinctions from being depressed. According to psychiatrist Vania Manipod, D.O., burnout and depression share similar symptoms, which can include physical and psychological symptoms like sleep issues, loss of interests beyond work, feelings of guilt, agitation and suicidal thoughts. The difference is that symptoms of burnout are specifically tied to work, whereas depression can be due to a variety of factors not solely specific to work.
Signs it’s a Burnout
You can’t get out of bed, somedays. Having to really drag yourself out of bed to even get to work is a component of experiencing a burnout. It is one thing to have mornings where you need to skip and take a day to yourself but feeling this way every day could indicate an issue, according to Firshein.
You are irritable. You are experiencing not just the occasional irritation from sitting in traffic, but the type of irritability that makes you snap at everyone, and the type that makes you react to situations poorly. This irritability also causes impatience with clients and co-workers.
You are exhausted. The most telltale sign of a burnout is complete exhaustion, including difficulty concentrating from being exhausted and the feeling that you can’t advance in your role. The exhaustion that accompanies a burnout isn’t the kind that is solved by getting a solid eight hours of sleep, but instead, takes weeks to heal. And, due to the lack of rest, focusing on your work and tasks becomes difficult.
You are cynical. Becoming cynical sneaks up no matter what job you do, but when you no longer have pride in accomplishing tasks and goals, you might be burned out.
How Do You Treat a Burn-Out?
Taking time away from work is your first step. If this isn’t an option, exploring hobbies and volunteer work can take your mind off of work and daily life stressors — find a way that works for you to destress. Getting deep, restful sleep can help to reset your body, while making sure you spend time each day away from your phone and technology can help your creative side, which will help to keep work-related exhaustion controlled. Take the time you need for you to nourish your mind and heal. It might not be a short process, but it will be worth it in the long-run.
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