It’s not unusual for someone to get tired and feel exhausted after a long day of being at the office, dealing with one’s children or managing a household. Add cold weather that forces the body to work harder internally in order to stay warm and you’re looking at a perfect recipe for developing a strong case of “I don’t give a fuck-ness…” But one problem, and it’s a big one, is that people tend to use the term “burnout” interchangeably with being tired. And the two are typically quite different. Let’s dive in…
Being tired and experiencing burnout are similar in that they can both cause feelings of mental and physical exhaustion. But the big difference comes from the fact that if you’re tired, sleep, different forms of rest or meditation as well as distractions or diversions will help relieve your tiredness and it will usually pass. If you’re experiencing burnout, your fatigue likely won’t go away regardless of how many hours’ sleep you get. And that’s where the problem comes in.
Burnout usually happened because you’ve been dealing with high levels of stress, emotional difficulties or trauma for prolonged periods of time. Although most people would associate this with the workplace, it can occur in ways that don’t directly relate to work. Some signs of potential burnout can include anything from heavy drinking and moodiness, all the way up to lack of motivation, inability to make important decisions all the way up to suicidal thoughts. Just a touch more significant than just being tired, wouldn’t you agree?
According to an article posted on WebMD, burnout doesn’t happen immediately. It’s a gradual process that builds with stressors from your job. Signs and symptoms can be subtle at first. The article echoes a lot of what I wrote above so y’all can go have a read for yourselves but it does include that some important ways to dealing with burnout include getting an appropriate amount of sleep, engaging in relaxing activities and exercising. In fact, getting even just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help relieve stress and help you to sleep better, which helps the overall burnout.
It’s also important to talk about it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed as a result of your work, talking with trusted coworkers, friends and family can be important. Even discussing your workload with your boss can be important, although most people have a fear of doing so because they feel it will make them appear unwilling to work. Speaking strictly for myself, I prefer to have staff who are willing to discuss their workload in an effort to do a good job than someone who just keeps their mouth shut and ends up quitting once they’re burnt out. But self-care is ultimately important. If you feel your fatigue is more than that, you also have the option of discussing it with your medical practitioner. They may have the means of assessing what is actually causing you or tiredness, burnout or not. ☯️