Is It Stress or Burnout? 7 Signs You Should Know
“Simplicity means taking charge of a life that is too busy, too stressed, and too fragmented…focusing on the essentials – whatever those may be for each of our unique lives” – Duane Elgin
One third of Americans live with extreme stress, naming money and work as the leading cause. Stress is a significant reason for problems with family and friends. Eight percent connect stress to divorce or separation. These are the statistics reported by the American Psychological Association.
Anyone can suffer from stress or burnout. From the frazzled office worker putting in late hours, to the frenetic homemaker struggling with children or caregiving, to the Type A personality with control issues.
Stress is About Too Much Pressure and Responsibility
You are expected to be too many things to too many people Symptoms include feeling irritable, fatigued, frustrated, overwhelmed. Physically your body aches and your blood pressure is up. Despite this you still feel optimistic that if you can just get things under control everything will work out.
The good news is stress is easier to handle at this stage – before it becomes chronic.
Burnout is About Having Too Little Left to Give
It is the more intense form of stress. Symptoms include feeling empty, helpless, hopeless. Loss of motivation and interest. Feeling nothing you do is appreciated or makes a difference. Problems seem overwhelming and you are unable to the meet demands.
Because burnout is gradual, you may not realize you are past the breaking point until it is too late.
In the early stages stress reduction strategies may be enough. Though It will take a good deal of time and effort. If symptoms persist or become worse, however, it is best to see a doctor.
7 Signs of Stress 7 Signs of Burnout
Over reactive Emotions blunted
Loss of energy Loss of motivation, hope
Anxiety disorders Detachment, depression
Primarily physical Primarily emotional
May kill you prematurely Life not worth living
Source: Stress and burnout ministry
What You Can Do For Relief
· At work: speak with your boss to clarify job description, negotiate new job duties. Give yourself a break and take time off when needed.
· At home: set boundaries, learn to say no and get help where needed. Carve out daily “me time” to relax.
· For the high achieving Type A personality: take a break from the laptop, email, Blackberry. Find a fun project, hobby or other non-work related activity to get away from responsibilities.
Begin to understand that stress management and relaxation are a vital part of your physical and emotional fitness. Learn breathing routines, affirmations, meditation, visualization and progressive relaxation to find what works for your lifestyle. Take a” time out”, eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of rest. Finally, reassess your goals, simplify your life and rediscover what makes you happy.