Burnout Symptoms & Escape Strategies

by Joan C Webb on January 18, 2012

Stop Living Like You’re on Fire

Fire Cauldron 2 on 1-17-12Maybe you’re just tapping your toe in the burnout cauldron. Perhaps you’re going down for the third count. Identifying your symptoms and the degree of your burnout will help you make intentional decisions to regain healthy balance. Here’s a shortened list of symptoms ranging from the occasionally bothersome to the more severe.

  1. Decreased energy/unfocused/confused/disappointed
  2. Increased fatigue/stress/sometimes use caffeine/sweets to lift mood
  3. Change in weight/occasions of insomnia
  4. Less creativity/vanishing sense of purpose
  5. Headaches/decreased libido/muscle aches/dizziness
  6. Feelings of depression/resentment/rigidity
  7. Decreased social activity/nagging anxiety/emotional numbing
  8. Exhaustion 24/7 with inability to sleep
  9. Chest pains/shortness of breath/stomach problems/dizziness/disorientation
  10. Inappropriate outbursts/periods of risky behavior/unhealthy blood pressure/diagnosis of illness

Fire picture-cauldron 1-17-12“If you don’t want to burnout, stop living like you’re on fire,” writes Brene Brown, a vulnerability researcher at the University of Houston. Adopting reusable freedom-producing strategies can help you avoid additional symptoms or escape an established burnout system.

  1. Develop an authentic picture of yourself. Ask 3 questions: What’s good about my life right now? What concerns me? What’s currently missing in my life?
  2. Set realistic goals. By saying “yes” to a new project, you’ll automatically be saying “no” to something else. (If your “yes” means “no” to adequate sleep you’re not doing yourself any favors!)
  3. Ask for support. People are often pleased to help.
  4. Cultivate a detached concern (balanced love) for recipients of your efforts. You’re not responsibility for the success, happiness, or sobriety of another.
  5. Maintain a reasonable action plan of proper nutrition and physical exercise. Take time-outs when you need them.

After one professional woman changed her burnout-prone lifestyle, her teenager said, “Mom, you saved my life. When I saw that you could take better care of yourself, I knew I could heal from anorexia. Thanks.” Self-care is not selfish.

What loving self-care will you resolve to practice in 2012?

I wrote this article and it was originally published by Genius Avenue Inc., copyright 2011. Used here with permission.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcella Wiggs January 19, 2012 at 10:14 am

Hi Joan,
Good article…good advice. “Self-care is not selfish”–food for thought! I must admit I’ve at times been confused and thought self-care is selfish! I actually had to accidentally find out by how I felt when I’ve taken time for my walk, my journal entry and some margin-breathing time vs. running like crazy all day.

Got your website from Lucille Zimmerman’s posts on fb. I don’t know if you remember me, my husband Paul and I attended Grace Comm for many years…left and moved to Littleton 6 years ago. I won’t feel bad if you don’t remember. As I recall, you were more visible in the Grace office!

I was mentored/discipled by Nina Taylor for many years. Miss her and other friends there…Looking forward to possibly finding a place to rent in Tempe area this Spring for abt a month!

Thanks for your encouraging many unknowns out there in cyberworld! Just thought I’d let you know I’m one of them!

Pam C in Canada January 19, 2012 at 10:42 am

Hello Joan

That was a great article! And because it’s January up here in our icebox (this week the average temperature with the windchill has been -40!), and we’ve been having a lot of changes & challenges at work, I was feeling some of those “symptoms”. I’m trying to stop them/allow them/deal with them, so thank you for this reminder!

Self-care is NOT selfish! (Is it bad to say that I can’t wait til I get my tonsils out to have my next week of holidays?? Because I can’t! I’m going to stay home & relax!!)

Joan C. Webb January 23, 2012 at 1:12 am

Hi Marcella! Thanks for your message. So fun to get it. I have lots of good memories of Grace Church. We aren’t going there now. We moved way south.
I love that you got my website from Lucille Zimmerman’s post on FB. She and I haven’t met yet face-to-face. We might in Feb. I appreciate her FB messages.

May you have a good week of rejuvenating Self-Care. It’s not selfish! :-)

Joan C. Webb January 23, 2012 at 1:14 am

Hi Pam! Oh, my, I hope you’re staying warm. Your comments reminded me of my many years in Minnesota. So cold!
May you have many times to remember that Self-Care is not selfish this week.

When are you having your tonsils out??

Pam C in Canada January 23, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Joan – no clue! If they haven’t called me by Friday, I’m calling them on Monday….let’s hope they call! And didn’t forget about me – I’ve heard of that happening before :s.

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