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    When chronic stress overwhelms you, it can be a struggle to keep up. That’s when burnout sets in, causing emotional and physical exhaustion, a lack of purpose, and a cynical attitude. Are you feeling the burn? Read >>
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At the Breaking Point

How to tell you’re on the fast and furious road to burnout.

There’s no arguing that 2020 was a tough year for most people. Stress levels were higher than usual for all kinds of reasons. You feel frazzled. Confused. Scared. You may be so emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted from the demands of life that you’re wondering if you’re reaching burnout.

When chronic stress overwhelms you, it can be a struggle to keep up. That’s when burnout sets in, causing emotional and physical exhaustion, a lack of purpose, and a cynical attitude. When every day feels like a bad day, you need to take steps toward healing and recovery.

Wondering if you could be headed toward or have already reached burnout? It happens gradually, so it can be hard to tell. Here are a few signs and symptoms to watch for.

1: Exhaustion

Burnout makes you feel exhausted, emotionally and physically. Your energy is zapped, and it’s a struggle to get out of bed in the morning—let alone get through each day. You feel drained and depleted, like you have no more to give. You dread facing another day. Depression is common.

With burnout, your body may feel tired, but you can’t sleep at night. At least one or two nights a week you deal with insomnia. No matter how tired you feel, you just can’t sleep.

Chronic stress that leads to burnout also takes a toll on your physical health. You may notice heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, digestive problems, or frequent headaches. Your blood pressure may be higher than normal. Your appetite goes away, and may lose weight without trying. And this same stress weakens your immune system. As a result, you catch every cold or flu that comes your way.

Mental issues also arise. The burn makes it hard to concentrate, and you keep forgetting things. You experience a lack of focus that leads to a drop in productivity.

2: Feeling a Lack of Purpose

Burned out? You may be if you no longer feel like your efforts at life or relationships are effective, or you feel a lack of accomplishment. Because of this, you may lack motivation, feel apathetic toward life, and feel hopeless.

It’s common to feel irritable and angry when you feel useless or ineffective. Why keep trying, whether in relationships or at your job? For this reason, burnout results in troubled relationships and difficulty maintaining your job.

To cope with these negative feelings and emotions, some people take up unhealthy lifestyle habits such as drinking, drugs, smoking, or overeating. Don’t be one of them!

3: Cynicism

You question life, people’s motives, and feel pessimistic about life in general. You question yourself and distrust others. You have little to no interest in your job or responsibilities. You may even hate your job, so you use every sick day you can. The things in life that used to bring joy no longer do.

For some people, cynicism only affects one area of life, like work, but it will gradually affect all areas. As it does that, cynicism may lead you to isolate yourself from others. Whereas you used to go on lunch dates or hang out with friends on the weekend, now you want to be alone. In later stages, you intentionally avoid people or even become resentful of others’ efforts to reach out. At this point, you become detached from others.