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Five Warning Signs of Burnout and How to Manage Them

We all experience stressful situations in our lives, whether they occur at work, school, or in our personal lives. While experiencing stress is completely normal, if this stress has started to seriously impact any aspect of your life it may be a sign of burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive or prolonged stress. 

Burnout can occur to anyone who is working or living in a consistently stressful environment. It can slowly creep up because the early warning signs may be innocuous. Some common warning signs of burnout include the following: 

  • Feeling more tired than usual, or having difficulty sleeping
  • Having difficulty concentrating 
  • Increased agitation or irritability 
  • Loss of enjoyment in things you used to enjoy 
  • Poor work performance 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms of burnout, here are some tips to help you manage: 

  • Take care of your physical health: sometimes we can forget about eating properly, exercising, and sleeping when we are feeling burnt-out. Taking care of our physical health can also boost our mood. 
  • Self-Care: take some time out of your schedule to do activities that make you happy. It can be as simple as taking a bath, talking to a good friend, or making yourself a nice meal. 
  • Set Boundaries: whether at work or in your personal life, it is important to set boundaries with those around you to make sure you are not giving too much of yourself. 
  • Talk to someone: whether it’s a friend, co-worker, family member, or professional, talking to someone you trust about what you’re feeling can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness associated with burnout.

These strategies can help reduce the symptoms of burnout. However, if you feel the symptoms you’re experiencing have been going on for an extended period of time or feel uncontrollable, it might be time to seek professional help. At CFIR, we can help you understand where your burnout is coming from and support you in developing healthy coping and self-care strategies.

Natalie Alexov, B.Sc. is a counsellor at the Centre for Interpersonal Relationships (CFIR) under the supervision of Dr. Aleks Milosevic, C.Psych., and a Masters of Education with a concentration in Counselling Psychology at the University of Ottawa. She supports individual clients to overcome a broad range of difficulties including depression, anxiety and stress, the impact of traumatic experiences, and relationship problems.