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7 Burnout Symptoms Youngsters Should Look Out For

Feeling tired and overwhelmed for a long period? Here are 7 Burnout Symptoms you should keep in mind if you experience mental fatigue. 

Feeling tired and overwhelmed for a long period? Here are 7 Burnout Symptoms you should keep in mind to know that you are experiencing burnout. 

“Main toh thak gayi bhaisahab”, this infamous dialogue of Hansa from an Indian series ‘Khichdi’, has become kind of a staple feeling, at least for me.

People generally don’t seem to understand how college-going students can experience burnout, because we are ‘just in college’; we might not face as much pressure as people who are in jobs, but that does not mean we are completely stress-free as well.

Early 20s is a time when everyone is exploring their ambitions and interests, trying to excel in their respective fields or studying hard for pursuing a degree abroad or other competitive exams, amongst many other things and this environment of intense competition, fear of failure and anxiety about future just worsens one’s psychological well-being.

Assignments, presentations, exams, searching for an internship which satisfies and pays you, exploring and getting confused with your interest areas and living up to the expectations of the family are a few of the endless list of the daily stressors of students.

But when does, stress turn into burnout symptoms, and how do we identify them? You have to be aware and keep an eye out!

How to identify burnout symptoms?

Burnout is described as a severe stress condition which leads to a feeling of being overwhelmed, severe emotional, mental and physical exhaustion and your inability to meet constant work demands. Some of the signs of burnout included irritability, lack of concentration, fatigue, and a feeling of major dread before going to work.

Burnout has become a common phenomenon for a person of every age group with the expansion of hustle culture, work pressure, competition, poor self-care and lack of social support. But more than often people fail to notice the burnout symptoms!

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What are the burnout symptoms to look out for?

To reinvigorate yourself and function more effectively, it becomes necessary to recognize and deal with the signs of burnout, which you might be pushing under the carpet for a long time.

You feel emotionally exhausted

There have been so many days when I don’t have the will to simply get out of my bed, do things I love and am passionate about, have random and extreme breakdowns frequently and am unable to deal with the minute stressors of life.

When you are emotionally exhausted, you may feel powerless and have no control over what happens in your life.

You may feel you are stuck in a situation and have little energy to keep going or get out of it and

During such times, you may feel you are at your limit.

What personally comforts and helps me to overcome this type of exhaustion is reminding myself that I am not alone in this experience and practising mindfulness. To cope with this challenge, it becomes significant to recognize and minimize or eliminate the additional stressors of your life.

Isolating yourself from others

Isolating myself from others is like an ‘it’s everyday bro’ (Team 10 reference) situation for me. As an introverted person, social interactions or going to parties and get-togethers is already a difficult task for me, however during burnout its intensity exemplifies, and I tend to isolate myself to such an extent that even my friends are not aware if I am dead or alive.

In the early stages of burnout, you might isolate yourself more, find that people get on your nerves more than usual, and find ways to avoid interacting with others.

During this phase, airplane mode on the phone acts as an absolute bliss for me; additionally, deleting my Instagram account, not answering or returning phone calls and texts, and turning down any possible chance of human interaction act as a means of social detox.

It’s important to keep yourself and your mental well-being as a priority and come back at a time which is comfortable for you.

Lack of concentration and escape to fantasies

Have you wished to be at home, on vacation or in a safe space (preferably alone or away from your work) while you are in college or working? Or have trouble maintaining your concentration in lectures or while studying?

Dealing with stress for an extended period can make it hard to concentrate on the task at hand.

Thinking about a vacation, sleeping or anything else apart from your work, seems to be more fun and comforting.

At worst, some people dealing with burnout may desire drugs or alcohol to escape the negative feelings, which can lead to abuse issues. In any case, doing anything else can seem more exciting than working.

Your performance is suffering

Do you find you are letting mistakes slip through the crack more than usual? Is it hard to care if something is perfect or not? Is it hard just to start something, let alone finish it?

Dealing with burnout can also affect the quality of your work. Deteriorating grades, not being able to give your best in whatever you do and not enjoying doing those things you used to are some clear signs of burnout and indication for you to allow your body and mind to relax.

Having stressors in your life like working for long hours or taking care of an ill family member can make it hard to put a lot of effort into work.

When you have little time for self-care, not enough REM sleep or to focus on other things, it can make it harder over time to keep up with your usual performance.

You don’t feel well

On many days, even after having 8–9 hours of sleep, I find it strenuous to wake up for my early lectures.

Feeling tired despite being well rested, having stomach problems or other types of unexplained pain, and getting sick more often than before are a few physical symptoms of burnout.

Dealing with high amounts of stress can weaken your immune system, so it’s easier to get sick. Additionally, stress can affect other aspects of your physical health, causing you to feel pain and tiredness that cannot be explained by anything else. There have been ample instances when I am not doing well and my friends ask me what’s wrong, and I have no response to that because there is no particular reason.

Burnout can increase the feeling of depression and anxiety along with other mental health issues and as it progresses, small stressors can become much bigger problems and affect your ability to perform.

You become more pessimistic

Burnout makes you lose confidence in yourself and your abilities, makes you take on a negative outlook towards any situation, and tends to adopt a glass-half-empty mindset. 

“I cannot do this”, “I will fail in this exam”, and “everyone is excelling in their respective fields but me” are some intrusive thoughts which make it harder to cope with burnout.

One may be so engrossed with negative thinking, that at its later stages, the pessimism may advance beyond how you feel about yourself, causing you to mistrust people that are close to you. You may feel you cannot count on anyone, including yourself.

You are more irritable

Isolating myself during burnout helps me to recover because during this time the existence of people around me annoys me to the core.

Burnout can make you find yourself to be more on edge with others and people constantly getting on your nerves.

Irritability often stems from feelings of worthlessness, unproductiveness, and a growing perception that you are not able to do things as productively or efficiently as you once did.

At first, your personal or professional relationships may be affected, however, in its later stages, it can severely interfere with the people close to you.

You are not alone

All the above-mentioned signs of burnout are experienced by every human; so try to keep in mind that you are not alone in the experience, even though, some days, it might feel the other way.

Meeting deadlines or studying for exams cannot be pushed, but in the process it is also important to make lifestyle choices that help you to manage stress and to provide regular ‘fuel’ to your body in terms of proper sleep, maintaining a balanced diet, exercise and practising mindfulness.

If you find you are struggling beyond this, it is important to check with a mental health professional for advice. Don’t ignore the burnout symptoms, a stitch in time saves nine!

Stress might be inevitable, but burnout is preventable.

Image source: Liza Summer, via Pexels free and edited on CanvaPro

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At Women's Web we try to bring you information on Fitness & Wellness topics of interest to you. This is not, however diagnostic or prescriptive information, so please do consult your doctor or therapist before using any of it.


About the Author

Ishita Varma

Hello! My name is Ishita Varma and I am in the final year of Political Science honors. I am always up for any feminist discussion and do not believe in only talking about gender equality read more...

17 Posts | 4,629 Views

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