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Burnout: Signs, Symptoms,
and Treatment

You’re an ambitious person, and you work really hard — maybe too hard. More and more often, you’re finding yourself staying late at the office to take on extra tasks. It’s becoming hard to find time to spend with loved ones or do the things you love to do outside of work. Maybe you’re even neglecting your basic physical needs — you’re not sleeping nearly enough, and you’re skipping meals.

The worst part is, you don’t even feel recognised for all of the effort you’re putting in. Your to-do list is never complete. You’re not even sure anymore if anything you do is making a difference at all. You’re exhausted, and you’ve started daydreaming about running away from it all.

Sound familiar? If so, you might be experiencing burnout. And burnout is more common than ever, with 4 in 5 Australians experiencing burnout in 2020.

If you’re one of the many people feeling burnt out, there’s good news: our experienced psychologists at Reimagine Psychology Melbourne can help you get through it.

What is Burnout?

Even if you’ve never heard the term “burnout” before, you’ve probably felt it to some degree in your life. Burnout is what happens when the stress of your job becomes too overwhelming to manage. You feel mentally, emotionally, and even physically exhausted.

Burnt out person | designed by Reimagine Psychology Melbourne

Burnout is most often associated with the workplace, but your job isn’t the only area where you can feel burnt out. Any life responsibility you have that causes a high amount of stress can lead to burnout. Most people end up feeling burnt out at work, but research has shown that parents and carers can face burnout, too. Emotional burnout might happen when something in your personal life, like a relationship, is mentally and emotionally exhausting.

Usually, burnout comes when you’ve been pushing yourself too hard over a long period of time. You are ambitious, which is a great quality — and that ambition drives you to work hard. But working too hard, and neglecting your other needs, might lead you to become too stressed and eventually burn out.

What Are the Signs of Burnout?

Burnout can look differently for everyone, but there are some common signs of burnout to look out for. These include:

  • Cynicism: You feel  jaded or critical of your job (or other responsibility).

  • Hopelessness: You feel like no matter what you do, nothing will get better, and nothing you do makes a difference.

  • Decreased satisfaction: You used to feel like what you did mattered, and you felt a sense of satisfaction at succeeding. Now, you don’t get any satisfaction at all from your work.

  • Dread: You wake up in the morning and are filled with dread and anxiety about your job or other responsibility.

  • Lack of focus: You have a hard time concentrating on the task-at-hand.

  • Apathy: You just don’t care anymore. This is especially common in the helping profession; you feel like you’re losing the compassion you used to have for your clients.

  • Increased substance use: You’re finding yourself using more drugs and alcohol than usual to try to cope with or escape from stress.

  • Fantasizing about escape: You frequently daydream about running away from it all and starting over somewhere else.

  • Low energy: You’re constantly exhausted or fatigued, and it may be hard to get out of bed in the morning.

  • Physical symptoms: Some people experience physical symptoms, like frequent headaches, stomach aches, and sleep issues.

Do you recognize any of these burnout symptoms in yourself? If so, it might be time to schedule an appointment with a psychologist. If left untreated, burnout can lead to more serious mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder. It can even increase your risk for physical illnesses, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

How to Recover from Burnout (and How a Psychologist Can Help)

Burnout is very common, totally normal, and - the good news is - treatable. If you recognise the signs of burnout in yourself, that doesn’t mean that you need to just continue forward on this road forever.

That’s why it’s so important to be able to recognise the initial signs of burnout — if you catch it early on, then you can get help from a psychologist to intervene and make sure that it doesn’t get any worse. With a psychologist’s help, you can learn how to deal with burnout in healthy ways.

At Reimagine Psychology Melbourne, our experienced and down-to-earth psychologists can help you recognise when you’re on the road to burnout and make effective changes in your life.

 

The first step when working with burnout is to help you recognise and accept that’s what you’re feeling. There is so much shame and guilt that can come along with burnout, especially for career-oriented and ambitious people. We’re here to help you work through those feelings and help you realize that you have the right to put yourself first.

We’ll give you the space to work through the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that have led you here.

After that, we’ll figure out what practical changes can be made. Do you need to take some time off? Talk to your boss? Figure out how to take better care of your body and mind? Making these decisions and changes will be a collaborative process — we’ll do it together.

 

 

Treatment approaches for Burnout

We’re also trained in specific treatment methods to help you recover from burnout:

 

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) teaches you how to recognise and replace unrealistic and unhelpful thoughts. Together with your psychologist, you can change: “I can’t cope with this.” to “I need to rest, and that’s okay. Once I’ve taken care of myself, I know I’ll be able to cope with this.”

 

Mindfulness-based approaches for burnout can help you learn how to manage your stress in healthy ways. By using breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques, you can sit with these uncomfortable feelings without judging yourself. Mindfulness approaches have been supported by science to counteract the effects of stress and help you feel more relaxed.

 

These are just some of the ways that our psychologists can help you get through burnout. We never use a one-size-fits-all approach, and you’ll always play an active part in the treatment planning process.

Schedule an Appointment

If you’re looking for professional treatment for burnout in Melbourne or online, Reimagine Psychology Melbourne has your back. When you’re burnt out and ready to get help in dealing with it, give us a call. Our team is ready to support you, and we believe you can get through this.

 

For more information or to book an appointment with one of our experienced Psychologists, call the team at Reimagine Psychology Melbourne on (03) 8330 5588 or email us on hello@reimaginepsychology.melbourne.

Austin Chu | Designed by Reimagine Psychology Melbourne