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Lifestyle and Stress: Warning Signs of Life Burnout

by admin on November 17, 2011

Lifestyle choices can greatly contribute to burnout. Chronic stress can take a toll with responsibilities in your home, work and personal lives. The nervous system lives on overdrive in order to get things done. Denial kicks in, and is only helpful for a short period of time when adjusting to stressful situations. When denial sticks around for a long period of time, burnout warning symptoms get ignored. The mind can easily play tricks with thoughts like “if I stop I won’t be able to start up again to finish this project.”  One of the first things I learned in occupational therapy school was the balance between work and play. I watched so many people struggle with finding balance before getting burned out. Here are warning signs for life burnout:

Not taking time off from work.  I had a client who worked seven days a week. She rarely took time off; in fact, she actually cashed in her vacation time at the end of the year.  Time away from the work place is important remember what it’s like to relax, sit and do nothing.  Vacation from work and other stressors can help give perspective to a chaotic lifestyle. Plan days off and remember what it’s like to have peace of mind.

No time for play. I used to struggle when someone asked me what I liked to do in my spare time.  I just didn’t know what to say.  It clearly was a sign of lifestyle burnout. Enjoying pastimes after work can recharge your battery and allow you to keep going during stressful times.

Not enough sleep.  Sleep is needed for the body to repair itself and to restore energy. When lack of sleep is a problem, you probably won’t be as tough in dealing with stress. You also won’t be able to focus and get as much done as usual. There are lots of tips to getting a good night’s sleep. Seek medical help if lack of sleep is a chronic problem.

Not enough support.
When folks experience chronic stress and burnout, they sometimes want to cut themselves off from other people. Although it’s important to have alone time, having supportive people to turn to helps prevent burnout. If you find yourself isolating from others, reach out and connect with someone by phone or in person. 

Not enough time in your schedule. A real sign of probable burnout can be a completely full schedule. If you open a calendar full of activities make sure there is space for doing your own self care.

Lifestyle stress can come from one or all of these indicators. Extreme imbalances in any of the above areas are red flags for lifestyle burnout .A perfectly balanced life only happens for a moment at a time. Keep lifestyle stress on your radar to ward off burnout. over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives.Lisa specializes stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Solvita November 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Good points in regards to the signs of burnout. People have to be mindful of the ideal balance between work and play. Thanks for sharing! :)


Dr. Daisy Sutherland November 30, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Great points on the signs of burnout…the most important one is not enough sleep…we all now how cranky and miserable we can get with lack of sleep:)


Lorii Abela December 1, 2011 at 1:02 am

Wonderful article with great points. Everybody should really have the ability to balance their lifestyle, having the ability to experience work and play and also pampering their self with a good self. Thanks for sharing this..


Deborah Turton December 1, 2011 at 1:57 am

Oh dear Lisa, I have been guilty of every one of your points above, especially during my early 40′s, my kids grown and not needing me around so much I threw myself into my work – which is my passion, BUT burnout is just not worth it, you loose too much! I am now more aware and take much better care of myself. Thanks Lisa.


Carol Leek April 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Great article! Made me think.


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