3 unavoidable signs that you're suffering from stress-induced burnout

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Jasmine Andersson

Let’s be direct: life is exhausting and we don’t blame you for feeling tired. 

When our phones are constantly lit, replying to work emails at 10pm is the status quo and we’re still trying to have a semblance of a social life in the bits in between, it’s no wonder that we’re too sleep-deprived to function.

But, while tackling the occasional sleepless night or two is just about doable, there’s a definite difference between tackling tiredness and dealing with a full stress burnout.

So how can we work out when our yawns are indicative of something more serious?

There are three key signs of a burnout

The team at the Thinkergirls spoke to Doctor Sam Hay from Australia and asked him to reveal the red flags to watch out for. This way, we can step in and help ourselves and others better manage stress before that moment occurs.

1. Poor sleep

“Finding it hard to get to sleep, waking up a lot overnight, or waking up early and just ruminating over things – usually stuff that gets you down is a sure-fire sign of exhaustion,” says Dr Hay.

How to combat it:

According to the NHS, making sure you wind down for bed is essential for getting that much-needed shut eye.

Whether it’s a warm bath to regulate your body temperature, writing “to-do” lists for the day ahead or reading a book and avoiding the bright lights of your phone and TV, these acts can allow us to enter a deep sleep without worrying about the priorities of the next day.

2. Reduced workplace motivation and concentration

People just sit at the desk staring at the screen and it takes them forever to make even the most simple of decisionswhen they’re tired, says Dr Hay.

How to combat it:

According to the experts, tackling short and sweet tasks first can activate our brains to get them in the right mode for the rest of the working day.

A work-out at lunch can also help get the blood flowing, and a tactical green tea or two (before 4pm) can provide a welcome caffeine burst without affecting another night’s sleep.

Short temper is the key sign of a burnout
Short temper is the key sign of a burnout

3. Short temper

“Just losing it at the simple things is a clear indicator of burnout,” says Dr Hay.

How to combat it:

Breathing deeply, counting to ten and just taking a step outside are the quick-fire ways to avoid a short exchange when you’re in a state of burnout.

Indeed, simply telling people you’re tired and you’re not in the best mood can ease your load on the most stressful days, advises the NHS

So if these heady, sleepless times are getting you down, be good to yourself and have a rest tonight.

It’s always best to remember one key mantra when the heat of the day is dying down: “our bodies are our gardens to which our wills are gardeners”. 

Photos: Rex Features, Pixels and iStock


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Jasmine Andersson

When she isn't talking about her emotional attachment to meal deals or serenading unfortunate individuals with David Bowie power solos in karaoke booths, Jasmine writes about gender, politics and culture as a freelance journalist. She wastes her days tweeting @the__chez  

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