Burnout and overwhelm are not precisely the same, though they are very closely linked. With burnout, you tend to enter a state of mental and physical exhaustion. It is often the result of a lot of stress, being overworked, or just putting too much on your shoulders without taking a break. Overwhelm usually follows closely behind or occurs shortly before you experience burnout, where you feel like you have far too much on your plate and aren’t sure how to keep up.
Both burnout and overwhelm cause exhaustion, fatigue, and stress that make it hard to cope emotionally. Luckily, some solutions can help you stable your emotions and find more balance in your life.
Look for Signs of Burnout and Overwhelm
Both burnout and overwhelm can sneak up on you and cause many confusing symptoms. First, it helps to know what these signs are so you know where to start on your emotional healing journey.
Some of the more common symptoms of burnout include being exhausted and severely fatigued, having headaches and muscle pain, and a lack of focus and concentration. In addition to these signs, you might notice the following:
- Poor quality in your work
- Mood changes like irritability and anger
- Significant change in your appetite
- Significant change in your sleeping habits
- A feeling of failure
- Lack of motivation
- Issues with friends and family
- Increased illnesses and lowered immunity
- Isolation from others
Let Yourself Feel How You Feel
When it comes to your emotional wellbeing, no matter what you are dealing with, you should always allow yourself to feel how you feel without judgment. This includes when those feelings are related to burnout.
When you try to hide or cover up your real feelings, even if what you are feeling is extremely tired and worn out, it isn’t going to solve anything. Pretending you aren’t dealing with something on an emotional level, doesn’t make it go away. It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet hole. You might not see it, but it’s still there, and it’s not getting better.
Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel when you have burnout and any other time in your life. The good days, the bad days, the challenging days, the exhausting days. They all deserve for you to validate your feelings. The more you can do this, the easier it becomes to process your emotions and prevent burnout and overwhelm in the future.
Incorporate Relaxing Activities Into Your Day
You might not be able to stop working or take a vacation when you have burnout, but you can certainly fit in some relaxing activities throughout your day. People with burnout often get that way by overworking themselves and not taking enough time off. Sure, you might not be able to take days or weeks off for vacation, but you can still find a way to rest, and you should.
Nobody should be doing nothing but working during their waking hours. The body and the mind are not set up for this. You are not a machine, and you shouldn’t treat your body like it is one. Instead, find relaxing things to do that don’t take up too much time or mental space.
This might be reading a fun book, watching a movie with your family, going for a hike with friends, or just laying down on the couch in the afternoon to rest your eyes for a few minutes.
Control What You Can Control
Instead of stressing about the situations in your life you can’t control, instead, try to focus on what you can control. What is your life are you able to handle right now? What is entirely in your control?
If you are self-employed and struggling with the stress of a slow business month, that’s not something you have complete control over. You can market your business, but it is up to the customers or clients. But what you can control is improving your product, taking a break, and hiring someone who has a specialty that would enhance your business.
No matter what you are dealing with, look at what is within your control, and that can take some of the pressure off your shoulders and help with you overwhelm.
Get Support From Others
Finally, make sure you get adequate support from the people around you. When you get to complete burnout or emotional exhaustion, you might need some help from others.
This could be someone to help watch your kids when you have work to do, or you need a break or ask your boss for some time off. If you are self-employed, you might need to hire someone to help you pick up the slack. Or it might just be as simple as a friend coming over to talk and hang out for a couple of hours. Doing this alone is going to make it a lot harder.