Chronic Overwhelm will Burn You Out

Depressed burned out woman.

This year we’re focusing on how to help our clients move from Overwhelmed to Outstanding. Today we want to talk with you about a very serious topic: how chronic overwhelm will cause you to burn out.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a very real set of physical symptoms, cognitive challenges, and emotional reactions that can be quite debilitating—in some cases even lead to depression and suicide. And the tricky part about it is that it can come and go, making it hard to believe you need to pay attention to it, especially when you’re feeling “better” about things.

Trickier yet is that it often manifests as the experience of personal failure versus a response to chronic stressors and depletion. This makes it hard for those of us who pride ourselves on being strong, determined, and passionate to acknowledge that we’re starting to burn out.

Symptoms of Burnout

Generally, burnout has three main components:

1. Lack of Energy

People feel exhausted and drained—exhausted to the point where they find they struggle doing the normal activities of life.

2. Cynicism/Objectifying Self and Others

People find that they start treating themselves and others more as objects or tasks on a to-do list rather than people and connections.

3. Sense of Failure

People start to believe that they’re ineffective, haven’t and can’t accomplish what matters to them, and that things will never get better.

Being Burned Out

Any one of these things can be challenging, but the three together can leave people feeling trapped in circumstances that they can believe are insurmountable.

If left unmanaged, burnout can lead to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, addiction, and in the most extreme cases, suicide.

When you’re stressed, exhausted, and numb, it makes sense that you may feel like a failure… not because you are, but because your body, mind, and spirit have hit a wall with the stressors in your life.

Preventing burnout, catching it early, or treating it when it’s full blown is really important.

Please, please, please, if you are worried about yourself as you read this, reach out to someone for support, call a therapist, or talk to a coach. If you feel suicidal, get to an emergency room, call a suicide hotline, or ask someone to stay with you until you can get support.

It’s important that you don’t ignore your pain.

Next week we’re going to focus on Beating Burnout so you can intervene in ways that bring you back to life.

Hugs to you,
Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting

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  • Linda Carpenter, Stephanie Smith

    Carpenter Smith Consulting

    Linda Carpenter and Stephanie Smith started Carpenter Smith Consulting in Portland to support individuals and teams who dream about having the power, impact and influence to create success and meaning in ... Read full profile
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