Is it Just Stress, or is it Burn Out?

Is it Just Stress, or is it Burn Out?

The question is, is there a difference?  Being under stress can cause temporary feelings of fatigue, restlessness, anxiousness and moodiness.  Usually, when the stressor is dealt with or removed, these feelings subside.  But if these feelings linger for days and maybe even weeks, you may be suffering from burn out.

It’s important to get a handle on it as soon as you notice it.  Stress and burn out that goes unchecked can have an impact on your health and overall well-being. What are some of the signs and symptoms?

  • Feeling tired and drained a lot of the time
  • Poor appetite, or the opposite..the desire to overeat to keep up your energy
  • Having a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Feeling undervalued or unmotivated at work
  • Headaches, back pain, or neck pain
  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Negative outlook on job and life in general
  • Lack of feelings of accomplishment

What can you do about it?

  • Start your day off doing something that inspires you.  You might meditate first thing in the morning.  Some people find doing so to soothing music refreshes them.  Or get up and go for a walk, or a run, or work out to an exercise CD to get oxygen to your brain and know you’ve done something really good for yourself to start your day.
  • You might take up writing in a journal or reading inspirational literature, or both.  You can do this first thing in the morning, or last thing at night before you go to bed.  Both help to put your mind at ease and in a more positive place.  Writing gratitudes before you go to bed can be so supportive.
  • Be more conscientious about what you eat.  What we put in our bodies can influence how we feel for the whole day.  You might want to lower or eliminate the amount of sugar you take in.  Same thing for simple carbohydrates like white flour and white rice.  Go for whole grains, veggies and fruits.  Drink plenty of water throughout the day.  It’s always good to stay well hydrated.
  • Start a creative project.  Something that you haven’t done in a long time.  Maybe an art project, a knitting project, or a wood working project.  Something you can feel great about when you’re done.  Exercising our creative juices is always good for those happy hormones.
  • Make sure you get plenty of rest.  Eight hours of sleep a night is very important for everyone.  Do your best to not stay up til the wee hours watching TV or spending time on the internet.  It may seem like a good idea at the time, but they can rob you of precious needed sleep time.  And take naps if you’re called to.  Your body is telling you something.  Listen.
  • Mostly, tune into your body and listen to its needs. Indulge in self-nurturing activities like baths or massages.  Whatever will reduce the stress for you.

All of these things are important to do for yourself, and, if it seems appropriate, get the support of a professional who can help you get to the bottom of your burn-out, and help you on your way to finding better answers on your life’s journey.

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