As we are halfway through Masturbation May, it is important for us to also take a look at the Mental Health Awareness side of the month. At iroha, we believe in the connection between your mental health and your sexual health, where one can easily influence the other. In this blog, we would like to take some time and focus on the topic of burnout. Understanding what burnout is, what are common signs, possible ways to prevent burnout, and last but definitely not least, how to recover if you are currently struggling with burnout.
So, let’s take some time and evaluate our mental health and gain a better understanding of burnout.
So, what is burnout? Burnout is when one is under constant stress that leads to severe physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Unlike regular exhaustion, burnout can lead to serious health issues (headaches, fatigue, heartburns, and gastrointestinal symptoms) and can make it hard for the individual to cope with stress, and perform daily activities, such as getting out of bed, and leave them feeling hopeless, and with a negative view on life.
Burnout can happen to anyone, it could be caused by work, caretaking, parenting, or even from relationships, where the individual is under prolonged stress, and it is a gradual process. Unfortunately, burnout won’t go away on its own, it often requires some sort of recognition and treatment. If burnout is left untreated for a long period, it might lead to other serious physical and mental issues, as our mental health is intertwined with other aspects of our overall wellness.
Recognizing Burnout: Signs You Shouldn't Ignore
Recognizing the signs of burnout can be very helpful, here are some signs that can help you identify burnout. Due to the similarities between burnout and just regular stress and depression, it can be rather difficult to identify. In fact, many would assume it is just regular stress or be unable to recognize it until it is a bit too late.
Common signs of burnout to look out for:
- Changes in sleep and eating patterns - Sleeping and eating patterns are a very big part of our everyday lives, so when there are changes regarding these two aspects of your life, it is a sign to pay attention to what could be causing these changes. On top of that, insufficient sleep and nutrition can cause further damage to our health.
- Feeling depressed, hopeless, trapped, empty, and defeated - As mentioned above, many often confuse burnout with depression as there are many similarities in terms of the emotional effects. However, unlike depression, the sense of dread and sadness that accompanies burnout often disappears when you are away from the stressor (aka your job, a friend or family member, etc.).
- Detachment and isolation - In many cases, when one is burnt out, socializing can feel overwhelming and draining, leading to the person distancing themselves from others. However, isolation often actually makes the situation worse.
- Irritability - One can become easily frustrated with others and their work. Small things can easily irritate a person.
- Exhaustion - One of the biggest signs of burnout is exhaustion and fatigue. The person might feel drained, overwhelmed, and feel depleted physically and emotionally.
- Easily ill - Many with burnout claim it causes headaches and stomachaches. Furthermore, one’s immune system can decrease and make one more susceptible to colds, flu, and other health issues including anxiety and depression when under stress.
- Unproductive and no motivation - Due to the negative views that are presented when one is burnt out, they might find it harder to concentrate on the task at hand or harder to complete their tasks. The lack of motivation can further make it hard to perform certain tasks related to the trigger, leading to a lack of satisfaction and self-doubt.
Now that we know how to identify burnout, it is also good to know some possible causes, for example, financial problems, the feeling of little to no control over a situation, lack of recognition/reward for your accomplishments, constantly being in a high-pressure environment, lack of supportive relationships, working too much with little interaction or help from others. The best way to prevent or decrease the chance of burnout is to be knowledgeable about burnout. Being able to identify signs at an early stage can help prevent and treat burnout.
How to Treat Burnout?
Similar to many other mental health issues, reaching out to professionals is the recommended option. Reaching out and asking for help can be difficult, especially when you are burnt out. However, the action of consulting someone else can make a difference, it also helps combat the sense of lack of control over your life, when you actively reach out, you are exhibiting your control to get your life back into balance. Once you identify the signs and causes, the next step is to recalibrate your life, and in the process, it is also important to keep communication open with your support system and the medical professional.
Since burnout stems from stress, being able to manage stress before it becomes an issue can decrease the chance of burnout. If you are experiencing burnout, learning a healthy way to reduce stress, such as effective self-care techniques, can help alleviate the situation and prevent further damage caused by burnout. Self-care alone is not always the solution, but it should be used as part of the process of healing. Performing self-care activities such as exercising, healthy eating habits, meditating, self-pleasure and massage, and practicing self-compassion are all great options to help reduce stress. Some other lifestyle changes that may help alleviate burnout include sleeping more, setting boundaries, establishing a routine, and possibly looking into a new hobby.
As we observe Mental Health Awareness Month, let us remember that mental health matters and it is important to assess your well-being on a regular basis. The ability to spot signs of burnout and then take action can make all the difference. Lastly, we recommend incorporating self-care and self-pleasure into your life as it can reduce the risk of burnout, and they also have many other benefits to one’s overall well-being.
Find out more about how self-pleasure is beneficial to you in this blog.