Feeling burnt out in your job, your business or creative project? I get it. Whether you’re doing something you love, or you’re scraping yourself off your bed to go to a job that you hate, we all feel signs of burnout every once in a while.
But what about trying to tell if your burnout is an ordinary I-just-need-a-day-off sign of exhaustion, or if it’s a ready-to-burn-this-place-to-the-ground type?
I’ve got you covered! In this post, I’m diving into the top 5 signs of burnout I see most often in my clients and listing out tips to help you deal with them! By the end of this post, you’ll be able to determine what to do next.
SIGN OF BURNOUT #1: LACK OF CREATIVITY
I don’t know about you, but this sign of burnout happens to me more often than the other signs do. Even now that I am doing something I love, I still have times where I have an annoying lack of creativity.
But if you’re in a job that you hate (or any season of life you’re in that you’re not a fan of), then this isn’t something that happens to you just every so often. Lack of creativity is happening to you every day.
It feels like a gigantic brick wall stopping you from problem-solving or coming up with good ideas.
What Lack of Creativity is telling you (and what to do about it!)
Creativity isn’t only important to those who create things. Even when I was in very analytical jobs, I still needed creativity! So, let’s talk about what the lack of it is telling you (and what to do about it).
If you’re feeling a lack of creativity, don’t panic! This sign of burnout can happen to anyone, even if they have their dream job. This lack of creativity is telling you that you need to unhook your brain for a bit.
One of my favorite (and most underrated) things I talk about is white-space. It’s free, easy to find, and doesn’t take a lot of time to do. I will warn you, though; it’s boring.
But that’s the point! White Space happens when you unhook your brain from EVERYTHING and let it wander, a.k.a. get bored. You’ll be surprised at how many good ideas randomly happen when you’re not trying to force them!
SIGN OF BURNOUT #2: ANXIETY
Oooof, anxiety. It’s one of the worst signs of burnout for me!
Tell me if this sounds familiar…
You go into work — or get ready to crack your laptop open if you have your own business –, and panic starts. You start worrying about how much you have to do, or all the things you may have already done… but haven’t done well enough.
Anxiety has been more prevalent as I started my business than it has in my past career. I’ve naturally put more pressure on myself as I create content (like what you’re reading now!) or as I work with my one-on-one clients. But I’ve since found ways to deal with it and not let it stop me dead in my tracks.
If you identify with this, know you don’t have to sit with it. There are a few things I do to coach myself out of the spiral of workplace anxiety, that I know will work for you, too!
What workplace anxiety is telling you (and what to do about it!)
Anxiety isn’t a one size fits all mental health topic. Everyone is different, and there are lots of different ways to deal with anxiety. But as far as workplace anxiety and how it’s a sign of burnout, here’s what it might mean for you.
Anxiety is a form of fear. In my experience, fear happens when the road ahead is unclear. It bubbles up when we start to worry about “what if I make the wrong decision?” or “what if I DID something wrong?“.
I always use the analogy of fog when it comes to anxiety. Let’s say you’re driving and your car breaks down and it’s foggy. Like — so foggy you can’t see even two feet in front of you. So, you have no idea what’s out there, and you’re not sure what direction to take. However, as soon as you start moving, the fog around you clears. Or, at the very least, shifts out of your way!
My number one tips for overcoming almost any anxiety? Take action and create a plan! When you know what’s ahead of you and have a plan, the “fog” starts to clear.
So, if you keep having anxiety over the same issues, do these two steps
- Think about the ABSOLUTE worst that could happen.
- Write out 2-3 actions you’ll do when that happens.
IMPORTANT: Don’t skip step number two! This keeps you from spiraling when you think about the worst outcome.
SIGN OF BURNOUT #3: ANGER/ANNOYANCE
If you saw this sign of burnout and skipped right to it, then I’m guessing your burnout at work is on the severe side.
Even if it is, it’s ok, my friend! You can come back from it!
I remember being like this at the end of my career that I hated. Every day I’d go in looking for a fight. I was so far past just a lack of creativity and even anxiety. As in, I wasn’t scared of anything that could happen there because I felt like I hated every minute of every day. I genuinely didn’t care.
Since then, there are two guiding principles I go by to determine how to get out of the constant state of being angry and annoyed. But first, let’s talk about what this sign of burnout is telling you.
What your Anger/Annoyance is telling you (and what to do about it!)
If you’re feeling annoyed at everything, then it’s a sign from your body that “this isn’t right.” I talk A LOT about living in alignment with your core values, and this is a symptom I have when I live out of alignment for too long.
Think about it like this, if you’re changing who you are to fit in somewhere, eventually the negative effect of that will wear on you. This is especially true if you’re not doing anything that DOES align with your values.
I’ll give you an example…
Remember how I was talking about how I was angry at everything at the end of my career? Well, at the time, that’s pretty much ALL I was doing. I was working, coming home, watching Netflix, and going to bed. I was doing NOTHING that aligned with who I was.
That’s when I decided to start a blog, so I could talk about what I wanted to.
So while I was still working in this career I hated, I wasn’t miserable every second of every day anymore. I had something more significant now. That was what got me through until I could step down from my soul-sucking career and work on my coaching practice.
As you can guess, adding in core-value aligning activities is a way to combat the anger/annoyed sign of burnout, but there’s something else we need to talk about before we get there.
If you’re feeling annoyed all the time, try these two steps:
1) Determine if you need an extended break or if it’s time to quit (or in my case, step down!)
Ask yourself, “Would I quit this on the very best day?”. It’s easy to want to quit on a bad day. But no job, business, or creative project is going to be 100% awesome all of the time. There will be a few bad days, no matter what your real purpose and passion are.
It’s different, though, if you decide that you’d want to quit on the very best day. This says a lot about who you are and if something truly aligns with you.
2) Schedule activities aligned with your core values.
By now, I probably don’t have to keep convincing you to add more to your day that aligns with who you are. The best action you can take is to design your days, not live them by default.
I know on most days, it feels like your schedule is in control of you and not the other way around. I promise you that it isn’t true. Yes, if you’re a matured adult, then you’ll have responsibilities. However, you can still take control of how you spend your time. Even if you squeeze in aligned activities in the small cracks of time you do have, it counts!
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Do you have any of these signs of burnout? How are you going to deal with them? Let me know in the comments below or send me a DM on Instagram (I’m @MonicaChats).
If you’re working on finding your purpose, fulfilling work, and passion, make sure to download my free 5 Step Guide to Figure Out Your Passion and Find Fulfilling Work! This guide will walk you through the steps you need to take not only to figure out what it is you want but also your first step to getting there. Grab your copy below for that and other tips and inspiration from me that I only share with my email community!