Burnout and its Impact on Mind and Body

Burnout and its Impact on Mind and Body
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 15-03-2023

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Burnout occurs when a person is subjected to excessive amounts of persistent stress. Burnout is a state of physical and mental exhaustion that occurs when a person feels tired, stressed, and has trouble doing even daily tasks.

In a state of burnout, one might lose motivation and interest in routine activities. A burned-out individual is less productive, fatigued, and starts to become hopeless to verge that it seems they have nothing left to offer or contribute or make a difference.

There are several side effects of burnout that affect professional, personal, and social life. More importantly, burnouts have major impacts on the mind and body. Your body might become weak and make you exposed to illnesses easily. Therefore, it is highly recommended to work on your burnout condition before it worsens.

Below are the symptoms of burnout or indications that you might be on the verge of it.

Mental and emotional symptoms of burnout:

  • Lack of motivation

  • Loss of self-confidence

  • Feelings of failure

  • Hopelessness

  • Negative thoughts

  • Feeling stuck

  • Frustrated

  • Finding no interest or satisfaction

Functional and behavioural symptoms of burnout:

  • Projection of anger or disappointment

  • Indulging in unhealthy ways of coping

  • Staying alone

  • Procrastinating

  • Feeling numb

  • Time management issues

  • Skipping responsibilities

Physical symptoms of burnout:

  • Loss or increase in appetite

  • Fatigue

  • Falling ill frequently

  • Change in the sleep cycle

  • Troubled digestion

  • Cardiovascular issues

Psychological researchers, neuropsychologists, and doctors have been extensively studying the human body when it is burned out. There are several changes that happen in our bodies during burnout. The communication in the parts of our brain that controls the stress responses begins to disfunction, we begin to feel anxious, frustrated, and annoyed. If ignored, they become long-term issues.

Here we briefly describe what happens to our mind and body when we are burned out:

Effects on bodily functioning:

Lethargy: When burned out, our bodies have a loss of movement and energy. Going to the kitchen or washroom feels like a task.

Disrupted sleep cycles: Even though you feel the loss of energy, and you simply want some rest, it is ironic that it might be challenging to fall asleep. The functioning of our body is high and therefore the sleep quality is compromised.

Problematic digestion: Stress causes us to be nauseous and disables proper bowel movements.

Low immunity: Stress messes with our immune system, and therefore makes us more vulnerable to falling sick.

Tightened muscles: This is common when we are stressed even a little. During burnouts, you may feel more tensed around your shoulders and neck.

Head and heart: You may experience frequent headaches and chest pains.The stress in your body is going to strain your head and heart, and this disrupts their normal functioning.

Also Read: What is Aichmophobia?

Effects on the mind:

Anxiety: Feeling constantly worried, continued negative thoughts, and experiencing shortness of breath.

Loss of motivation: Burnouts cause a loss in motivation. Loss of interest and motivation for doing the most routine tasks .

Loss of productivity: One of the biggest effects of burnout is loss of productivity. With increased procrastination, you may feel that your productivity has reduced significantly.

Hopelessness and helplessness: A serious effect of burnout is the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. If not taken care of, this can lead to more serious mental health issues like depression or anxiety disorders.

More often than not, burnouts are difficult to handle alone. Do not suffer in silence! Online therapists can help you in overcoming your issues. Burnouts may feel like the end; however, you can overcome this state with a little help. If the above-mentioned signs and symptoms match yours, we recommend you seek professional help or online counselling.

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