Is this what Burnt Out feels like?

Maybe this is the most challenging period of our lifetime and we are still not out of the woods. It has affected our relationships, our mental health, our economy and so many more aspects of our lives.

So, is this the most stressed you 've been?

Some of us are still dragging ourselves out of bed every morning, getting through the day, sleep and do it all over again. Some have had the opportunity to rejuvenate from working from home and they are either still enjoying it or have had enough of being in the same room for days on end.

Some others, unfortunately have been more severely affected by this global pandemic that has been with us for what it seems, a thousand years.

Some have lost loved ones, lost friendships, lovers or even part of themselves.

I am exposed to this every day as my profession is deemed essential and therefore I am still in clinic. I have seen so many of my patients struggling with mental health, fatigue and anxiety. It is easy to diagnose these presentations, but is it easy to treat them?

Symptoms quite often overlap and it is hard to distinguish whether you are suffering from depression, hormonal imbalance or physical exhaustion.

"There are three main areas of symptoms that are considered to be signs of burnout:

  • Exhaustion: People affected feel drained and emotionally exhausted, unable to cope, tired and down, and don't have enough energy. Physical symptoms include things like pain and gastrointestinal (stomach or bowel) problems.

  • Alienation from (work-related) activities: People who have burnout find their jobs increasingly stressful and frustrating. They may start being cynical about their working conditions and their colleagues. At the same time, they may increasingly distance themselves emotionally, and start feeling numb about their work.

  • Reduced performance: Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work, at home or when caring for family members. People with burnout are very negative about their tasks, find it hard to concentrate, are listless and lack creativity". (Cologne, Germany:Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-.)

Since the symptoms of burnout and depression are similar, it is important to be able to distinguish when you need to seek medical attention. In case of burnout the main stimulus is work related, whereas in the case of depression the negative thoughts extend beyond the work environment and it involves other aspects of life.

Some additional symptoms of depression include:

  • low self-esteem,

  • hopelessness and

  • suicidal tendencies

These are not typical signs of burnout and therefore the two presentations aren't always related. But it is important to understand that one can lead to the other and when you feel that some of your thoughts could be harmful you should speak up and talk to a medical professional.

Some physical therapists are trained to identify these signs and therefore communicating your emotions could be an important first step of dealing with negative feelings.

*Further reading:

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