Beyond Burnout: Building Resilience and Mental Strength in High-Pressure Professions

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Nowadays, where high-pressure professions are common, burnout has become a significant challenge. The American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey in the U.S. found that 79% of employees had experienced work-related stress in the month before the survey. 

Considering these alarming numbers, it’s clear that dealing with burnout is very important and urgent. In this instance, if you’re also dealing with this situation, you must conquer it timely. Wondering how you can do this? Fret not! We are here to help you!

This article aims to be your comprehensive guide for recognizing and tackling burnout. In this guide, you’ll learn about its signs and symptoms and practical strategies to handle it.

So, without further ado, let’s delve right in!

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a condition of intense fatigue resulting from drawn-out stress. It includes the condition of emotional, physical, and mental tiredness. Generally, it appears when you feel overcome, unable to meet ongoing needs, and emotionally drained. 

This constant stress can wear away the excitement and energy that you first had for your tasks or job. Also, burnout can make you less productive and very tired. You might start to feel like you can’t win, feel very sad, doubt things, and get upset easily. Eventually, you might feel totally worn out, as if you can’t give any more.

Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

Burnout is a complex condition displayed in multiple dimensions. Recognizing its signs is essential for timely treatment and prevention. Here, we explore the varied symptoms across physical and emotional spectrums.

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

  • Feeling tired and drained:  Burnout can make you feel exhausted all the time. It’s a deep tiredness that doesn’t go away even after resting or sleeping all day. This happens because you’re always under pressure and dealing with much stress for a long time. 

This profound exhaustion can affect your work, focus, and overall well-being. So, it’s important to notice this sign because it shows your body and mind need a break.

  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain: When experiencing burnout, you may notice increased physical complaints such as headaches or muscle pains. These aren’t just random occurrences; they’re typically tied to the high levels of stress hormones in your body. 

For instance, you might get tension headaches because you’re stressed. Similarly, muscle pain can result from prolonged tension and stress, especially in the neck and shoulders.

  • Change in appetite or sleep habits: Burnout can disrupt your body’s regular patterns, leading to changes in sleep and appetite habits. You might find yourself eating more or less than usual. Similarly, you might find it tough to sleep properly. These changes in eating and sleeping can significantly affect your physical and emotional health.

Emotional Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

  • Sense of failure and self-doubt: This factor of burnout reflects a profound sense of incapability in one’s abilities. You may often feel like nothing you do is good enough or that past achievements were just chances. This constant self-doubt can make you feel less confident and make small tasks feel really hard. 
  • Feeling helpless and trapped: This can make you feel stuck, like there’s no way out of your current situation. You might try hard but feel like everything stays the same. This feeling of being unable to escape can make you want to stop trying, as it seems like nothing you do makes a difference. 
  • Detachment, Feeling Alone in the World: A key emotional symptom of burnout is feeling disconnected from others. You might draw yourself from social interactions, feeling like no one understands or appreciates you. 

This detachment can lead to isolation, which means you prefer being alone rather than being with others. In a professional context, this 

might show a lack of engagement with your colleagues and a reduction in teamwork or collaborative efforts.

  • Loss of motivation: When you’re burned out, you might lose the energy and desire to do things you used to enjoy. Even tasks that once excited you can seem hard and uninteresting. 

Also, what is used to motivate and inspire you doesn’t have the same effect. It can lead to less productivity and a sense of just doing things without enthusiasm.

Apart from the above-mentioned signs, here are some behavioral symptoms of burnout you need to know: 

  • Towing back from your duties
  • Choosing to be alone more often
  • Postponing tasks or taking more time to complete them
  • Relying on food, substances, or alcohol as a way of dealing with stress.

Dealing with Burnout

Coping with burnout and stress is a varied process that requires both short-term and long-term strategies. Here are some tips that can help you bounce back and build resilience: 

Talk to a mental health professional

Reaching out to a mental health professional can be a game-changer, especially if you’re in a high-pressure environment. They offer personalized guidance and coping strategies tailored to your unique needs and situation. Wondering how you can choose the best for you? 

Suppose you’re in a city like New York; you can easily find some of the best therapists in New York city by searching online. You can read online reviews and ratings from others to get valuable insights about them. 

Moreover, they can help you understand the root causes of your burnout. Plus, it gives you effective methods to manage stress, improve work-life balance, and restore mental and emotional well-being. 

Reframe the Way You Look at Work

  • Find value in your work: Realizing the importance of your job role can reignite your passion and purpose. Think about how your job helps others. Ask yourself what good things come from your work. Essentially, this can make your job feel more rewarding and give you a fresh view of why it matters.
  • Focus on enjoyable aspects: Every job consists of both positive and challenging elements. By concentrating on the parts of your work that you find enjoyable or fulfilling, you can significantly alter your outlook toward your job. 
  • Change your attitude towards your job: Adopting a positive mindset can transform your work experience. Instead of seeing tasks as burdens, view them as opportunities for growth and learning. This way, you can make your daily work more engaging and meaningful.

Reevaluate Your Priorities

  • Set boundaries:  One of the things that helps deal with burnout is Mastering the Art of Prioritizing. It’s important to differentiate between tasks that are urgent and those that can be delayed. Learning to say ‘no’ to less urgent tasks empowers you with greater control over your schedule. 

This approach significantly reduces the sense of being overwhelmed by responsibilities. Plus, it fosters a more manageable and less stressful work environment.

  • Take a break: Regular breaks are crucial in maintaining mental health and preventing burnout. These pauses, whether they are short breaks during the day or longer vacations, are vital for refreshing your mind. They offer a chance to step back, relax, and gain new perspectives. 
  • Rethink goals and priorities: Take time to carefully consider what matters most to you professionally and personally. This process involves a deep assessment of your actual values and aspirations. 

Once you clearly understand what is genuinely important to you. Then, align your daily tasks and long-term plans with these priorities. Doing so will help you cultivate a more balanced and satisfying life. 

Make Exercise a Priority

Physical activity for at least 30 minutes daily can significantly improve mental health. Regular exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators. This helps reduce stress levels and improve mood, contributing significantly to overall mental health. You can try the following activities: 

  • Yoga: Yoga is an exceptional choice for holistic well-being. It combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to enhance both physical and mental health. It helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and muscle tension while improving flexibility, strength, and body awareness. 

Furthermore, you can try various types of yoga. It ranges from gentle forms like Hatha, ideal for beginners, to more intense styles like Vinyasa or Ashtanga. 

  • Aerobic Exercises: Aerobic exercises, such as walking, running, cycling, or swimming, are excellent for cardiovascular health and overall fitness. These activities increase your heart rate and breathing, helping to strengthen your heart and lungs. 

It also boosts endorphin levels, improving mood and energy levels. Moreover, these can be easily incorporated into daily routines. You can take brisk walks during lunch breaks or cycling to work.

Support Your Mood and Energy Levels with a Healthy Diet

  • Reduce mood-impacting foods: Foods high in caffeine, trans fats, and artificial additives can negatively affect mood and energy levels. Moderating your intake of these items can lead to more stable energy and emotional states.
  • Increase Omega-3 intake: Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that play an important role in brain health. Mixing foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet can significantly impact your mood and cognitive function. They are found in high concentrations in certain fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. 

Additionally, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are excellent options for plant-based sources. Regular consumption of these foods can contribute to improved mental well-being. 

  • Avoid nicotine and alcohol: It’s a common misconception that nicotine and alcohol can effectively relieve stress. In reality, while they might offer temporary relief, they can worsen stress and anxiety over time. Avoiding these substances is key to maintaining a balanced mood and overall health.

Conclusion

Burnout is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that something important in your life is not working. Taking control of the situation and taking steps to improve it will help you feel more empowered and in control. 

Building resilience and mental strength is a journey, not a one-time fix. You can cope with this confidence by understanding what burnout is, recognizing the signs, and implementing practical strategies. After all, prioritizing your mental and emotional health is not just beneficial; it’s essential.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

Join our list for exclusive tips, content and a welcome gift – our ebook on how to engage your team and boost profits.