Cruising to Burnout – Stop Ignoring 7 Signs and Embrace 7 Actions

As a high achiever, you’re likely no stranger to stress. You thrive on pressure and push yourself to achieve your goals, but there’s a fine line between healthy motivation and chronic stress. When stress becomes chronic, it can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health, leading to burnout, anxiety, depression, and other serious conditions. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to halt and navigate a U-turn from that voyage, your cruise.

Here are 7 things to look out for to signal a halt and a U-turn.

Actions to Prevent Burnout

Any single one of these in itself is enough for you to initiate an immediate halt.

  1. Fatigue and exhaustion that doesn’t improve with rest. E.g., waking up from a 7/8-hr sleep frequently with low energy to face your day, you wish you could crawl right back under the sheets.
  2. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions. How long have you put that decision off for? This is unlike you.
  3. Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Do you now binge eat or perhaps you have reduced interest in food? Are you sleeping fewer hours, more hours or lay wide awake for ‘no reason’?
  4. Feeling irritable, anxious, or depressed. Feeling distracted?
  5. Increased use of drugs or alcohol to cope.
  6. Physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, or stomach problems.
  7. Decreased job performance or motivation. Not forgetful but missing some deadlines, putting things off, dwindling interest, procrastinating or you just do not see the point of it any longer.

Here are 7 Immediate Actions to Take

  1. Practice mindfulness: Relax your mind by listening to meditation or taking deep breathing exercises. Yes, that simple!
Actions to Prevent Burnout
  1. Exercise regularly: Try walking any time of the day for about 30 minutes or more daily or 4 times a week to boost your mood and reduce stress. No biggy, right?
  2. Set boundaries: Learn to say no to commitments that don’t align with your priorities. Do you know what your priorities are? Practice saying ‘No’ and don’t take it back.
  3. Delegate tasks and responsibilities to others when possible. Find and use support. They would be glad you did.
  4. Seek support: from friends, family, or a professional. They have the support ready and are waiting for you, can’t you see?
  5. Rest and recharge: Take breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. Use apps such as “Stretchy” to remind you of set break times. Funny, high achievers need reminders.
  6. Address the triggers: identify the sources of your stress and take steps to address them, such as delegating tasks, breaking large projects into smaller steps, or seeking help from colleagues or mentors. Remember simplify, simplify, simplify! If it’s getting too hard for you even as a high achiever, then you know to step back and look for the very simple path.
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