Stress, exhaustion, and burnout can hinder your ability to keep your recovery a priority. It is important to understand exhaustion because it can affect every aspect of your life. Without effectively dealing with exhaustion, you are putting your recovery at risk. To understand more about exhaustion, you may want to understand more about the characteristics of exhaustion, get insights on signs and symptoms of exhaustion and learn ways to effectively manage exhaustion to maintain your recovery.
Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. The key factors here are that the stress is excessive and prolonged. If people are not able to address stress in its early stages, they are diminishing their ability to overcome it without assistance. Therefore, it is important to look at what might be causing the emotional, mental and physical exhaustion as described in the post, “Preventing Burnout.”
Stress can come from a variety of sources. Work-related causes of burnout often are associated with feeling like you have little or no control over your work, lack of recognition or rewards for good work, unclear or overly demanding job expectations, doing work that’s monotonous or unchallenging, and working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment. When a person experiences this level of stress from work, you often find that they have similar lifestyle causes of burnout including working too much without enough time for relaxing and socializing, being expected to be too many things to too many people, taking on too many responsibilities without enough help from others, not getting enough sleep and lack of close, supportive relationships.
Most people who struggle with work-related and lifestyle causes of stress also find that they have certain personality traits that can contribute to burnout including perfectionist tendencies, a pessimistic view of yourself and the world, the need to be in control, and a high-achieving, Type A personality. Unfortunately, people can become so wrapped up in their everyday struggles that they are often not able to sit back, evaluate what is contributing to their stress and plan ways to manage the stress. It is often not until some additional signs and symptoms of stress arise, that a person actually acknowledges that they are on the verge of burnout.
Signs and Symptoms of Burnout
In the post, “10 Signs You’re Burning Out — And What To Do About It,” the author identifies physical, mental, and emotional symptoms that are indicators of stress including the following:
- Exhaustion – In addition to feeling tired all the time, exhaustion saps your energy and makes you feel that you have nothing else to give.
- Lack of motivation – Not only do you feel that you are physically unable to keep going, but you also have no mental interest in things that are important such as family and work.
- Negative emotions – Nothing you do matters. You become disillusioned with everything. You are pessimistic and cynical, and often you are unable to experience a sense of joy or achievement.
- Concentration – Because everything seems overwhelming, you are unable to focus and concentrate on the various tasks at hand. This in turn leads you to feel like you are failing and the cycle of failure and stress continues.
- Performance problems – Feeling physical, mentally, and emotionally exhausted leads to performance problems at work as well as with your family and other personal relationships.
- Physical appearance and health – One of the most obvious signs of exhaustion is your physical appearance. You may have dark circles under your eyes and a pallor complexion, and your personal hygiene may be affected as well. Prolonged stress can also lead to other health issues such as digestive issues, heart disease, and depression.
If you are experiencing several of these signs and symptoms, you want to address your exhaustion as early as possible so that the ramifications of your exhaustion, such as a lack of focus on your sobriety, can be avoided.
Stress is one of the most commonly reported causes of drug and alcohol use and is considered the number one cause of addiction relapse. Therefore, in recovery, you need to do everything possible to manage your stress and prevent a relapse. There are lifestyle changes that you can make to help you manage stress including the following:
- Start the day with a relaxing ritual.
- Adopt healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits.
- Set boundaries.
- Take a daily break from technology.
- Nourish your creative side.
- Learn how to manage stress.
Techniques of stress reduction include deep breathing, mental imaging, and focusing on one word or thought which relaxes the mind and body and can also incorporate muscle relaxation. Daily practice can have many long-term effects on health and mental well-being.
When it comes to learning how to manage stress, you may need to get some professional guidance as described in the post, “.” Depending on your lifestyle, there are several resources that you can explore to help manage your stress. Individual counseling is a great resource when you need to learn about concrete methods of stress management such as time management, financial planning, or career development.
Another resource is a stress management group, which provides the benefit of engaging with people who have shared experiences and can provide you with support and encouragement.