4 Subtle signs of burnout (and how to beat it)

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2015 is the year of the strong, independent woman. In the era of Beyoncé and Amal Clooney, we can be anything, do anything, achieve anything …

That is, until it all gets too much. The chronic stress produced by placing unrealistic pressure on ourselves to turn our goals into reality takes both a physical and emotional toll.

Whether you’re trying to climb the career ladder, start a family or maintain a balancing act between these two pursuits, persistent emotional strain replaces energy, passion and enthusiasm with exhaustion, frustration and disillusionment.

So, what sets burnout apart from standard old stress?

These four subtle indications are a sign that you’re experiencing something more sinister than being spread too thin:

1. You’re exhausted all the time

So, what sets burnout apart from standard old stress?

Your alarm goes off and you wake with a jolt, finding yourself on the couch in a puddle of drool. Yet again, you couldn’t get past the theme song of that episode of The Good Wife you’ve been trying to finish all week.

But, even after ten hours’ sleep, you feel (and look) as if you just got home from a ’90s warehouse rave which makes it impossible to feel good about yourself or get anything done.

2. Every day is a bad day

It doesn’t matter what happens, every day is like the day that Ryan Gosling married Eva Mendes and an impossible dream died a violent death. You dread waking up in the morning, because it’s as if the universe is conspiring against you.

You dread waking up in the morning, because it’s as if the universe is conspiring against you.

3. You’re not taking care of yourself

Skipping meals and living on double-shot espresso is a clear sign that you have more on your plate than you can handle. Even if you convince yourself that it’s part of your strategy to look your best in December beach selfies, neglecting your own health is not a matter to be taken lightly.

4. You withdraw from social activities

The little time that you do have isn’t spent with those who matter most. Instead, you bury yourself in your duvet and day-dream about a one-way ticket to Bali and a job on a shrimp boat. No inbox, no meet requests, no problem.

If any of the above describes your life, it’s time to take action. You might not be able to change your situation, but you can improve your reaction to it by keeping yourself fit and focused. A healthy body supports a healthy mind. It’s as simple as that.

We caught up with Ivana Buchanan, group training specialist at Zone Fitness, for some lifestyle tips to keep burnout at bay:

A healthy body supports a healthy mind. It’s as simple as that.

1. Take time to recharge

“Start the day with a relaxing ritual like yoga to get yourself in the right head-space for the next couple of hours before you can rest again.

“The slow, controlled movements paired with deep breathing will leave you feeling relaxed and centred, ready to handle whatever life throws your way.”

2. Schedule social sessions

“Enrol in a weekly fitness class with your friends. You’ll make the most of your precious time, as it will help you destress and maintain your relationships.

“Even with minimal time at your disposal, you need to make time for the ones you love. Plus, gymming with the girls gives you the extra motivation you need to make your well-being a priority.”

3. Cultivate confidence

“Engage in activities that boost your confidence and keep you feeling good about yourself. Get moving and sign up for a dance class. Not only is it plenty of fun, your increasingly toned physique will up your confidence to keep you mentally strong when life throws you lemons.”

As much as society places emphasis on achievement, you can only burn bright if you make time for yourself.

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