After working for years under pressure, without resting or vacation, your body and mind slowly become exhausted and fatigued. Burnout is the test used to describe that. But how do you know? Of course it is always important to discuss with your doctor if there can be other medical causes, but in most cases there is a large chance that you suffer from burnout if you have the following symptoms: feeling empty, exhausted and burnt out for a long period of time, not wanting to take initiative, losing the ability to focus, and even having your memory become worse. You no longer enjoy the simple things in life such as a sunset or a nice flower. If you recognize some of these symptoms, chances are that you have a fatigue..
A lack of some chemical substances in the brain (called neurotransmitters) cause you to lose your zest for life, become tired and not rested, and sometimes you even start to have sleeping troubles. You seem to lose control over yourself and continuously feel tired and empty. An excess amount of adrenaline or stress hormone makes it so that your body and mind have to work too hard, causing you to become literally and figuratively exhausted. You cannot do anything anymore and do not understand why this is so. You feel tired and fatigued, irritable and difficult, have tens of small complaints like heart palpitations, aching back, tiredness, sleeplessness, apathy, worrying, nagging or headaches. SOmetimes you even become unpleasant to others, or even brusque or aggressive.
This sometimes occurs when you disregard yourself a lot, meaning you do not set limits toward others and no longer let people know what you can or cannot handle. As a consequence, you bite of more than you can handle, causing an overload in your system, and you keep working until the system breaks. You are mentally burnt out and need a vacation even though you thing you need to keep working harder because you have less energy to do everything that needs to be done.
Burnout can be tested by taking this simple test online. This test shows you your general level of stress, which lies behind the exhausted feeling of fatigue, as well as its facets: tension, anxiety, or even depressed feelings. This test can help you by acknowledging the problem, or by following your development in hindsight after, for example, following the online self-help program for stress and burnout. Give the test a try.
Paul Koeck, MD