Burnout can wreck your memory (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)
Find yourself constantly searching for your phone (it’s in your hand), locking yourself out, and struggling to remember what you got up to at the weekend?
You might be unknowingly struggling from burnout.
Yep, excess stress can seriously mess with your memory, making you a scatter-brained mess, says life and leadership coach Heidi Hauer.
And, says Heidi, our ongoing blurring between work and home life can make us even more prone to the mental strain of overwhelm.
That’s why she’s urging us all to be on the lookout for burnout, and take note of those subtle signs that something isn’t right.
‘Stress continues to be a precursor to many serious health issues, yet too often in the workplace it can be worn as a badge of honour,’ Heidi says.
‘Working long hours with no breaks and neglecting yourself in favour of work is not something we should be congratulating people for.
‘Rather, workplaces should be equipped to identify people who are suffering from too much stress so they can be supported before they burnout.
Signs of burnout
- Interrupted sleep
- Getting sick more often
- Gum disease
- Lack of motivation
- Low mood
- Being unable to stop thinking about work
- Impaired memory
- Struggling to make decisions
- Feeling irritable or snapping at people
‘It’s important to become aware of your attitude towards stress. The reality is that stress is a normal part of everyday life. If proper coping mechanisms are put in place we can avoid burnout.
‘If you’ve suffered from stress for too long you may experience a lack of energy, feel emotionally empty or drained and don’t feel like yourself.
‘Identifying stress and implementing robust practices to deal with it is a really important part of modern office life.’
Along with a rubbish memory, less noticeable signs of burnout include struggling to concentrate, lacking motivation, feeling tired no matter how much you sleep, and a negative inner voice.
Heidi says: ‘If your normally positive colleague starts to see everything in a negative light, it could be a sign they should seek help.
‘Burnout also has elements of feeling disengaged, hopeless or helpless.
‘Burnout is different in that prolonged exposure to stress becomes a negative cycle which is really hard to bring yourself out of on your own.
‘If you notice symptoms then be honest with yourself and acknowledge it. Being tired all the time is not normal.’
If you’re struggling to deal with stress in healthy way and feel like you’re nearing burnout, it’s vital to seek support from your workplace or a mental health professional.
Heidi also recommends some simple tweaks you can make on a personal level.
‘It all starts with giving yourself the permission to prioritise wellbeing for yourself,’ she explains.
‘Don’t put pressure on yourself to make big changes in your life all at once. This will only lead to greater feelings of overwhelm.
‘Instead, start with really small steps like putting in place a healthy morning ritual.
‘Instead of jumping out of bed and reaching straight for your morning coffee, set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and slow it down.
‘Incorporate some really simple breathing exercises into your morning, which will help you to feel more mindful, and eat a nourishing breakfast.
‘Changes work one decision at a time and little steps out-perform big goals in the long run.’
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