Remember when you used to come into work feeling energetic and excited? You were amazed by how much you truly loved your job, and it felt like an honor to sit at your desk– you didn’t even mind the fact that you didn’t have the corner office with the awesome view you’d hoped for. Now, you’re just dragging along like a beat-up piece of furniture you can’t seem to get rid of (e.g. that ugly couch that’s been sitting in your garage for the last 3 years.) Your job once was something special though, wasn’t it? If you notice yourself dragging lately, you may be experiencing what we will label as “work burnout”.
Some of the early symptoms of “work burnout” include things like:
You notice you occasionally get a headache during the work day which is not related to your health. You start to carry ibuprofen or Advil on a regular basis, which you never did before, just in case. Headaches can be related to stress yes, but also related to even your own computer. Try taking a break from your desk once in a while, or just look away every so often. Starring at a computer screen all day strains your eyes which causing headaches. Walking away once in a while, may help prevent headaches in the future.
“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.”
This could be related to your posture, or simply because you have not been getting a good night sleep due to…stress. Stress keeps us awake. Thoughts of “did I finish that project at work” keeps the mind going. If we are worried about unfinished projects, it’s hard to sleep. I can relate to this because I can’t seem to turn off my thoughts at bed time and this keeps me tossing and turning all night. If possible, finish at least the small things for the day so you can let your mind rest at night.
“The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven”
3. Lack of energy
You haven’t done anything different. You still have your regular, morning routine (work-out, coffee etc.) but you just don’t feel as energized anymore. On top of not getting enough sleep, you’ve lost motivation. You notice you wake up with a negative energy. It was easy to remind yourself of how great your day was going to be but now, you just don’t care. The mind is such a powerful thing. If you can tell yourself you will have a great day, you can also sabotage yourself into a bad day.
“Truth, like the juice of the poppy, in small quantities, calms men; in larger, heats and irritates them, and is attended by fatal consequences in excess.”
— Walter Savage Landor
Your co-workers are starting to get on your nerves. The once helpful assistant is now a nuisance and she makes you wish you worked from home. Just hearing her voice makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up! If this sounds like you, try taking a break from the people who seem to irritate you. You can do this by zoning out with some great music using headphones. You can still complete a project and be very productive while listening to music on your headphones. Unless absolutely necessary, people don’t usually bother other people who are wearing headphones. It’s an unspoken sign of “do not disturb” try it!
Now, don’t get me wrong, these symptoms cover a lot of other conditions as well, so please don’t overlook any of them as they may also be related to a medical condition. However, they can also be a sign it’s time to move on. Some of us might experience this as what we call being “in a funk” The question is, when do you know it’s just a “funk” and not really time to move on? I would recommend trying some of these things first but in all reality, if you’re unhappy it’s your decision. You can always choose to stay unhappy or you can choose to be happy. If that means moving forward, than do it! Good luck!