Executive stress: How to tell if you’re close to burning out

In 2018, 595,000 people in the U.K. alone suffered from workplace stress.

Executive stress and burnout are ever-rising issues in today’s workplace but recognising the signs and symptoms can sometimes be tricky.

After all, is burnout a feeling of exhaustion? Is it a feeling of apathy? Or perhaps it’s just the general dimming of your mental faculties?

Here’s the thing: All of the above are correct.

Burnout doesn’t show its face in just one way, it takes many forms and affects people in different ways.

Some Executives feel a heightened sense of stress and a lack of creativity; others become unhappy, depressed and carry with them a feeling of constant dread. 

Although burnout is tricky to spot, there are some sure-fire signs that’ll help you understand whether or not you’re close to burning out.

Here are some vital questions to ask yourself.

1. Are you still excited about work?

No job is perfect.

Even famous actors hate parts of what they do. As an Executive, you’ve likely been in your field for a long enough time to know this. But there’s disliking certain aspects of work and then there’s hating everything about it, all of the time.

If you feel yourself sitting in the latter category, it’s time to act. 

According to the World Health Organisation, you spend one-third of your life at work. That’s a lot of time doing something you don’t enjoy. Executives probably put in more hours than anyone.

If you’ve lost your sense of excitement for what you do, try mixing it up by looking for a new role, or speak up to your family and friends who could offer some advice that’ll help you get excited again. Equally, speak to a professional who can help you get to the root cause of your burnout.

2. Are you suffering physical pain as a consequence?

Stress brings out the worst in us.

We often get headaches, chest pains, severe anxiety and even insomnia due to stress at work. When these physical ailments begin to show themselves, it’s usually a strong sign that we need to slow down and take a breath. 

Nobody should have to endure the physical consequences that come with burnout. What’s worse is these physical problems will carry over into our personal lives, affecting our relationships with family and friends.

Listen to your body and work to mitigate pain. If it’s burnout that’s causing this, it might be time to take a holiday.

3. Are you apathetic about life?

Work is a part of your life. Sure, it’s not your entire life (at least, we don’t recommend making it so) and it’s not a separate part of your life, either.

As with your health and fitness, it is something that you need to manage, maintain and continue to balance with other areas of your life.

But because of how engrained work is, it can be difficult to switch off and rest, and the constant need to be ‘on’ (especially if you’re an Executive) will likely make you lazy, unproductive and apathetic about what you’re doing.

That apathy at work will lead to apathy at home, too. If you’re losing interest in your passions and hobbies in life and finding that you’re becoming lazy, it’s time to do something about it.

This might simply be by reprioritising how you’re spending your time, or it might be by getting out of the country and taking some time away.

Overcome Executive burnout by rebooting your life

Time away from your life is important.

It helps you gain perspective, it helps you find value in your life and, if you look in the right places, it’ll help you develop the tools you need to better balance your work and life in the future. 

Regardless of what responsibility is on your shoulders, should you feel burned out and fed up with living we encourage you to get away and reboot.

That might be in the form of a long holiday, but for those after more guidance about overcoming burnout, it might be by attending a luxury rehab clinic

To find out how Camino Recovery can help you overcome burnout and Executive stress, speak with one of our highly trained staff today.

David Scourfield

David Scourfield is a Camino Recovery team member since 2017, focused on facilitating communication with Clinical and other professionals to ensure a comprehensive understanding of Camino's program.

Combining his marketing skills and lived experiences, he joined Camino in 2017, contributing to external publications and the Camino website. With a strong belief in solidarity during the recovery process, David helps clients build support networks by connecting them with others in recovery.

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