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Most people know that if you work too much, you're going to get burnt out. But "too much" means something different for everyone, and there are so many different signs of burnout, many of which aren't always present and can also be symptoms of other problems. However, experts agree that burnout will almost always lead to one particular issue: constant exhaustion.
"The number one indicator of work burnout is that you're feeling drained in both your work and your personal life," Emily Anhalt, PsyD, a psychological consultant specializing in emotional fitness and corporate wellness, tells Bustle.
Krishna Powell, career coach and principal, HR 4 Your Small Biz, agrees. "The one sign you are experiencing work burnout is extreme fatigue," she tells Bustle. "Usually that is your body's first warning signal you are pushing it to the limit. You oversleep or are unable to focus when you are at work because you are so tired. Extreme fatigue can also be accompanied by headaches, weight gain or loss, and prone to illness easily."
Licensed marriage and family therapist Stacey Ojeda similarly tells Bustle that "being really tired all the time, a negative attitude toward daily chores and interactions, and the overall feeling of not wanting to get out of bed on Monday mornings" are surefire indicators of burnout.
Of course, fatigue can have many causes, from dehydration to excessive alcohol consumption to depression. But if you've ruled out other causes, work burnout is likely the culprit. Here are some things you can do to combat this problem.
It's possible to make your workday less tiring without even decreasing your hours. Anhalt recommends cutting back on work that drains you and focusing on work that energizes you. For example, if you're an introvert, you may be drained by meetings but energized by reading.
You're not letting your company down by taking advantage of your vacation or sick days. They exist so you can use them. And you can use them for mental health issues, too — including burnout.
"Recovering from burnout might mean advocating for yourself and increasing your boundaries at your workplace," says Ojeda. Many of us fear losing respect at work for turning assignments down, but by setting healthy boundaries, you'll probably make people respect you more. If your boss weren't OK with you saying "no," they wouldn't have given you a choice.
Make a rule that you won't check your email on weekends, after 6 p.m., or another time when people won't be able to fault you for being away from your screen.
One particularly important part of self-care when you're recovering from burnout is to spend time with people who support you, says Ojeda.
If you feel yourself getting tired more than usual, it's best to nip it in the bud and practice all these things before you end up totally unable to do your job.