Feeling stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted is increasingly becoming the norm.

A friend of mine recently burnt out and ended up in hospital. He told me he it could have been avoided if he’d spotted the signs and taken action sooner.

This article is designed to help you realise if things have gone too far for you or someone you know, and that’s it’s time to change things.

“Burn out” is a rather nebulous term, but it usually refers to someone reaching a crisis point with regard to their mental health. It can culminate in passing out, a stroke, a heart attack or just feeling you can’t carry on like this anymore.

It’s caused by a prolonged period of cumulative stress and anxiety, that results in life feeling less and less manageable.

A healthy person will experience stress and anxiety from time to time, perhaps even daily. But they will have ways to release the pressure so that it doesn’t build up and they can reset.

Here 12 signs you could be heading for burn out:

1. You have no downtime

You feel like you’re rushing from one thing to the next, with no space to catch your breath. (OK, I know, this is most people in London!)

2. Normal life feels unmanageable

Struggling with things like what breakfast cereal to choose or unloading the washing machine are a sign of cortisol overload. This can go hand in hand with lack of concentration and focus.

3. You’re withdrawing socially

It’s logical to want to isolate yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You want to avoid further stimulation or anything that feels like effort. Maybe you also don’t want other people to know how you’re feeling.

5. You can’t sleep

The body metabolises stress hormones when you sleep, so insomnia prevents you from ‘resetting’ your stress levels.

This means it takes very little to tip you into the stress-overload or panic zone.

6. Escape fantasies

You’re caught in a cycle of thinking this is all too much to cope with, and you need a way out, while another part of your brain is telling you “I must carry on, I can’t give in, if I just try harder I will get on top of it”.

6. You’re having panic attacks

Prolonged feelings of anxiety can lead to overwhelming feelings of fear that seem to come out of the blue.

Once you’ve had an attack, worrying about having another one can be worse for your mental health than the panic attacks themselves.

7. Extreme mood swings

One minute you’re feeling good, then something small makes you snap with rage or worry incessantly.

8. You’re self-sabotaging

This could be abusing drugs or alcohol, the way you treat people around you or the way you do your job.

9. You feel like a failure

You’re putting a negative filter on everything and struggling to remember anything you’ve done well or succeeded at.

10. Loss of hope

You might experience thoughts of suicide or just feel helpless.

11. You feel numb

Some people on the cusp of burn out report not feeling much of anything. You might stop caring how you look, lose interest in activities you used to enjoy, and isolate yourself from family and friends.

12. You feel isolated

You have a sense of having to deal with all your problems by yourself.

What to do

The most important thing is to talk to someone about it, for example a friend, your partner of GP.

You could also try coaching.

I have helped people recover from burnout, depression, severe anxiety and stress. I’ve helped people sleep better, switch off from work more easily, get a promotion, a pay rise and the best performance review of their career.

The benefits of my Sustainable Success programme include:

  • Regular sessions to help you make consistent progress
  • Learning how to manage your thoughts and emotions
  • Creating a positive vision for your life

If you think it could be helpful for you, book a taster session here.

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‘Even after just the first session in the programme with Andy, everything started to shift. I felt I had hope, self-belief, vision and clarity, and all with a sense of excitement.’

Working with Andy has elevated me and changed my life.

I am so grateful I can’t say it enough. I recommend him to everyone!’

- Mouby, Writer

‘I went into this from a position of scepticism, but for me it’s been life changing. For the first time, my default has not been grumpy, it’s been happy.’

- Peter, Lloyds Bank

‘I sometimes think what would’ve happened if I hadn’t had those sessions with Andy and I’d probably still be just stuck in a rut. In fact, I know I would be.’

- Ros, HR Consultant and Health Coach

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It is a great act of courage to ask for help when you are struggling. Book your call here.