Let’s set the scene: you’re working hard at your job, loving life, getting ready to host your family while prepping the holiday meal menu. While this is all exciting, it’s starting to feel a little overwhelming with a few things falling between the cracks. Maybe you’re also having trouble sleeping or focusing. These are all potential signs of burnout.

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. Even with the best of intentions, our schedules might be leading slowly but surely to burnout. Here are some other signs of burnout to look out for:
Physical Signs
– Feeling tired and drained most of the time
– Getting sick often
– Muscle aches and pains
– Change in sleep habits and appetite

Emotional Signs
– Thoughts of failure and/or self-doubt
– Feeling helpless, trapped, and/or defeated
– Loss of motivation
– Decreased satisfaction in things that normally bring accomplishment and joy

Behavioral Signs
– Withdrawing from responsibilities
– Isolation
– Procrastination

As you examine your own commitments this holiday season, take note of these signs. If you’re starting to feel burnout, try the following:

Take inventory. See how you can support a better balance of work, life, and play. Maybe there’s something you can do to feel more connected.

Say no. This might be the hardest word to say, but setting boundaries can be a radical act of self-compassion.

Exercise. Getting moving can dramatically improve our mental health and reduce feelings of anxiety. As you read this, get up and do five jumping jacks (or snow angels if weather permits). How do you feel?

Use your network. You don’t have to go at it alone. Reach out to a friend, co-worker, or family member to see how you can lighten your load. People are not mind-readers, so they may not know how we’re feeling until we advocate for ourselves. Furthermore, ask how others deal with burnout as they might also be relieved to have the conversation.