My two most popular posts last year, which each received double or triple the number of views as any of my other articles, were both about how to get better sleep. So I'm guessing many of you out there are already experiencing this symptom. You may just not realize it's due to burnout. "Research suggests that chronic stress interferes with the complicated neurological and hormonal system that regulates sleep. It's a vicious cycle, because not sleeping throws this system even more out of whack. If you've noticed you're unable to sleep at night, that could be a sign that you're experiencing burnout," Lotte Dyrbye, a doctor who studies burnout at the Mayo Clinic, tells the Times.
"I realized I was sleeping every day after work -- and I was like, 'What is wrong with me?' but it was actually burnout," one doctor tells Wenner Moyer. If that sounds like you, the solution might not be yet another nap (though yay to naps!) but a hard look at the deeper roots of your burnout.
3. Changes in eating habits
Can't stop yourself from reaching for that bag of chips in the evening? Or maybe you have the opposite problem. Maybe nothing much just seems very appetizing at the moment. The issue may not be your stomach, it may be the two years of work/life insanity we've all just endured.
"Research suggests, too, that stress hormones can affect appetite, making people feel less hungry than usual when they're under a lot of stress, and more hungry than usual when that stress alleviates," Wenner Moyer explains.
Exhaustion and insomnia seem like natural enough consequences of chronic stress, but digestive distress is another common but less-recognized symptom. "One study of people in Sweden suffering from exhaustion disorder -- a medical condition similar to burnout -- found that 67 percent reported experiencing nausea, gas or indigestion," reports Wenner Moyer.
The same study mentioned above found a similar percentage (65 percent) of burnt out Swedes experienced headaches.
If any of these issues cause a light bulb moment that maybe you've been ignoring your steadily building burnout too long, what should you do about it? That depends on the underlying causes of your burnout, but experts have suggested everything from extended breaks, to writing exercises, to making time for hobbies, to a greater focus on your community and helping others.
The solution to your distress may be personal, but you'll never find it if you don't first admit your sleepless nights and Tums addiction are actually just burnout in disguise.