I feel burned out

I haven't been feeling like myself lately. I've been upset for no reason and feeling anxious. I'm feeling burnt out. What can help me feel better?

Melissa  Gill
Melissa Gill
Metanoia Counseling LLC

I would first say that those are difficult thoughts and feelings that sound exhausting. I can't image how this must feel, but I can assure you that you are not alone. These are common experiences in our society where we are made to feel as though we must "go go go". Especially in the current world situation, even simple things can feel overwhelming. I believe that starting with "baby steps" such as taking even 10-20 minutes for yourself daily to be in the quiet and reflect can be helpful. Recognizing that even small self-care steps such as drinking more water, eating healthier foods, or taking a hot bath can be helpful to relieve stress. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

It's OK that you are going through that, even though it is probably very miserable.  Feeling burnt out is usually a sign that something is out of balance in our lives and we need to make some adjustments.

How are boundaries set up in your life?  If these are lacking in your work life, social life, or personal life, that could be draining.  This can be all too true for people that feel like putting up boundaries is selfish or that others will reject you if you do; however, realistic boundaries are super healthy for both yourself and others. For example, I have a boundary on how many people I see in a week and when I discuss work-related issues--this helps me take care of myself in ways that make me a better counselor and lets other people know exactly what I expect so there's no guessing.

Another question to consider is, what are you doing to recharge from stressors?  We tend to get so caught up in responsibilities that we miss opportunities to slow down.  We try to put a blind eye to how we are feeling and just push through, but our bodies will tell us when it's too much, whether that's through physical pain, emotional pain, or both. Consider the metaphor of a car:  if you are low on gas, your gas light comes on.  You can keep driving, but eventually you're going to need to stop and fill up, no matter how badly you want to make it to the next exit. Anxiety and other feelings popping up may be a sign you are just too overwhelmed and need to recharge!

How you attempt that may look different from others.  What brings you joy?  Is there a person or people that recharge you?  Or do you recharge better doing something alone?  If you feel it's a struggle to find answers to these questions, try to remember things that have peaked your interests and brought you joy in the past.  It could be something as simple as taking a walk, creating something, baking, etc.  

It can be a process, so no matter how quickly you want to move through this, just be patient with yourself! 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
David Klein
David Klein
Humanistic, LGBT-Affirmative Psychotherapy for Individuals & Couples

Does it help to put a name to the experience you are having? Where you first said, "I've been upset for no reason and feeling anxious," you then say that you are "feeling burnt out," which gives a little more context to what may have once felt like "no reason." Perhaps you are feeling burnt out! That is a big deal, and please try not to take it lightly! When we get burnt out, I have found that it's from one of two things: either we are not doing what we want, or we are doing too much (either of something we want or something we don't, doesn't really matter once we get into doing too much.)

If either of those rings true for your experience, try as much as possible to sit with the experience and get a better sense of where the burn out is coming from. I wrote about burnout for a newsletter and it is on my website. I don't want to do shameless promotion, but I thought it could also add to helping you: https://davidkleintherapy.com/my-experiences-with-burnout/

I hope that you can also see that it's not an abnormal experience.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

There's no such possibility that you're upset for "no reason"!

The reason is not obvious, not that you are feeling upset in response to nothing at all.

What can help you feel better is to be kind and gentle with yourself because this sort of approach will more likely relax your mood and mindset enough for the tension and anxiety you feel, to dissipate somewhat.

Try to understand whether certain situations or interactions remind you or feel similar to ones which distressed you before.

This may be the reason for your anxiety.

It is good news that you know the difference between your usual sense of yourself and that you've been away from this feeling.

Give yourself a little credit for understanding yourself.   Giving credit adds confidence and confidence will help you find the reasons and new ways to handle your anxiety.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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