We’ve all had those moments when we think, “I can’t anymore”. These are typically times when you feel tired, depleted and unable to deal with stresses. If you find yourself saying to yourself, “I can’t do this anymore,” you may be suffering from burnout. This could be a wakeup call figure out new ways to manage your stress.
Let’s look at what burnout might look like. What creates it, how to cope, and when it might be vital to obtain mental health help.
What does “I Can’t” Mean?
When the words “I can’t do this anymore” enter your mind. You are usually at a point in your life. Where you are emotionally, mentally, and physically unable to cope with things.
Maybe you’ve been working a high-stress job. And were putting up with it for a while. But then your boss threw you a proposal that felt impossible to handle, and you snapped. Maybe you’re a parent who has been dealing with cranky, sick kids for a few days. The straw that broke the camel’s back was learning that your furnace needed to be replaced today.
Burnout can happen to anyone at any time, but it is mostly experienced by people who work or who are in caregiving roles (parents, people caring for older relatives) Burnout is not the same as being tired or overwhelmed in general. People who are experiencing burnout have typically tried their hardest to keep it together, but one thing after another piled up, and they simply did not have the strength to continue.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are three distinct characteristics of burnout. The WHO classification of burnout is for work-related burnout, but these features can implement in other situations that may cause you to feel overwhelmed and defeated.
The following are the three main characteristics of work-related burnout:
- Exhaustion and depleted energy
- Negative emotions, cynicism, and a desire to withdraw from work
- Feeling unable to remain professional and effective
If you are going to experience burnout, you may have developed a lack of empathy for others and the feeling that you “just don’t care” anymore. You may feel as if nothing you do matters and that you are incapable of accomplishing anything.
Burnout and the feeling that you “can’t do this anymore” can manifest physically as well. You may encounter headaches, stomachaches, muscle aches, and sleep and eating patterns that are disrupted. Burnout can also increase the risk of substance abuse, and people who are burnt out may seek solace in drugs and alcohol.
Other Mental Health Issues vs. Burnout
Burnout can occur whether or not you suffer from other mental health issues. However, it is critical to distinguish between feelings of burnout and mental health conditions such as depression to receive proper diagnosis and treatment. Feelings of exhaustion, depletion, detachment, sadness and inability to complete tasks are all symptoms of burnout and depression. However, while burnout can be treated by taking a few days off work, changing jobs, or practicing self-care, these measures are insufficient for treating depression. If you are experiencing signs of burnout, such as feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, or suicidal ideation, or if you suspect you are suffering from depression, please seek help from a mental health professional.
Other Mental Health Issues vs. Burnout
Burnout can occur whether or not you suffer from other mental health issues. However, it is critical to distinguish between feelings of burnout and mental health conditions such as depression to receive proper diagnosis and treatment. Feelings of exhaustion, depletion, detachment, sadness and inability to complete tasks are all symptoms of burnout and depression. However, while burnout can be treated by taking a few days off work, changing jobs, or practicing self-care, these measures are insufficient for treating depression.
If you are experiencing signs of burnout, such as feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, or suicidal ideation, or if you suspect you are suffering from depression, please seek help from a mental health professional.
The following are the most common causes of burnout:
- A slew of new responsibilities or tasks
- Inadequate support at work or in a caregiver role
- Not feeling heard or listened to
- Taking on too many responsibilities at once Failure to practice self-care or the inability to do so
- Having a sense of powerlessness over decisions
How to Deal With Feelings Like This
If you find yourself saying to yourself, “I can’t do this anymore,” you should not feel inferior or inadequate in any way. When someone reaches this point, it’s usually because they have too much on their plate. The truth is that one person can only handle so much. So, if you’ve reached a breaking point, one of the first things you can do is assess your life responsibilities and see if anything can be changed.
Consider the following:
- “Is this the job for me?” “Do you think it’s time for me to look for a new job?”
- “Is there anything I can delegate to others that I can take off my plate?”
- “Is there anyone I can turn to for assistance with my children/parents/other people for whom I am responsible?”
- “Can I afford to hire someone to help me around the house while I work or care for someone else?” Is there anyone in my family who can help out more with housework?”
- “Are there any commitments in my life that I can drop or postpone for the time being while I try to balance my other responsibilities?”
In addition to attempting to change your life circumstances to make them more manageable, there are some ego techniques that you may want to consider using to help manage your feelings and energy so that you don’t feel as bogged down as you do now.
American Psychologist Association
According to the American Psychological Association (APA)
- Mindfulness and meditation: Taking 5 to 10-minute mindfulness breaks throughout the day can make a significant difference.
- Exercise: Both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training are effective methods of burnout management.
- Maintain clear boundaries: Try not to be “on” at all times; unplug from work in the evenings and on weekends.
- Create a supportive social circle: It can be relaxing to have colleagues to vent to or other people in your circle who understand what you are going through.
- Think about therapy or counseling: Many therapists specialize in burnout and can assist you in figuring out how to get through this trying time.
People are sometimes quick to dismiss feelings of “I can’t do this anymore,” believing that they should toughen up or push themself through. However, burnout is a real thing, and if left untreated, it can have negative effects on your emotional, physical, and mental health.
The truth is that addressing your feelings of burnout is a sign of strength, not weakness. Above all, you deserve to be confident, healthy, and whole. Try not to be disheartened. You can begin addressing burnout today by making even a small change. Small changes add up to make a big difference in how you feel.
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