Are wondering if you may be suffering from post-lockdown burnout? Here you will learn what are the key signs to look out for…
Without question, the Covid-19 pandemic affected all of us; most businesses were closed, travelling was restricted in most countries and lockdowns were put in place. However, with the development of vaccines and other effective treatments, most of these restrictions are being eased gradually.
Now, the idea of socializing and interacting freely with each other is becoming a reality. With most of the lockdowns restrictions removed, we can now resume going to work, meeting up with friends and catching up with colleagues. And since this is what each of us wanted, we can conclude that everyone is happy and satisfied, right? Wrong!
While we might have more freedom and access to services now, doing everything at once can be very overwhelming. There are a lot of things to catch up on, the environment is quite different since pre-isolation and there are even more cases of Covid-19 being recorded in some places. All these factors are making it even more difficult to slot back into our normal social lives, in turn resulting in post-lockdown burnout.
What is a Burnout?
Dr. Elena Touroni, a clinical director and consultant psychologist, defines burnout as “a state of exhaustion – experienced mentally, physically and emotionally.” This state of exhaustion comes about when one spends too much time giving out to others than taking time for themselves.
Burnout causes a person to feel helpless, resentful, hopeless and cynical. Eventually, these negative feelings make the victim feel like they have nothing more to offer. And this attitude further spills over into other aspects of life, reducing one’s productivity and efficiency at work, home and social life.
Therefore, it is crucial that you learn how to prevent post-lockdown burnout, as well as how to deal with it. However, the big question is; just how can you tell that you suffer from this condition?
Consider the following five major indicators that show you are experiencing post-lockdown burnout:
1. Constant Fatigue
This is the most obvious sign of post-lockdown burnout. Having burnout makes you feel so tired, such that even moving a muscle feels like lifting a box that weighs a ton. You no longer wake up in the morning as easily as you did; rather, you constantly drag yourself out of bed. And the 8-hour work shift feels like an eternity.
Also, the kind of exhaustion associated with burnout is both physical and mental. In addition to feeling physically weak, people with burnout also feel worn out emotionally and mentally due to all the stressful situations that they undergo in their personal life.
2. Lack of Concentration
Do you have trouble concentrating? It could be in class, work or even when listening as others talk. Having trouble concentrating, as well as regularly forgetting things, can indicate that post-lockdown burnout is fast approaching.
Reduced concentration and constant forgetfulness not only make your job feel unmanageable, but they also make it more difficult for you to complete simple tasks. And the more distracted breaks you experience, the more you lose interest in your work, in turn reducing your overall productivity.
3. Loss of Sleep
As mentioned above, constant fatigue is one of the major signs of burnout. And when one is exhausted, you would expect that they would fall asleep very fast. Yet, the very opposite is true about a person with burnout.
In addition to feeling exhausted all day, burnout also brings with it insomnia. Even while you might be exhausted all day and needing as much rest as you can get, you just can’t sleep at night. And when you finally fall asleep, you can’t seem to stay asleep all through the night. This insomnia is usually caused by overwhelming feelings of too much workload and responsibilities.
4. Frequent Headaches and Stomachaches
Herbert Freudenberger, a German-born American psychologist, cited having regular headaches as a major characteristic of burnout disorder. And the same case applies to constant nausea and unexplained stomachaches. This is because burnout comes with chronic stress, which in turn weakens your immune system, causing physical symptoms and such sicknesses.
However, note that unexplained headaches, nausea and stomachaches can also indicate other underlying medical conditions or mental health issues. Therefore, before concluding that you have burnout, it is crucial that you first get checked by a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
5. Being Cynical and Easily Irritated
A person who is cynical has very little interest in their work. In addition, they tend to have a negative attitude, which is usually shown in how they deal with others at work or at home. Cynicism also causes the victim to become easily irritated, such that they constantly feel as if friends and colleagues are always getting on their nerves.
The cynicism, irritability and impatience are caused by too much stress and anxiety, both aspects associated with burnout. And it goes without saying that, the more cynical a person gets, the fewer friends they have and the lonelier they become.
How to Alleviate Burnout
Does any of the above signs ring true for you? Well, there is a chance that you could be experiencing post-lockdown burnout. The good news, however, is that burnout is not a permanent or untreatable condition. Rather, there are several steps that can help you alleviate and reverse your burnout.
Dr. Elena Touroni suggests that “No matter how busy you are, it’s really important to make time to do the things that nourish you and bring you a sense of wellbeing.” Yes, making more time for yourself can help you reverse the burnout. Remember, saying no to more responsibilities does not make you any less productive or efficient.
Also, take time to focus on your body and physical health. Drink more water. Eat more vegetables. Do regular exercise. It is those simple things that will help you get back on track and beat your post-lockdown burnout.
Finally, to solve the problem of insomnia and excessive stress, you could try a weighted blanket. Those special blankets have been specifically designed to help people to cope with stress and anxiety. Their special design achieves a “Deep Pressure Stimulation” on your entire body, allowing complete relaxation and improving your sleep. The feeling when using a weighted blanket is similar to a gentle hug, and are made of the finest fabrics for the ultimate cosiness and sensory experience.
Remember, the journey to healing is all about giving yourself time. So just breathe, take a break, then take another break; when you do this, your post-lockdown burnout will be a thing of the past, even sooner than you think!
Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (2016). Burnout. In Stress: Concepts, cognition, emotion, and behavior (pp. 351-357). Academic Press.
Khubchandani, J., Sharma, S., Webb, F. J., Wiblishauser, M. J., & Bowman, S. L. (2021). Post-lockdown depression and anxiety in the USA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Public Health, 43(2), 246-253.
Leiter, M. P., & Maslach, C. (2018). Interventions to prevent and alleviate burnout. In Current Issues in Work and Organizational Psychology (pp. 32-50). Routledge.