Impacts of burnout
In this article, Martin Preston discusses how burnout can impact your life long term.
The impacts of burnout include:
- Impacted sleep;
- Weakened immune system;
- Irrational feelings of hatred;
- High blood pressure.
If you cannot switch off to get to sleep, your mind and body will not be able to recover in time for the following day.
As stress triggers the autonomic nervous system to release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, your body will be in ‘fight or flight mode’ and ready for danger rather than ready to rest.
This process encourages blood from internal organs to be directed to the limbs to make a quick getaway. If this happens every night, you will eventually be in a psychological cycle that is very hard to break.
Prolonged feelings of tension and stress can eventually manifest into genuine anxiety.
If these feelings of tension are not addressed, they can leak into other aspects of your life, too, such as your ability to be social and to open up to your friends and family.
Usually leading on from anxiety, experiencing burnout can leave you feeling very alone and isolated.
This could be due to the fact that you have left your symptoms untreated for so long that you now feel too overwhelmed to maintain relationships.
As your mind becomes more swamped with feelings of inadequacy and failure, there becomes less and less room for anything else apart from stress and tension.
Weakened immune system
As your feelings continue to spiral out of control, you may also notice that you become unwell as your psychological mindset begins to impact your immune system.
Due to feeling so distressed all the time, you are more likely to neglect some things that keep your health in check, such as eating nutritious food or exercising.
Neglecting your emotional health can also lead to intense back pain, bowel troubles, and appetite fluctuations.
Irrational feelings of hatred
As your negative emotions have predominantly stemmed from work, you could, in extreme cases, start to look for people to blame for your feelings.
This could be due to feelings of jealousy that your colleagues do not seem to be experiencing the same stressors as you and seem to be handling life just fine.
Instead of acknowledging that they, too, could be suffering from burnout, you could find yourself starting arguments that could jeopardise your work life, as you mistakenly feel that the world is against you.
Impacts of burnout: High blood pressure
While there are no studies to show that stress and burnout lead to long-term high blood pressure, the release of adrenaline and cortisol can cause it to spike.
As your blood vessels become narrower and your heart beats faster, to protect you from a dangerous situation, your BP will be temporarily raised.
Furthermore, in England, 24.3% and 9.7% of past smokers stated they took up the habit due to stress.
As nicotine has an instant relaxing effect, many people are drawn to smoking to calm themselves down, in particular, when feeling burnt out.
However, studies have shown that this is a very short-lived sense of relief that leads to cravings and withdrawal.
Despite burnout causing you to feel trapped, there are always places to turn for help and treatment.
It is important that, as soon as any early signs begin to show, you seek support from a healthcare professional.
In a previous article, he discussed what burnout is.