Life is stressful for pretty much everybody. With the cost of living rising while wages stay the same, things might seem even more stressful than usual these days.

For people who struggle with substance abuse issues and addiction, the stress of everyday life might be a little too much to handle sometimes, putting you at increased risk of burnout.

After all, people typically use substances as a way of coping with difficult emotions and situations– so when you’re in recovery and don’t have that “escape” to fall back on, it might be a bit of a learning curve to figure out how to handle things in a healthy way.

What exactly is burnout?

Burnout isn’t a specific medical term or diagnosis.

It’s more of a general term used for a specific combination of symptoms people might experience, often as a result of their jobs.

Someone experiencing burnout might be feeling particularly exhausted (mentally, physically, or both) for a prolonged period of time. They might also be more sensitive to criticism than usual, and quicker to anger or frustration.

Burnout might also be accompanied by negative self-talk; someone who’s experiencing career burnout might feel negatively about their professional performance, skills, or abilities.

Rather than being limited to just the workplace, burnout also affects virtually every other aspect of a person’s life. Someone experiencing burnout might have less energy to cook and clean their home, spend time with loved ones, or enjoy their usual hobbies.

In addition to the impact on your mental health that burnout might cause, it can also put you at risk of physical health problems.

If you’re consistently stressed, not getting enough quality sleep, or not eating well, you may also eventually experience a compromised immune system, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes.

Burnout can also accelerate or exacerbate existing issues with substance abuse problems.

How can I prevent burnout?

It’s often the case that people aren’t aware of burnout until they’re experiencing it– and even then, they might just wonder “what’s wrong with me? Why am I so tired and why is my work performance worse than usual?”

Knowing the symptoms and risks of burnout ahead of time can be a major asset in preventing these problems from coming to fruition in the first place.

Do you feel like your job is excessively stressful? Do you have a good work/life balance? Do you think that your employer is expecting way too much from you?

It might be beneficial to speak with your boss or supervisor about these concerns. A burnt-out employee isn’t a productive employee and definitely isn’t the same kind of asset to the company that a well-rested, fairly-treated employee can be.

If your boss doesn’t take your concerns seriously, it might be time to switch career paths. No job is more important than your mental and physical health.

 Of course, it’s important to be able to support yourself and your family, but if you’re burnt out, you can’t be a good employee or a good partner, mother, sibling, or friend.

If switching careers isn’t an option at the moment, there’s still actions you can take to keep burnout at bay.

Focus on sleep

Getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night is essential; it allows your body to rest and recover from the day. Without good sleep, your body isn’t running efficiently– you might experience issues with mood, appetite, and judgment.

Physical movement

It really is true that moving your body helps your mental and physical health. Just taking a walk, following along with a short yoga video, or dancing around your kitchen can greatly improve your mood and keep your body healthy.

Seek community

Human beings are social creatures; none of us can truly go it alone. We need one another. In order to avoid burnout and isolation, keep in touch with your family and friends.

For people struggling with substance addiction or who are in recovery, twelve-step meetings are an incredible place to find community while also addressing the root causes of addiction and learning how to cope.

Seek professional help

If you believe you’re experiencing burnout and are struggling with addiction issues, there’s absolutely no shame in reaching out for a higher level of help.

Pecan Haven is an addiction treatment center dedicated to helping you get your life back on track. Please give us a call or visit our website today to complete our online assessment form. We are here to help you.