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With the fast-paced lifestyle most people are pushed towards, coupled with difficult to managed work-life balance, burnout has become a common ailment among many. Often attached specifically regarding career goals or work, burnout can actually affect us in more ways than we may think.
Burnout is the result of consistently expending physical or emotional resources at rates where they cannot be recovered – often with little reward in return. When we reach a state of burnout, we can find ourselves becoming more easily irritated, apathetic towards our personal life, unwilling to deal with stressful situations, and constantly low on energy.
The effects of burnout won’t show up overnight, and it may take an `oh…` moment for someone to realized they’ve reached burnout levels of fatigue, stress, and mental exhaustion. Often, we think of burnout as something that doesn’t happen to us; “I’m not burnt out, it’s just been a long week.”, “I’m just pretty tired, work has been busy these last few days”. It’s important to keep track of our mental health and pay attention to how long we have felt a certain way. Similar to a more physical condition – if you notice you’ve had an ongoing cold for much longer than necessary, it’s time to see a doctor – it’s imperative to sit down and try to think of how long these feelings of mental fatigue have been going on.
Identifying burnout isn’t always easy, often there are physical aspects of our life that could be wearing us down, which is why listening to those around (a task admittedly more difficult than it sounds) is so important.
Psychology Today lists one of the side effects of emotional burnout as “the body [being] continuously on fight-or-flight mode” which in turn works against us to create feelings of “anxiety depression, apathy, lack of motivation, confusion, low self-esteem, and feelings of hopelessness”. Noticing these feelings sticking with you – especially when it comes to spending time with your partner(s), could mean that you’re experiencing relationship burnout.
While there can be many different signs of relationship burnout, Master Class lists 4 possible signs as:
However, relationship burnout can persist even after a romantic relationship has come to an end. This can lead to dreading future relationships and become completely unenthusiastic in meeting new people or engaging with those we would normally be interested in. Sometimes this level of relationship burnout would come from a particularly nasty relationship that likely ended on bad terms. However, if we have been emotionally exhausted for long enough, even the most amical break-up can lead to a feeling of resentment or lethargy when considering going on a date or using online dating apps.
If you find yourself reluctant to renter the world of dating, then it’s time to start thinking of how to pull yourself out of this Burnout and start reigniting your passion towards companionship. Mind-set pays a key part in making any change, but positive thinking won’t fix everything.
Fear not, however, relationship burnout isn’t permanent and with a little time and consistent effort you will find yourself excited at the prospect of love once more. PsychCentral highlights the importance of time and focusing on yourself. By sparking interests in other areas of your personal life – such as rekindling your passion for an old hobby, or even finding a new one to invest yourself in. Just be careful not to turn passion into obsession. Channeling your energy into something positive that brings you joy and fulfillment is amazing, but ignoring your feelings by focusing solely on one thing can prove to have a negative impact.
Time heals most wounds, and the same can be said for relationship burnout. Allow yourself the time to process your previous relationship, or to think more clearly on your current one, and work through the emotions you feel.
Burnout is normal, and while in an ideal world we would never experience it – there’s nothing wrong with taking time for yourself. Whether with a lover, friend, or family members; your own health comes first. Take breaks when you need them and communicate how you feel to others (remember, anyone who negates your feelings or tries to diminish them is not someone you want around). When we feel tired from exercise we take a break, and when we feel tired from our emotions we should do the same.