Lost Your Motivation? Constantly Tired? Learn the Signs of Burnout to Stay in the Game

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

We've all been there—your cell phone battery dies at the worst possible time. You were warned that it was depleting. It changed colors to tell you it was fading. And yet, you pressed on—trying to send a couple more text messages and one last email until the fateful power down, right? Once the screen turned black you accepted that it was over. No more phone for a while. You understand that plugging a dead phone into an outlet won't bring it back instantly, so you simply wait.

Do you treat yourself like this? If you are like most Northwestern Mutual Financial Representatives, you treat yourself even worse! Even though your battery dies (you're sick, exhausted, feeling burnt out), you do not let yourself recharge. We all accept that when the phone dies, we need to leave it alone for a while and let the battery charge again. However, do you ever catch yourself criticizing yourself for getting tired, worn out or needing a break? It's time to learn how to read your own "battery low" signs!

Here are 10 signs you're burning out according to a Forbes article "10 Signs You're Burning Out—And What to do About It," by Lisa M. Gerry.

1) Exhaustion

2) Lack of motivation

3) Frustration, cynicism and other negative emotions

4) Cognitive problems ("fight or flight" or The Lizard)

5) Slipping job performance

6) Interpersonal problems at home and at work

7) Not taking care of yourself

8) Being preoccupied with work...when you're not at work

9) Generally decreased satisfaction

10) Health problems

“A lot of burnout really has to do with experiencing chronic stress,” says Dr. Ballard, who is the head of the American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. “In those situations, the demands being placed on you exceed the resources you have available to deal with the stressors," according to the Forbes article.

If you are showing several of the 10 signs of burnout, what is your plan? Here are several tips:

Make self care a priority—sleep, eat nutritious food, take breaks Check in often with yourself—are you okay? Figure out where the stress is coming from and see if you can establish better boundaries Make relaxation a regular habit Build quality life outside of work—make friends (who are not your clients), get involved with sports or hobbies Have fun, play! Use technology strategically

Take signs of burnout seriously. If you are showing signs, take a day out of the business to really unplug. Take a nap. Rest and be a couch potato for just one day. You might be amazed at how your motivation springs back. You are excited to get back out there. You and your cell phone have the need to recharge very much in common.

Coaching Tip Preventing burnout is much easier than recovering from it. Try to create a self care routine that you can realistically stick with. For example, make a point to eat well, move throughout the day (use an activity tracker), drink water, set a bedtime and let yourself have some fun. Plan some half days and full days off and mark them on your calendar months in advance. Notice how seeing days off in your future improves your outlook? Taking good care of yourself is just a (lucky) part of being a business owner.