Stress is something that most Americans struggle with at some point in their life. Levels of reported stress have increased nearly 19% for adults since 2019 due to the corona-virus pandemic. That is a lot considering the previous reported rate was at 5% of the adult population in America. With concerns for physical and mental health, future job and living situations, and financial needs rising, it is no surprise. Many reported feeling a sense of hopelessness caused by the pandemic, which can also add to the normal stress faced in daily life.
With stress, there is a chance of developing burnout. Burnout is an emotional and mental state which often has symptoms of physical exhaustion as well that is caused by long term stress. Those struggling with burnout feel the effects in almost all aspects of their lives, especially in work, parenting, and relationship roles. It can often present itself in anger, irritation, lethargy, and depression. Other symptoms include digestive issues, heartburn, and headaches.
If you feel like you may be struggling with symptoms of burnout, take a step back and consider what may be making you feel the most stress. Assess by asking questions like “Am I dreading work/life obligations?”, “Do I feel out of control in this aspect of life?”, and “Is something I’m doing conflicting with my morals, goals, or sense of self?”
By answering these questions, you may be able to get a better sense of what you need to address in your life to relieve the stress that is causing your potential burnout. You may need to rework your work-life balance in some way, whether that be cutting back hours or taking a short vacation to participate in things that you enjoy. You can find ways to recognize your value in what you are doing so that you can regain a sense of purpose.
If you feel that you are really struggling with the stress in your life, finding positive forms of stress management and release are critical. These things may be hard to do on your own, especially if it is difficult for you to determine what exactly is causing you stress or how you react to it. Find support in loved ones and don’t forget that there are many mental health professionals out there who are trained to help you in exactly this!
Written by Emma, Undergrad Intern 2021
If you would like to speak to a professional counselor about this and are in the Chicago area, please feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.