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What teens need to know about Burnout

Stress and burnout are pretty closely linked, however they are not the same thing. Wondering 'what is burnout?' Find out what the warning signs look like and learn how to prevent yourself from feeling burnt out

Stress puts a lot of pressure on the body. This can be manageable in the short-term, but if it's constant, it can be bad for both your physical health and emotional wellbeing. Eventually, too much stress on your body over a long period of time can cause you to burn out. Burnout is a state of complete mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. Teenagers especially have a lot to do with homework, sports, hanging out with friends, part-time jobs, and other commitments. Many of us are busy preparing for our resume and as we get prepared for adult life, we often miss out on one vital skill – knowing how to relax.

Sings of a Burnout

  • Every day is a bad day.
  • Caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy.
  • You’re exhausted all the time.
  • The majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming.
  • You feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated.

Burnout is a gradual process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can creep up on you. The signs and symptoms are subtle at first, but become worse as time goes on. Think of the early symptoms as red flags that something is wrong that needs to be addressed. If you pay attention and actively reduce your stress, you can prevent a major breakdown. If you ignore them, you’ll eventually burn out.

Physical signs and symptoms of burnout:

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  • Lowered immunity, frequent illnesses
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout:

  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • An increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
  • Taking out your frustrations on others
  • Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early

Lifestyle causes of burnout

  • Being busy all the time, without enough time for socializing or relaxing
  • Lack of close, supportive relationships
  • Taking on too many responsibilities, without enough help from others
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Personality traits can contribute to burnout
  • Perfectionistic tendencies; nothing is ever good enough
  • Pessimistic view of yourself and the world
  • The need to be in control; reluctance to delegate to others
  • High-achieving, Type A personality

How to deal with Burnout

Reach Out for help

Reach out to those closest to you, such as your partner, family, and friends. Opening up won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most friends and loved ones will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your friendship. Try not to think about what’s burning you out and make the time you spend with loved ones positive and enjoyable.

Be more sociable with your friends

Try to be friends with people in real life than in virtual. Attend events once in a while, spend quality time with them and develop friendships with people who can help buffer you from burnout.

Limit your contact with negative people

Hanging out with negative-minded people who do nothing but complain will only drag down your mood and outlook. If you have to work with a negative person, try to limit the amount of time you spend together.

Find new friends

If you don’t feel that you have anyone to turn to, it’s never too late to build new friendships and expand your social network.

 

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Slow breathing – a way to cope up with Social Anxiety

If you feel anxious in social settings, it is a sign of having Social Anxiety

The fear of being evaluated negatively and being the center of attention in social settings is called Social Phobia. Generally, this leads to avoiding certain situations like job interviews, social gatherings or even activities like speaking, writing or eating in front of others. Teens who have social phobia are in constant fear of doing something embarrassing.

Here are a few situations that are commonly feared by people with social phobia:

  • Speaking in front of others
  • Going to family functions and parties
  • Talking to strangers
  • Daily activities like drinking, eating, or even using mobile in front of others
  • Using public transportations and public toilets
  • Waiting in a queue

Physical signs of Social phobia:

  • Blushing
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Mind going blank
  • A shaky or soft voice
  • Problems concentrating
  • Urge to use the toilet
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Urge to escape

How to practice Slow Breathing to overcome social anxiety

Your breathing rate increases automatically when you are anxious. Learning to slow down your breathing rate when you are anxious can settle other anxious sensations, and keep your mind focused as well.

 1. First, time your breaths for one minute (1 breath in and out is counted as one).

2. Then sit down comfortably in front of a clock or a watch with a second hand and start to focus your mind on your breathing.

3. Breathe only through your nose.

4. Try to breathe using your lower stomach/ diaphragm, rather than your chest muscles. Relax your stomach as much as possible.

5. Take a regular breath in for 3 seconds and then breathe out for 3 seconds. Each time you breathe out, think to yourself the word “relax” and let a little more tension go from your muscles – let your shoulders drop, and relax your face.

6. Continue breathing in this 6-second cycle for 5 minutes.

7. At the end of this, count your breaths again for one minute. Write this down.

8. The average person takes 10 to 12 breaths per minute at rest. Your breathing rate may be higher than it should be. Some people with social phobia over-breathe constantly, while other people find that their breathing rate only goes up when they are anxious. In both cases, slow breathing can help.

9. To begin, you will need to practice when already relaxed. Then you can gradually practice in anxious situations. Like learning any new skill, slow breathing takes time and regular practice. You should practice this at least 4 times a day.

Try it and share your results with us. However, if you have any other kind of phobia, do share with our experts and they'd be happy to help. You can chat with the experts or send an email at expert@teentalkindia.com

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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