With the current cost of living crisis looming large, a new study has revealed that Brits are more concerned about money than ever before, with the poll revealing that nearly half (44%) are worried about financial pressure over the festive period.
Worry and stress on this level can lead to what is known as “Worry burnout”, a term coined to describe a state of emotional exhaustion where a person feels worn out and overwhelmed by worry and even experiences heightened feelings of anger. It’s often a result of prolonged excessive emotional, physical, and mental stress.
Martin Preston, the addiction specialist at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, has shared the warning signs of worry burnout and how you can overcome the symptoms.
How to recognise the signs of worry burnout?
Constant worrying can affect your emotional and physical health, negatively impacting your day-to-day life, relationships, career and other aspects. Worrying is a normal part of human life.
Still, during the unprecedented pandemic, people have been exposed to ‘worry burnout’, when a person feels overwhelmed by worry.
When worrying about everyday situations becomes excessive, it can lead to heightened feelings of anxiety and can even make you physically ill. We all feel anxious sometimes, but worry burnout is when excessive worries don’t go away in the absence of the stressor.
Whether the source of worrying is personal or global, people may often feel socially withdrawn and disconnected from family and friends. This could be recognised as not getting involved with social events or ignoring contact with others.
Avoiding the news
Those on the verge of worry burnout may find themselves avoiding the news. It’s not uncommon for people to feel overwhelmed with negative news that they can’t listen to, read or watch news programmes anymore. On the other hand, people may become obsessed with the news cycle, meaning it plays a big part in their daily lives.
People on the verge of burnout due to stress can begin to experience and display emotional and physical signs of exhaustion. They will often feel a lack of physical energy, but they also develop the feeling of being emotionally drained and depleted.
A common sign of exhaustion is the lack of motivation to get out of bed in the morning or daily life becoming more challenging.
Feeling sensitive and irritable
Aggressive behaviour is also a common indicator of worry burnout. Irritable individuals may experience sensitivity and aggression towards their family, friends, and colleagues.
While everybody experiences some negative emotions within their day-to-day lives, it’s vital to recognise when these feelings are becoming unusual. People will often find themselves thinking more negatively as they absorb darker emotions.
How can you overcome worry burnout?
Everyone gets worried sometimes, but if left untreated, it can affect your physical and mental well-being. While there’s no way to get rid of worrying completely, there are methods to help you control your stress and worry.
When worried and stressed, you need to activate your body’s natural relaxation response, which helps to slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure and balance your mind and body.
Meditation has many health benefits and is a highly effective way to relieve stress, soften anxiety and improve your mental well-being. Taking time to relax the mind with meditation gives you the space to separate your energy, attention and emotions.
Write down your worries
According to research, writing can help boost positive emotions and reduce worries and anxiety. Spending 20 minutes daily writing about positive experiences can improve your physical and psychological health.
The aim is to find the positive in worrying situations to reduce stress, tension and built-up anger. Start by thinking of the thing that makes you feel worried and begin writing about the positives you can take from the experience.
Physical activity can help lessen worrying and greatly influence your physical and mental well-being. Exercising regularly, even if that’s just 10 minutes a day, can help individuals suffering from worry burnout.
When exercising, breathing deeper triggers the body’s relaxation response. A cardiovascular activity, like walking outside for 20–30 minutes several times per week, can improve sleep, increase energy and increase stress-busting endorphins. Other forms of physical activity that can help cope with worry burnout are gardening, circuit training, pilates, yoga and tennis.
Reaching out to family and friends for help and support is crucial when coping with worry burnout. Socialisation increases a hormone within our bodies that can decrease anxiety levels and make us feel more confident in our ability to deal with stress.
Limited social support has been linked to increased levels of depression and loneliness. It has been proven to alter brain function and increase the risk of alcohol use, drug abuse, depression and suicide. Social interactions with family and friends are crucial in how you function daily.