When someone is burning out, there are a lot of unconscious behaviours exhibited. The internal dialogue inside someone who is burning out is often not based in reality or facts. This is where relationships are affected during burnout without the person even realising.
Studies have shown that relationships are a key factor in ones’ wellbeing. “Feeling disconnected from the people you serve often disconnects you from yourself, especially for the many of us who are motivated by a sense of mission and purpose” – Dr Jeremy Nobel for Psychology Today.
During the burnout process the person puts more and more of their time and energy into work because in work, they can get tangible results.
When you work on a project, you work hard and you can measure its success.
At the same time, they are for-going social time because they are so tired from all the work they are doing. This exhaustion is exacerbated by the self-destructing cycle of wake, work, sleep and repeat.
Relationships are the easiest place to start to create space in a person’s life when things are going bad. The process of retreating from those close to us soon becomes a need because of your internal dialogue. Your self-destructive voice may have decided that you are a bore.
Further, you decide that you don’t want to share your sad feelings with your friends/family. You don’t want to bring them down or worse – that they won’t know how to help and support you.
In recent years, mental health awareness has become a trending topic. Organisations are building up their understanding of mental wellbeing and how best to support their employees.
However, when you’re the one going through the challenges, when the negative self-talk starts, it becomes harder and harder to be able to open up. Unfortunately, this can be happening at the point when it is essential to seek some treatment. Or more simply, to reach out to someone you know for support.
When you are burning out, as much as you may want to avoid your relationships, try not to. Even if a friend can only lend an ear to listen to you, try to do so.
If you are the friend being asked to support someone, give what you can. When it gets too much, perhaps talk with another mutual friend to see if they can offer support as well.
Both you and your friends should be mindful of each others’ feelings. However, if you feel guilty for talking ot them all the time, perhaps it would be better to turn to a professional.
In the same way, if you as a friend do not feel that you can support well, you must also look after your mental wellbeing.
When the burnout process starts affecting the way you view your relationships it is an important time to really take stock of what is happening with you.
It may be that you’re not burning out, just that you’re growing but if you’re exhibiting other signs of burnout then this will definitely be one to watch.
Seek solace in people who you can trust. These may not be the people you think will be your main supporters but if you trust them, start there. Sometimes talking to a stranger can be super helpful because there is no pre-judgement.
Avoiding relationships during burnout can have a massive affect on the burnout process. This can be more easily managed with the right knowledge of what you are going through and who may be able to be there for you.
Puja McClymont is a certified Life Coach supporting ambitious women in senior-level roles, entrepreneurs and high profile individuals to be empowered by who they are and what they want from love, life & work.