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Not feeling it? Autumn Burnout May Be Affecting You: Here’s What to Do About It

Not feeling it Autumn Burnout May Be Affecting You Here's What to Do About It

I may have a soft spot for pumpkin spice lattes like the next person, but if given the choice, I’d happily choose summer over fall any day of the week. Despite autumn’s popularity, the cooler weather and shorter days just don’t quite cut it for me, even though I’ll never say no to rewatching my favorite comfort show. To be honest, I often find myself lacking motivation to work hard and achieve my goals during this time of year. If you’re like me and struggle with the transition from summer to fall in terms of productivity, you might be familiar with the phenomenon known as “autumn burnout.”

What is “autumn burnout,” and what causes it?

Autumn burnout” describes a state of complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion during the transition from summer to fall. While this can be related to factors like seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it often stems from the increased pressures and demands that clash with our internal body clock.

Summer is a season associated with relaxation, long days spent outdoors, and soaking up vitamin D. In contrast, fall brings cooler weather, shorter days, and more time indoors. This shift can significantly impact our energy levels due to reduced physical activity and sunlight exposure. It can also lead to a lack of motivation to work hard and pursue our goals. For some, the anxiety of transitioning seasons and climate change can be particularly challenging.

Signs you’re suffering from autumn burnout

While everyone experiences burnout differently, there are some common signs to help you recognize when you’re approaching or experiencing autumn burnout:

You feel unmotivated and exhausted:

If you’re dreading your calendar, struggling to complete tasks, and feeling overwhelmed by everything, you’re likely experiencing autumn burnout. This is especially true if these feelings persist over time. Unlike normal fatigue, burnout cannot be remedied with a good night’s sleep, and taking a break won’t restore your motivation or ambition.

You’re dealing with sleep issues:

Adequate sleep is crucial for your well-being, but you’re more likely to experience sleep problems when you’re burned out. Stress releases adrenaline and cortisol, triggering the body’s fight-or-flight response and making you more alert. If you’re feeling stressed during the day and having difficulty falling and staying asleep, it’s likely related to burnout.

You’re apathetic about your job:

While they say that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, that’s not always the case. Even if you’re passionate about your career, there may be days when work feels like work. If you find yourself becoming indifferent or frustrated with your job, you’re likely experiencing burnout. Reduced productivity and overall work performance are also significant signs of autumn burnout.

You’re cynical and irritable:

Cynicism and irritability are common indicators that you’re approaching or already experiencing burnout. Burnout depletes your mental, emotional, and physical resources, which makes you more susceptible to lower moods. If you find yourself more pessimistic than usual, it’s a strong sign of autumn burnout.

How to treat autumn burnout

Prioritize a healthy work-life balance:

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial when it comes to managing burnout during the seasonal transition. Set boundaries between work and personal life by not answering emails after a certain time, ensuring you have a reasonable work schedule, and dedicating your weekends to personal time. Take time every day to recharge, whether it’s through a morning workout, a leisurely breakfast, or an evening of reading or journaling. Allocating time for yourself allows you to decompress, destress, and release any pent-up worries.

Focus on your health:

Your overall well-being significantly affects your motivation and work performance. Prioritize good health by getting sufficient sleep, engaging in regular exercise, staying hydrated, and maintaining a balanced diet. When you feel healthy both inside and out, you’ll have the strength and stamina to face any challenges that come your way. Taking care of yourself can boost your confidence and sense of accomplishment.

Plan ahead:

Planning ahead is a straightforward way to reduce anxiety and maintain a sense of control during stressful periods. Allocate time, preferably on Fridays or Sundays, to plan your week. Include work priorities, tasks, errands, and appointments in your schedule. By doing this, you’ll eliminate the need to plan your day first thing in the morning, making your days smoother and more productive.

Stay connected:

Isolation can be detrimental to your mental health, especially with remote work and busy schedules. Make a conscious effort to stay connected with important people in your life. Whether through texting or in-person meetings, communication with others will remind you that you’re not alone and can help you break out of a funk.

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