Do I have burnout? Is it affecting my weight?

This past year has been rough, and we’re all bumping up against a lot of health problems right now

“After the lockdown started, I felt like I logged into work and have never left. No vacation, little time off.”

The New York Times asked readers to talk about burnout. 700 responded, all feeling what we’re all probably feeling: overwhelmed, malaise, and exhaustion. 

And we’ve all chortled at “the COVID 19” pounds we’ve all tacked on, but it’s true: Americans have added on the pounds during lockdowns. 

Together, these pose two frequent questions: “Am I suffering from burnout?”  and “Is this responsible for my weight fluctuations?” 

The answer is: Yes, probably to an extent, but it’s complicated.

Burnout is ill-defined and lacks a lot of science 

The research on burnout is not great. Some of our patients casually say they experience it, or have had it. Others suggest they’ve never had it. Those symptoms are hard to pinpoint. Am I exhausted at work because I’m tired of work, or because I didn’t sleep well? Are those related? And am I feeling aches because I’m sitting all the time, or because my body is trying to tell me something? 

Further complicating things is the symptoms of burnout overlap a lot with depression. Which has caused some psychologists and researchers to suggest they’re closely related or that one causes the other.

We don’t even really know how long a person has to feel the sensation of burnout to be “diagnosed” with it. Doctors commonly say a person needs to feel the symptoms of depression or anxiety for at least two weeks to be diagnosed as having one or the other or both. But no such designation or time period exists for burnout.

Researcher Cal Newport defines burnout as having “too much work with no feeling that you’re able to catch up or complete it.” That’s probably more common for an office worker than a factory worker, but it’s easy to see how that simultaneously applies and doesn’t fit everyone. Doctors, as he cites, get a feeling of burnout when they correlate the time spent staring at a computer. But that doesn’t correlate with everyone.

Overall, the relationship between mental health, work, and our well-being is poorly understood and under researched.

The effects burnout and stress has on our bodies is real

This isn’t surprising to most people, but stress — whether caused by burnout or any number of other valid reasons — causes people to do harmful things. We drink more wine or hard alcohol. We sneak a few more cookies or sweets. Or we eat much less and malnourish our bodies. Maybe we sleep, lose sleep, or sleep too much. We slack off on exercise or go too hard. 

Understanding the role our work plays in all this is just as important as the stress we feel from at-home schooling, virtual hangouts, caring for our elderly parents, or just reckoning with living alone if you’re unmarried or without kids or roommates. 

For those of us who have been more sedentary as the gyms open and close, or those of us that didn’t get out for runs or walks in the winter, or kept munching on snacks: now is the time to get back on track. 

Now is the time to consider adding supplements to your diet, too, to help accelerate your “recovery” to your old self.

Supplements, too, can also be a useful way to boost your immune system and mood. 

For more dramatic results or a little extra boost, we can help you accelerate your goals with non-surgical treatments like EMSCULPT and other fat-cell-busting treatments. Give our office a call or request an appointment for a free consultation.

For now, admit you had a setback, but get back on a useful routine. The weather is warming up, enabling more options for more people in the Indianapolis area. Vaccinations are rolling and gyms are reopening with more and more people again, too.