The battle with urges and cravings in one’s sobriety can be exhausting, and those balancing their continued sober efforts with professional obligations and personal responsibilities can feel their compounding weight. 

Burnout and fatigue are common hurdles that greatly impact one’s sobriety and resilience. Identifying the body’s signs of burnout is instrumental in allowing each individual to focus on their own needs, not only to prioritize a better balance in their daily lives but also to prevent relapse or other threats to one’s hard-earned sobriety.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is an incredibly exhausting experience that can manifest in different forms. While burnout comes with a degree of physical fatigue, its roots do not only stem from physical exhaustion. The mental and emotional exhaustion from tending to responsibilities can be exceptionally prevalent as a result of an overworked professional life or extensive at-home obligations, and they also frequently lead to burnout.

What is Burnout

Professional Burnout

Professional burnout is typically the most overt kind of burnout that many think of when the word is mentioned. For some, working long shifts or extra days each week can facilitate feelings of burnout, fatigue, and exhaustion as an individual compromises more and more of their personal needs to accommodate these professional expectations or demands.

Others may experience professional burnout even off the clock. Work phones or emails that contact an individual at home, as well as the rising prevalence of remote work, can turn one’s home atmosphere into a workspace, making it feel incredibly difficult to truly be “off” work without the proper boundaries.

Burnout at Home

Burnout is not something relegated only to the professional sphere. In fact, it is just as possible to experience burnout as a result of at-home obligations. Caring for family members or children or being the only one working on the cleaning or cooking around the house can carry a heavy emotional and physical tax. These activities can just as easily be viewed as “work” and, thus, influence one’s levels of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.

Symptoms of Burnout

While fatigue in every aspect of one’s life is the most common hallmark of burnout, it is not the only symptom. On top of this extreme level of fatigue, other common symptoms of burnout include:

  • Headaches
  • Dissatisfaction with one’s work
  • Lack of motivation
  • Physical aches
  • Changes in sleep schedule/taking naps
  • Feelings of depression
  • Feeling one’s work has no value
  • Hopelessness
  • Detachment from friends, peers, or family
  • Increasingly cynical worldview
  • Self-doubt

Burnout can cause an individual to feel emotionally and physically drained, and it can be difficult to pull oneself out of these feelings while still feeling trapped within the cyclic stresses that caused burnout. However, working with support and professionals to challenge these notions is paramount to prevent feelings of burnout and fatigue from affecting one’s sobriety.

Burnout’s Effects on Sobriety

For those navigating their sober lives, burnout can be an exceptionally intimidating threat. The feelings of exhaustion can compromise one’s feelings of self-worth and one’s sobriety.

First, burnout can completely drain an individual of energy and motivation, making it difficult to engage in practiced self-care routines. A developing cynical, more pessimistic mindset may convince an individual that such activities aren’t worth it or would be ineffective. However, this leaves an individual continuing to eschew self-care and therapeutic practices essential for processing stress and managing urges and cravings.

This negative mindset can also impact one’s motivation to continue attending outpatient therapy programs and other sober activities or groups. Combined, the building stress and exhaustion and the emotionally compromising mindset surrounding one’s abilities or sobriety can result in a higher chance of slips or relapses as one navigates this time. Not only can urges and cravings be prevalent as a result of stress, but one may feel too tired or unmotivated to combat these feelings in an effective manner.

Battling Burnout and Fatigue

Overcoming burnout can feel like an incredibly tall task, and garnering the motivation and willingness to take action can be a battle on its own. However, it is also paramount for one’s continued sobriety.

Taking a vacation, or even a day off from work, can be instrumental for challenging the cyclic perspective of burnout, helping an individual feel less “trapped” by their routine. Keeping a journal can also provide an additional perspective necessary to challenge the way one view themselves and their own self-worth and motivation.

Following residential programs at drug and alcohol inpatient treatment centers, continued attendance in outpatient therapy, and reaching out to sponsors or professionals are also crucial. The hardest part of overcoming burnout is recognizing the possibility of change, and even just telling another about one’s experiences can set in motion a plan to challenge this mindset and overcome burnout and maintain a healthy mindset to continue managing urges and cravings in sobriety. 

Burnout and fatigue carry heavy implications for one’s mental and emotional health, as well as sobriety. If you or a loved one is struggling with the intense effects of burnout and are looking for effective drug and alcohol treatment centers in Hawaii, Hawaii Island Recovery can create a plan for you. We offer a unique blend of addiction recovery, alcohol, and drug abuse treatment alongside a comprehensive approach to daily lifestyle and mentality. We believe recovery is a wholly transformative effort, and we understand the need to balance your physical and emotional needs alongside your sobriety. Between our luxurious residential space, comfortable and supportive atmosphere, and the unique opportunities and energies of the big island of Hawaii, we are prepared to create a place for you to challenge burnout and fatigue while focusing on your sobriety. For more information, call (866) 390-5070.