Living an unbalanced life doesn’t feel good. It feels tense, like you’ve got stress all the time…like you’re developing an ulcer, because you may well be. And it feels nervous and like something is missing.
So how can you tell if any of that applies to you? Your life is probably unbalanced if you experience one or more of these feelings:
- You feel constantly physically, mentally, and emotionally drained
- You really believe your options are constrained and that you can’t influence situations in your life or even run your own life anymore
- The glass always looks half empty – you’re always more pessimistic than optimistic
- You’re a spectator instead of a participant – instead of acting, you’re constantly reacting to situations
- You sense that life happens—or comes at you fast—instead of you actively engaging in it
- You feel burned-out and no longer care about things that used to matter to you.
Burn-out, in particular, is insidious because it masks itself as many other things: plain old tiredness, boredom, laziness, and a “don’t care” attitude.
What do you look like if you’re at risk of burn out? Well, you might be a workaholic or a prisoner of success. Your plate is always overflowing and you always want to take on more. Yet, you have little or no time for a private life. You are so busy running around that you constantly feel scattered and overwhelmed.
Since you can’t say “no” because the expectations are external, you are constantly pulled in every direction. At work, you’re overly burdened; at home, you’re overly booked.
Setting boundaries remains a challenge and your health and well-being are beginning to suffer…maybe you’re getting an ulcer, or heartburn, or perhaps your sleep is deteriorating and you’ve got insomnia because you can’t turn your brain off at night.
At this point, if you’ve settled into your professional life, you are complacent or at most mildly satisfied with what’s going on at work, but you realize that the work isn’t your true passion.
You probably realize you’ve made a Faustian bargain, because you traded your dreams for a guarantee of comfort and security. Sometimes you wonder what might have been had life taken a different course.
In particular, the symptoms of burn-out include:
- No enthusiasm, even if you had it previously
- Feeling dissatisfied
- Emotionally worn out
- Can’t focus or concentrate
- Working hard, yet getting very little done
- Nothing feels fun anymore
Maybe you regret the moments you missed, yet you realize that you can never recapture the times you sacrificed with those who mean the most to you. You want to tell the young people of today to slow down, be mindful of their actions, guard their dreams and remember that “family and health always come first.”
So how about taking that advice to heart and starting to take steps to balance your life? It’s never too late!