Are You Running On Empty? Red Flag Warnings To Be Wary Of

Research shows that more of us are suffering from stress than ever before. If you’re running on empty, you may not even be aware that you’re on the edge of burnout. You may assume that it’s normal to feel tired or anxious all the time. But it’s not. Sometimes, you have to put your health first, and realize the importance of slowing down, and taking stock of what’s going on. If you’re keen to keep exhaustion at bay, here are some red flag signs to be wary of.

Trouble sleeping

Do you spend all day fighting tiredness only to lie awake all night? Your body needs sleep to recover from the day’s exploits. If you don’t get enough sleep, this can affect both your body and mind. There are so many reasons why you may be finding it tough to get to sleep. This is a very common problem, but there are often effective solutions. Here are some of the most common causes of sleep disturbance:

Stress: stress will probably keep all of us awake at night at some point. When you’re stressed, you tend to have an active mind. You may be thinking all the time, and it’s difficult to stop your mind from racing. Perhaps you’ve got an important meeting coming up. At night, when you’re lying in bed, all you can think about is what’s going to happen, and whether you can impress the people around you. Maybe you’re stressed about exams or an interview. Perhaps you’re worrying about money troubles, or you’ve had an argument with your partner. There are all kinds of reasons why you may feel stressed. What’s important is recognizing triggers, and trying to nullify them. If you can act quickly, the effects of stress won’t be as profound. Sometimes, it’s as simple as having a conversation with your partner or your boss. In other cases, you may benefit from a couple of days off, or seeking professional advice. Try and get to the root of the problem, and identify solutions. The sooner you act, the better.

If you do find that you’re restless at night, try and make time for relaxing activities in the evening. Do a yoga workout, or meditate. Have a hot bath, or watch a film that always cheers you up.

Illness: at this time of year, it’s common to experience disturbed nights as a result of illness. Are you waking yourself up coughing or have you got a headache you can’t shift? Sometimes, it’s impossible to prevent illness. But try and look after yourself. Rest if you’re feeling under the weather, and keep your fluids up. If symptoms persist or they get worse, see your doctor. Injuries and chronic pain can also affect sleep quality. If you suffer from persistent pain, and it’s contributing to insomnia, see your doctor. Sometimes, taking medication can affect sleep. In this case, it may be possible to switch to a different drug.

Changes in your sleep pattern: have you been away? Are you suffering from jet lag? Or have you had a few late nights recently? People often associate sleep routines with children. However, we all have a body clock, and our bodies get used to sleeping patterns. If you change the pattern, you may find it difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep. Try and adjust your regime to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Do you lie on the sofa nodding off in front of the TV every night? If so, your body is clearly trying to tell you that it needs rest. Go to bed earlier, and stick to a time each night.

Changes in your mood

Have you noticed that you’re more emotional than usual of late? Is your mood susceptible to changes? Do you feel high one minute and low the next? Are you getting angry over nothing or feeling more irritable than usual? Changes in your mood may indicate adrenal fatigue. Your adrenal glands have an array of important roles within the body. They are responsible for putting your fight or flight reactions into action, and they help you to cope with stress. If you have rapid mood swings, this is often a clear sign that you’re doing too much, and you’re struggling to cope. This is particularly relevant if you’re normally a very calm and composed person. If you’re keen to find out more about adrenal fatigue, you can learn the signs from The Alternative Daily.

If you’ve noticed a difference in your mood, or others have commented, try and get to the bottom of what’s happened. It’s important to address things that are troubling you. Sometimes, you may just need time out. In other cases, finding a solution may require making long-term changes, such as finding a new job, for example.

Increased or decreased appetite

Alterations in your appetite may be a sign that your body is suffering from fatigue. Usually, this is associated with increased appetite and cravings for foods that are rich in sugar. You may find that after a hard day, all you want is a fatty feast. If your appetite increases, it’s common to experience weight gain. You may notice a change on the scale if you weigh yourself regularly. Or you might think that your clothes feel tighter than normal. In some cases, when you’re exhausted, you may still gain weight even if you’re exercising and eating healthily. If this happens, or you lose weight for no apparent reason, see your doctor.

Increased susceptibility to illness

Have you managed to catch every cold going over the last few weeks? Are you constantly sniffling or sneezing? If so, your immune system may not be working as efficiently as normal. Your immune system is the body’s defense mechanism. It springs into action when a threat, such as a virus, is detected. Usually, your immune system is strong enough to fight off minor ailments. However, if you find that every cold is knocking you for six, or you’re more prone to infection, you may be running on empty. Try and look after yourself. Get enough sleep, take a break, and eat a healthy and balanced diet.


Exhaustion can increase the risk of anxiety. It’s normal to feel anxious if you’ve got an interview or you’re going into hospital for an operation. But it’s not normal to experience anxiety in situations, which would usually cause you no bother at all. If you find that you’re struggling with anxiety, try and talk to somebody about your feelings. Speak to a friend or family member. Or seek help from a therapist. Often, it can be easier to chat with somebody who doesn’t know you, as you may feel that you can be more open.

Lack of concentration and focus

Are you struggling to concentrate at work? Are people talking to you without you being able to process what they’re saying? Have tasks that are usually simple become more difficult? When you’re tired, this can affect cognitive function. Take a break, and get some fresh air if you can’t focus. If you have persistent problems, ask your boss about taking some time off. Sometimes, you just need rest and a change of scenery to make you feel human again. In more extreme cases, you may need a longer period of time off.

What to do if you’re at risk of burnout

If you’ve noticed the signs listed above, you could be on the verge of burnout. Your body is giving off signs that it needs a rest, and it’s important that you take notice. If you have a job, arrange to see your boss, and ask for some time off. You may only need a couple of days. Relax at home, or get away for the weekend. If you’re worried about changes in your mood, stress or anxiety, seek advice from your doctor. They may be able to recommend treatments or put you in touch with a therapist. Often, offloading onto somebody else can make a really positive difference. Ensure that you’re getting enough sleep. If you’re struggling to get to sleep, make time for relaxation in the evenings. Try and get into a routine that means that you go to bed and get up at a similar time each day. Don’t try and soldier on if you don’t feel like you have the mental or physical strength to do so. You run the risk of making things worse, and doing serious damage to your health.

We all have days when we feel stressed and tired. However, if this is a recurrent problem, or you’ve noticed other signs and symptoms, it’s best to take action. Your body may be crying out for a break. If you’re struggling to concentrate, you have mood swings, or you’re feeling anxious or stressed, see your doctor. It’s also essential to address sleep problems. It’s normal to have a bad night’s sleep now and again. But you should never have to live with relentless insomnia. The sooner you can take time out, sleep, and recover, the better.


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