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How to Understand The Signs of Burnout and Prevent It

As I’m writing this, know that I’ve been staring at my “my tasks” for the last three hours avoiding this blog post.

Why? Because I know that I’m headed into burnout.

It’s not even warranted, but I can reach out and touch the signs of burnout.

If you struggle with burnout you’re not alone, but there are things we can do to prevent it!

What is Burnout?

Overwhelmed woman

Excessive and chronic stress can lead to burnout, which is a condition of social, physical, and mental fatigue.

When you're overwhelmed, mentally depleted, and unable to satisfy relentless expectations, it's called burnout.

As the tension mounts, you tend to lose confidence in and inspiration for the job you took on in the first place.

Burnout saps your vitality and decreases your productivity, leaving you feeling weak, hopeless, pessimistic, and resentful.

You can eventually feel as though you have nothing left to offer. Burnout has negative consequences in every aspect of your life, including your home, job, and social life.

Burnout will also lead to long-term changes in health, making you more susceptible to diseases such as colds and flu.

Have you ever clocked into work and the moment you do so want to turn around and clock out immediately?

That’s a sign of burnout Felt exhausted even though you’re well-rested? That’s a sign of burnout

You don’t feel fulfilled in your work or home life? That’s a sign of burnout

Having a bad day, every day? You guessed it, that’s a sign of burnout

What are The Signs of Burnout?

Cookies and cats

Most of us have days where we feel powerless, overworked, or unappreciated, and getting out of bed takes Herculean strength.

However, if you feel this way all of the time, you can be burnt out. Burnout causes people to see their careers as becoming more difficult and exhausting and there are a few signs of burnout you can look out for.

They might become pessimistic about their working conditions and coworkers.

They can even become mentally detached from their job and become indifferent to them.

Burnout primarily affects day-to-day activities at work—or at home where someone's primary role entails caring for family members.

People who are burnt out have a pessimistic attitude about their jobs. They have trouble focusing and are often uncreative.

Physical signs of burnout may include

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  • Lowered immunity, frequent illnesses
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional signs of burnout may include

  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

Behavioral signs of burnout may include

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
  • Taking out your frustrations on others
  • Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early

Burnout develops over time. It does not occur overnight, so it can sneak up on you.

The signs of burnout are subtle at first, but become worse as time goes on.

Consider the early signs of burnout to be warning signals that something is wrong and must be tackled.

You can avoid a big collapse if you pay attention and deliberately reduce the stress.

You will finally flame out if you neglect them.

How to Deal with Burnout


Child reading a book

Seriously And I don’t mean spend time on social media or laying on your couch and still checking your emails.

Actually, RELAX.

If you do yoga, listen to music, read a book, go for a walk, or spend time with friends and family, think about what you'll do to relax and set aside time for it.

Find Your Interests

I still struggle with this, because I’m one of the lucky ones whose hobby turned into their career.

It has taken me forever to find other things that make me happy outside of the work that I LOVE; however, the new hobbies and interests I now have are paramount to my mental health and my work motivation.

Find something outside of work that you are excited about, something that is exciting, entertaining, and just keeps you going—whether it is a hobby, sporting or leisure events, or community service (along with other items we mention here, like relaxation, being able to "turn off" and participating in rewarding non-work activities).

Go Off the Grid

Coffee and Book

While our phones, tablets, and laptops can boost productivity, it can also cause job tension to spill over into family time, vacations, and social gatherings.

Set limits by shutting off phones during dinner and allocating specific hours to check messages.

If your work e-mails are in your personal cell phone remove them right now.

I mean it.

Get Your Zzz’s Recovering from excessive stress and burnout necessitates eliminating or reducing pressures on your time and energy.

One technique for replenishing certain tools is to sleep.

According to research, getting less than six hours of sleep a night is a significant risk factor for burnout, not least because sleep deprivation can affect work efficiency and productivity.

It can cause exhaustion, lower morale, make you more vulnerable to traumatic situations, affect mental performance, make you more prone to mistakes, and make juggling competing obligations more difficult.

Organize Your Workflow

Planner with Pen and Snacks

When I have even one task that isn’t well written, or the due date has passed - anything I automatically feel disorganized.

That affects my entire workday.

It sounds really small, but just by correcting and re-organizing my flow first thing in the morning - I’ve already created a less chaotic workday.

When people are burned out, they often fear that they will lose something important or that something important will fall between the cracks.

Organize your thoughts, make a to-do list (or an automated worklist), and then prioritize.

You won't have to keep reminding yourself of that stuff and you'll have mechanisms in place to do so.

Listen to Your Body

Child on Hammock

More headaches, sore shoulders, a sore neck, or more severe stomach pain are all visible symptoms that you might be feeling too much tension.

Burnout has an impact on depression, and becoming stressed will have an impact on the level of burnout—it works both ways.

So, if the problems you're having are becoming more serious, you may need to get clinical support.

Talk to a psychologist if you need more assistance than your friends and family would get.

Places to Contact to Help with Burnout

Sunset Talk

Talk to Your Boss Speak with your supervisor on any particular questions you have at the first sign of burnout if you can.

Perhaps you will collaborate to alter desires, achieve compromises, or find solutions. Have a list of what has to be completed and what can wait.

Your Circle Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, loved ones, and colleagues.

Developing connections with coworkers will help you avoid burnout on the job.

Instead of focusing on your mobile after a rest, consider interacting with your coworkers.

Also, be sure to check with human resources to see if there’s a support program in place.

If You Can’t Cope If you're feeling burnout and can't seem to shake it, or you think you may have a mental health problem like depression, seek clinical help.

Conclusion-Dealing with Burnout

Bath Soak and Candles

I wish I could recommend everyone just take a vacation. It’s relaxing.

We’re unplugged. There’s no work. It’s just- rejuvenating.

All of that said, it’s only temporary and it’s simply not feasible for everyone.

If you fall into that category, consider transforming your bathroom into your oasis.

Grab some aromatherapy candles, slice up some cucumbers and relax into some bubble bath.

I know this sounds very, very skin deep, but even if we manage to do one small thing once or twice a week it can greatly improve our overall sense of wellbeing.

Add some body and bath self-care to your oasis.