top of page

3 Unexpected Early Signs of Burnout

Updated: Sep 29, 2021

The most dangerous thing about burnout is that it often comes unnoticed.

You are most probably quite severely burnt out by the time you start showing the typical burnout signs.

But is there a way to catch it earlier?

Here are the 3 unexpected early signs of burnout to watch out for.

1. Procrastination

The state of burnout is your body’s emergency response invoked when you’ve had too much on for a while. Your brain will try and protect itself too by going into a battery-saver mode.

While the loss of memory and poor concentration are the later signs of burnout, procrastination is what you can catch early on.

Procrastination is often seen as a form of laziness or poor organisation of work. But it can also be a mechanism to protect yourself from too much stress. If you know you have a lot on and catch yourself not wanting to do much during the weekend, it could be that your brain is protecting you from burnout.

Catching yourself procrastinating?

Be radically honest with yourself, do you have a lot on indeed? Do your mind and body need rest? We all need to slow down and just be. Take a pause and go lie under a tree with a book for an hour or two.

2. Filling the void

You burn out when you lose more life energy than you get. What happens is you give, give, give without replenishing it back until you run out. And when you do, you have no energy to replenish it again.

That’s when you start filling the void with artificial energizers, like food, alcohol, and other substances.

Burnout is about physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. So, if you notice you’ve noticed any newly developed emotional eating patterns, or craving a drink, it could also be the signs of burnout.

When we are in balance and our energy levels are full, we don't need any external stimulation beyond what our bodies truly need. So if you recognised yourself in this sign, it’s time to take an honest look at your life.

‘It’s important that you don’t lie to yourself. If you lie to yourself, you end up with burnout’ - Patrick Pichette

3. Bribing yourself

Bribing yourself with new clothes, takeout, fancy experiences, and other things is another form of trying to artificially replenish your energy.

There is nothing wrong with buying something new or organising a trip, but you should notice whether it comes from a healthy and balanced place or a place of trying to bribe yourself.

Could it be you are giving yourself a carrot to keep going? Do you need to keep going or is it time to stop, re-evaluate your priorities and re-design your life to be more balanced and sustainable?

We can help

We specialize in holistic burnout recovery. Book your complimentary consultation to discuss your particular situation and the approach that will be right for you here. You can also watch the free Burnout Masterclass packed with tools & strategies for successful burnout recovery.

About the Author

Natalya Permyakova is a Purpose, Burnout Recovery Coach & Founder of Life Startup.

She is an ex-strategy consultant who has experienced burnout herself and successfully recovered. Her signature Holistic Burnout Recovery program will help you get back on track and live a balanced and fulfilling life.

You can apply to Natalya’s program here.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page