Updated: Sep 16, 2021
Do you think you might be burnt out but not sure if you should be worried?
These are the signs of burnout that you should not ignore.
What is burnout?
Burnout is an epidemic of the 21st century. We are stressed, overworked, pushing too hard and our system’s in a state of constant override.
According to the World Health Organization, burnout is a syndrome, related to the “chronic
workplace stress that has not been successfully managed."
While the official definition refers to workplace-related stress only, burnout is a wider concept.
It can happen if you have too much on at work, struggling with parental responsibilities, or simply having too much on for too long.
Burnout is not just about having a lot on. It is about not listening to your body and not addressing the early signs of the imbalance.
Press that ‘override’ button one too many times, and you will burn out.
What are the signs of burnout?
How do you know if you’ve burnt out?
Here are the burnout symptoms that you can check against.
Sign 1. Exhaustion
One of the most common signs of burnout is emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion.
Do you notice any change in the level of your physical energy? Could it be that going to the gym regularly was no biggie and now it seems nearly impossible?
Or maybe you really struggle to find the motivation to do anything.
You have all those hobbies, dreams, and projects you want to pursue, but can’t find the energy to do any of them.
Those are the early warning signs you need to pay close attention to. How long has it been going on? Do you indeed have too much on or do you struggle to deal with your regular life?
Sign 2. Bad Concentration
Do you ever catch yourself staring at the screen re-reading that sentence yet another time? Or does it take you longer than usual to finish that presentation?
When you are burnt out, your brain operates in battery-saver mode and switches off anything else that is not critical to your life-sustaining activity.
Concentrating on work-related tasks is not critical to your survival, so the brain turns it off.
Sign 3. Poor Memory
Memory is another function that gets shut off when you burn out. You should get worried if you find yourself forgetting important appointments or missing important milestones.
This is one of the later signs of burnout that usually comes after you’ve experienced exhaustion and concentration issues for some time.
Sign 4. Lack of Motivation
Are you someone who always has lots of balls in the air excited about the next big thing?
But suddenly you find yourself unable to get anything done and feeling completely blank?
If you find yourself binge-watching Netflix instead of pursuing your regular projects and hobbies, that might be another symptom of burnout.
Sign 5. Bitterness & Cynicism
Do you catch yourself distancing from your job?
Or maybe suddenly you turned all bitter and cynical, which is completely out of character for you?
Feeling negative about your job and your life, in general, is another warning sign you should be wary of.
This is your brain’s coping mechanism designed to stop you from pursuing your career ambitious as passionately to prevent your body from any further exhaustion.
Sign 6. Sleep loss
Do you struggle to switch off or calm yourself down? Or lost your sleep completely?
Losing your sleep is typically one of the most warning signs of burnout and one that should not be ignored.
According to neuroscience, every sleepless night creates permanent and irreversible damage to your brain.
Sign 7. Physical Symptoms
Have you developed any unexplained physical symptoms?
Headaches, stomach aches, belly bloating, anything else?
You’ve been to the doctors and got everything checked, with nothing to worry about.
Yet, the symptoms persist and you have no idea where they come from?
This is your body telling you it’s time to slow down.
I think I am burnt out, what do I do?
Recognized yourself in some or all of these symptoms?
The approach to burnout recovery is highly individual.
But here are the 3 steps you need to take to get back on track:
Step 1. Fix the basics.
These are the immediate things you need to do to get back into the functioning human capacity.
Eliminate the source of your burnout. If it’s your job - take a break. If it’s your parental responsibility - ask for help. If it’s a little bit of everything - reduce the number of things you do on all fronts.
Sleep, eat, exercise, repeat. Place your intentional focus on the foundation. Eat wholesome meals, prioritize regular gentle exercise and get enough sleep. This is what really helped me to feel better quickly.
Spend lots of time in nature. Nature is the most powerful healing resource. Walk barefoot, listen to the sounds of nature, sit by the river, lie under a tree.
Slow down. Burnout is a sign you’ve had too much on for too long. It’s time to slow down. Do less, be, less. You don’t have to be the best at everything, you can just be.
Step 2. Regain your joy.
Once you’re functioning again at a minimum level, it’s time to replenish your inner resource with the things that bring you joy.
What brings you joy? Painting? Singing? Playing with a dog? Watching kids play? Walking in the mountains? Whatever it is, do that. A lot of it.
Step 3. Re-assess your priorities.
Burnout is a way to tell you something is not working. Once you’ve recovered, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate your life design. You can fix your burnout this time. But how can you make sure it doesn’t happen again? Take a step back and re-assess your life’s priorities.
We can guide you to redesign your life to be more balanced and sustainable. A life free from burnout. Life on your terms. You can apply to join our 12-step Life Strategy program here.
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.
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.