10 Signs You Are Headed for Burnout (and How to Prevent It)

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Unless you are a robot or another type of machine, if you work too much without taking time to get various types of rest, you will most likely experience burnout. After all, balancing your personal life, social life, and professional life can be very exhausting, overwhelming, and stressful to anyone.

As you struggle to complete all your tasks and take care of your other responsibilities, you may start to experience some of the signs that indicate you are headed for burnout which can affect the quality of your life. It is time you started taking better care of yourself and putting your health and well-being first.

Having too much to do not only affects your physical health but also your mental and emotional health. And since many people often confuse being burnt out with simply being tired after a long day, it will be good for you to learn how to recognize the signs you are headed for burnout and what to do if you are exhibiting them.

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10 Signs You Are Headed for Burnout

  1. You feel physically and emotionally exhausted

Feeling drained and worn out both emotionally and physically is one of the most obvious signs that you are headed for burnout. This often happens as a result of working too much or feeling stressed either by work-related issues or personal problems.

When you are experiencing burnout, you are more than just tired. It can be extreme such that even taking a day off to rest may not be effective at helping you recharge your energy and recover from burnout.

You will feel exhausted all the time and lack the energy and enthusiasm to do anything that requires any extra effort.

READ ALSO: 10 Ways to Unwind After a Stressful Day

  1. You always think about work

You just came home from your workplace, but you still cannot stop thinking about all the tasks and goals you haven’t accomplished yet.

As a result, you may become a victim of hustle culture, where you will probably start to put work above all things, thus neglecting other aspects of your life in the process.

If you are always thinking about work instead of doing other things such as resting, spending time with your family and friends, or doing your hobbies, you are showing another of the signs you are headed for burnout.

When you are headed for burnout, the 24 hours you have each day will never be enough for you to complete all your tasks.

  1. You no longer enjoy things you used to love

Whether it is your job or hobbies you used to love, you will know you are exhibiting signs you are headed for burnout when these things no longer bring you joy.

At work, you can’t wait for office hours to be over. You don’t want to spend more time on a task than necessary and only do what is required of you because you don’t love what you do.

As for your hobbies and other things you are passionate about, constantly thinking and stressing about work could distract you and steal the joy you get from them or leave you no time to do anything else other than work.

You will lose your passion for these activities because you will always think that you could be putting your time to much better use doing work-related tasks.

If you want to live a more fulfilling life, you need to find a work-life balance.

  1. You feel detached from yourself and the world

One of the negative effects of burnout is that it can make you feel disconnected not only from yourself but also from your loved ones and colleagues.

You may push people away because you are too tired and have no energy to engage with them or if you have become depressed due to your work-related problems.

You could also feel isolated because, unfortunately, when you are going through a difficult time, most people often think they are the only ones struggling and that others can’t understand or help them.

Another reason why you might feel detached from other people when you are headed for burnout is that you are probably just going through the motions and not living in the moment.

READ ALSO: Feeling Disconnected? 6 Ways to Connect with Your Inner Self

  1. You are becoming pessimistic about everything

It is not odd to have a negative opinion about something if you don’t like it. However, if it seems like nothing is going well for you and everything has been feeling negative lately, it might be time to take a step back and check whether these could be some signs you are headed for burnout.

When you are experiencing burnout, you might become more pessimistic, unhappy, and resentful towards others and even yourself.

Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels
  1. You are less productive at work

Unfortunately, working too much doesn’t always guarantee increased productivity. It might just do the opposite.

If you are overworked and exhausted all the time, your performance and productivity will be affected negatively.

Burnout slows you down by draining your energy and making you feel unmotivated to work, hence reducing your productivity.

You may be spending more time working, but the quality and quantity of your work will be lower than when you were not showing signs of burnout.

READ ALSO: 5 Ways to Enhance Your Productivity While Working from Home

  1. You keep getting sick

Your body is a traitor and will often show outwardly how it is being treated.

If you have been overworking or feeling anxious and stressed lately, your body may try to alert you that you are pushing it too far or not leading a healthy lifestyle through unexplainable physical illnesses.

Experiencing muscle aches, repetitive stress injuries, frequent headaches, and lingering colds without any other possible causes are some of the signs you are headed for burnout.

  1. You are cranky and irritable

When you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed, it can be harder to manage your emotions or have the patience to tolerate other people.

If you are getting easily annoyed about small things, having emotional outbursts, starting arguments, or picking fights with others over minor issues, these could be signs you are headed for burnout.

Avoid being the one causing all this drama by choosing to step back and take time away from work and other stressors to prevent or recover from burnout.

READ ALSO: 10 Signs You Need to Take a Mental Health Day (and how to spend it)

  1. You are having trouble sleeping

Have you been getting enough sleep lately? Insomnia and having an irregular sleeping schedule or pattern are among the early signs you are headed for burnout.

Since burnout often occurs when you have too much to do, you may feel restless, anxious, or stressed when you are unable to accomplish all you set out to do, which can make it harder for you to get a good night’s sleep.

You will probably be busy coming up with your to-do list for the next day. You may also opt to sacrifice sleep in favor of working late at night, which will make you feel mentally and physically exhausted the next day due to sleep deprivation.

READ ALSO: 10 Signs of Negative Energy in Your Home (and How to Get Rid of It)

  1. You lack self-confidence

One of the negative effects of burnout on your life is that it will make you feel like you are not doing enough, even though you are putting in so much effort.

You could start engaging in negative self-talk about how much of a failure you are for not being able to finish all your tasks for each day or not performing well.

All this could make you lack confidence in your abilities and start doubting whether you are doing things the right way or putting in enough effort.

When you start feeling inadequate at everything you are doing despite stretching yourself so thin, you need to recognize that these could be signs you are headed for burnout and do something about it.

READ ALSO: 7 Best Power Poses to Boost Self-Confidence (and How They Work)

How to Prevent Burnout

  1. Take a break when you need to, for however long it will take for you to be at a better place physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  2. Allocate time in your schedule to spend with family and friends.
  3. Make time for your hobbies and other activities you love.
  4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, avoiding substance abuse, etc.
  5. Start putting yourself first and allocate Me time in your schedule.
  6. Reduce your workload.
  7. Change careers or look for a new job.
  8. Ask for help from your employers or a therapist when you need it.

The Bottom Line

In the fast-paced world we live in today, it is easy to get distracted by the many tasks you have to do and everything else that is going on around you, and thus, you may fail to recognize the signs when you are headed for burnout. However, you only have one body and one life, and you need to take good care of them.

Most people experience the signs of burnout but ignore the signals their body is sending them because they assume they are just tired. But taking burnout lightly can cost you a lot as you will be putting your health at risk.

By pushing yourself too far and working too much you will be digging yourself an early grave. No job is worth your health or life.

If you have a busy schedule, you now know how to recognize the signs you are headed for burnout and what to do to prevent it or recover from it. Your future self will thank you if you start taking better care of yourself as early as now. It is self-preservation.

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  1. Weirdly enough, I think that burnout only happens when I’m pursuing things I’m not interested in. Give me what I like, and I can go on for years without ever feeling the slightest symptoms. So I guess for me, if I’m headed for burnout, then I probably am doing something wrong with my life. Thanks for this post!

    1. That’s interesting! Personally, I get burnt out whether I love what I’m doing or not. And since I have the tendency to get carried away when doing something I love, I have a higher chance of experiencing burnout then.
      Thank you so much for reading, Stuart!❤

    1. Take a break if you need to, Jude. You will feel much more refreshed, recharged, and motivated after. But don’t take a very long one because that is risky too.
      I recently felt the same with blogging + my other responsibilities and took a 1-week break. I feel better now.

  2. Thank you for the reminder. I needed to hear this. I often push myself too far, a lot more than I should.

    I am glad that I have discovered your blog. 🙂

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