15 Burnout Symptoms to Look Out For & What to Do About Them

Worried that you may be experiencing chronic stress or even burnout? In this guide, we’re going to go through some of the most common and lesser-known burnout symptoms that we see at The Anti-Burnout Club. We believe knowledge is power! The more you know what the signs and symptoms of burnout look like, the quicker you’ll be able to prevent it from creeping in.

Did you know, we cover plenty of helpful tools for burnout, stress and overwhelm on our free app? Download it on iOS or Android.

The 5 Most Common Burnout Symptoms

First, we’ll go through some of the most common signs and symptoms you may experience if you’re feeling burnt out. These are signs to look out for that generally get overlooked due to people generally attributing them to something else – for example, other mental health conditions. Common burnout symptoms include:

  • Exhaustion – Physical and mental fatigue from feeling chronically stressed for too long! If you’re burning out, you may feel constantly tired and struggle to recharge your energy levels.
  • Lack of enthusiasm – If you can’t get excited about something you used to love doing (hobbies, passions or your job), then this may be because you’re emotionally drained and burnt out.
  • Feeling cynical and snappy – When you’re stressed, it becomes easier to take out your negative feelings on those around you. If you notice yourself feeling cynical, more negative than usual, or snapping at loved ones, it could be burnout.
  • Loss of motivation – If you’re going through a lot of work-related stress, you may find it really hard to get motivated or to be able to stay productive. This could also manifest itself in your home life too.
  • Overwhelm and struggling to cope – If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed or battling with emotional exhaustion, then this may be due to burnout. This is one of the most common burnout signs we see at The Anti-Burnout Club!
Woman suffering from burnout symptoms like exhaustion

5 Physical Symptoms of Burnout

Burnout doesn’t just impact mental wellbeing, it can affect physical health too. High levels of chronic stress can impact the body in many different ways, including:

Stress and burnout can lead to long-term health issues if not treated, so it’s really important that you speak to a medical professional if you’re worried you may be burning out.

5 Other Signs of Chronic Stress and Burnout

We’ve looked at some of the most common signs and physical symptoms you may experience, but there are many other hidden warning signs that something isn’t right. Here are some of the lesser-known burnout symptoms to watch out for.

  • Detachment and isolation – Burnout may cause you to pull away from friends and family. It may be because you don’t want to burden them or because you don’t feel supported. If you’re isolating yourself, this could be a burnout symptom.
  • Making mistakes you wouldn’t usually make – If you find yourself ‘dropping the ball,’ then this could be due to exhaustion. Particularly if they’re mistakes you wouldn’t usually make.
  • Low self-esteem – Some people who experience burnout may find themselves struggling with self-esteem issues. This could be feelings of helplessness or unworthiness. These symptoms can be made worse by some of the others, such as isolating yourself from others.
  • Lack of creativity or inspiration – Those who work in creative roles or have creative hobbies may notice this symptom. If you’re usually bursting with ideas but find yourself struggling for inspiration, it could be due to burnout.
  • Addictions – Not just to things like alcohol and drugs, but anything that numbs you. This could be doom-scrolling, Netflix binges, or emotional eating.

Some of these signs of burnout are very similar to depression, which is why many of them often get missed. Burnout can cause feelings of low mood and many similar symptoms to depression, although there are some key differences. If you’re ever in doubt, make sure you reach out for help and the correct treatment. 

How to Recover from Burnout

 Now you’re more aware of the signs and symptoms, you have the knowledge needed to try and reduce your risk of burnout. Recovering from burnout can be a long and difficult process, that needs the right professional help and treatment. However, if you’re just beginning to notice the signs then it may be that you can slow down the process before it’s too late. 

Read our guide to help prevent burnout

If it’s gone past the point of prevention, then please speak to your doctor or a mental health professional who can help you put together the right recovery plan. It may be that you’ll need some proper time off work, particularly if it’s work-related stress that’s caused the burnout.

It may also be that your symptoms are more in keeping with depression and anxiety, in which case a therapist or mental health professional can help you identify what treatment is needed.

How to Help Someone Else With Burnout

What if someone you know is burning out? How can you provide them with the right support when they need it most? If you believe someone you know is suffering from burnout, the first step is to ask them if they want to talk about it. Some people may not be ready right away, and that’s okay. However, letting them know that you’re there for them will open up the conversation for when they are ready.

The person who is struggling with burnout may already have low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness already. When you speak to someone about your concerns, ensure you’re not doing so in a way that could make these feelings worse. There’s no blame to lay here! Some ways to start these conversations include:

  • I notice you’ve been really busy with work recently. I can imagine that’s quite stressful! Do you want to talk about it?
  • Wow, you’re juggling so much with home and work, etc. Is it quite overwhelming? Do you want to talk about it?
  • You’ve got so much on your plate, I don’t know how you do it all! If you ever want to talk, know that I’m here.
  • I’ve been struggling to cope with work and all my responsibilities recently. Do you ever feel like that?

Essentially, you’ll know how best to speak to the other person, so use these as a guideline only.

From a toxic work environment to overwhelming responsibilities at home, there are many different causes of burnout. Understanding the warning signs can help you spot any underlying issues before it becomes too late. It then becomes easier to avoid burnout in the first place – or recover from burnout if needed. Finally, if you know other people with burnout, use some of our top tips to help get the conversation started.

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