Burnout is often described as being worn out. But, you’re not just tired, overworked, depressed, or exhausted. Well, you may be. But, the core of the issue actually could go a bit deeper than these surface emotions.
Let me introduce you to 13 of the most common symptoms I see on a daily basis, so you can see if burnout is manifesting itself in more ways than just “fatigue”.
Because, if you feel like you’re simply exhausted, you might just go take a nap. And the problem is? That doesn’t fix anything...in fact, it could increase the feelings of hopelessness you may experience.
Burnout is a cumulative process, in which the alarm signal of stress goes off day in and day out for a long period of time in your body.
But it’s only supposed to go off for a brief time...until you can fight or run your way out of danger.
The stress response (especially when it’s overused) creates some fairly toxic responses in our bodies.
It suppresses the immune system, tissue repair, and digestion processes to drive blood to the arms and legs to fight or run from danger, so the longer chronic stress lasts, the more damage it does to your body and the more resources it depletes. It even increases the bad cholesterol and reduces the good kind.
So...it’s kind of important that you recognize these 143 symptoms of burnout (beyond fatigue and exhaustion), so you can take action to resolve it.
Lack of Motivation: This is when your mojo has taken a hike and you have no clue where it’s gone. You might not want to get out of bed most mornings or even want to engage in things that you once enjoyed. If you were once productive, you might find that your productivity has stooped to an all-time low.
Cognitive Struggles: Dazed and confused much? It might be burnout. If you were once a stellar problem-solver, you might find that you can’t think straight to get started on a problem, much less to solve it. Once jammin’ decision-makers, will often find themselves in states of confusion...and brain fog? Well, when you’re burned out, it’s likely your current mental state on most days.
Relationship Issues: Find yourself engulfed in battles, more often than not, with family members? Could be one of your symptoms. OR perhaps you’ve slid all the way to the other end of the spectrum and have just completely cut yourself off from your people. Either way, it’s time to do something about this burnout you’re feeling.
Self-Care Begins To Slip: Self-abuse and self-neglect has very little to do with failing to get a massage like you usually do and more to do with not taking care of your body, binging on junk food, carbs, and alcohol. It can even come in the form of not drinkig enough water! And these behaviors not only show you that burnout is likely behind them, but they also amplify the symptoms of burnout by reducing the amount of healing rest you get, pushing you farther into a hole that will be hard as hell to get out of.
Increase of Health Concerns: The way burnout manifests physically is kind of all across the board. It shows up as headaches, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, digestive issues, fainting, dizziness, loss of appetite, and lack of sleep. If left untreated it becomes difficult to ascertain which was the chicken and which was the egg. Did the headaches create the burnout or did the burnout create the headaches?
Cynicism: “What’s the freakin’ point??” is often a mentality that comes with burnout. Things you used to love, now no longer mean anything. What used to fuel pride, excitement, hope, joy, and even financial abundance soon is replaced with a pointless sensation and everything begins to feel meaningless.
Growing Exhaustion: The constant sense of exhaustion is truly a clear sign of burnout. When you just can’t get enough rest, or just can’t refill your energy reserves burnout is likely the culprit. Exhaustion is rarely only felt in the physical sense of the word. While being burned out you will likely feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. In other words, you won’t be able to sleep enough to change anything.
Decrease of Positive Emotions: Being fed up with everything, your work, your relationships, yourself, and your life, are all places burnout really rips us apart. Because a brain which is impacted by chronic stress and burnout typically becomes focused on perceived emergencies, threates, resentments, problems and attacks.
Depersonalization: The mental, spiritual, and physical exhaustion from burnout create a sense of depersonalization. The best descriptor I can create is we just don’t have the emotional bandwidth to engage and care about family, friends, and other important people in our lives. Depersonalization clearly creates a catch 22 situation because as we disengage in life people we eliminate ways to heal the burnout that we are experiencing.
Insomnia: Contrary to popular belief there are actually stages of burnout. During the early stages of burnout you will typically experience having some difficulty falling asleep one or two nights a week. While, in the later stages of burnout you will actually experience persistent and chronic insomnia. And despite the fact that you are completely exhausted you just can’t find a way to sleep.
Anxiety: It makes perfect sense to me that when you are experiencing burnout you will also experience anxiety. The lack of deep, healing sleep typically increases both anxiety and depression. In the beginning of burnout you may experience edginess, and worry. While in the later stages of burnout you will experience a constant sense of anxiety such that it becomes difficult to engage in work or personal life.
Depression: Again this is one of those symptoms that occur on the continuum. In the early stages of burnout, you may feel sadness, worthlessness, and guilt. However, as the burnout grows this symptoms shows up in the form of feeling trapped, hopeless, and severely depressed. If this is where you are currently at please seek help at once!
Anger: Being in a chronic state of “pissed off” is a tell-tale sign that your gasket has reached its highest pressure. (Again if your anger has reached the point where you are engaging in acts of violence please seek help immediately).
While this is not, by any means, an exhaustive list of burnout symptoms. These are some of the most common that you will easily and readily recognize. If you want to find out where you are on the burnout continuum I’ve created a fun little quiz for you to determine where you are at on the burnout continuum.