Recognizing the Signs of Burnout


More and more people throw around the terms “stressed out” and “burned out” as if they mean the same thing. The truth is, burnout is more severe than everyday stress, and it doesn’t just disappear after a yoga class or a nice long weekend.

Researchers have said “stress is to burnout as feeling a little blue is to clinical depression.” Burnout can last months and take a much greater toll, personally and professionally. It’s the accumulation of chronic stress that creeps up on you over time, which can make it really tough to recognize before it’s too late.

So, what are some warning signs? While you once had energy, enthusiasm and passion, you’ve become exhausted, frustrated and disillusioned. You’re accustomed to non-stop meetings, social engagements, and neverending to-do lists. And any time you have a block of free space, you rush to fill it. Your light is growing dim, and you can’t seem to muster the energy to do anything about it.

If this sounds familiar, you’re probably well on your way to burning out.

Burnout is a stressful way to live and not that sustainable. Physical and emotional symptoms are clear signs of a life that’s out of balance. Rather than beating yourself up for getting burned out in the first place, why not use this information as the impetus to try something a little different? Even small actions can help.

Here are a few things you can try:

  1. Practice saying “no,” both personally and professionally.
  2. Take breaks more often.
  3. Turn off your devices whenever you can.
  4. Delegate as much as possible.
  5. Walk instead of taking a Lyft.

Look, burnout is no joke. And it doesn’t help that we live in a culture that encourages a work ethic where it’s practically inevitable. These are just a few tools that could provide some relief. It might require putting some bigger changes in motion, but knowing and recognizing that you’re burned out is half the battle. 

Image Credit: Hernan Sanchez/Unsplash