11 Signs of Burnout You Need to Stop Ignoring Today

I was a high achiever, perfectionist, and people-pleaser – that combination led me to complete burnout.

From the outside, my life seemed perfect – I successfully obtained my degrees, I had a good job, and good people in my life.  But on the inside, I felt dead.  I felt exhausted, unfulfilled, and unhappy.

Ladies and gentlemen say hello to burnout.

Feeling exhausted and overwhelmed? Wonder if you’re burned out? Here are 11 signs of burnout that you should stop ignoring today. #burnout #overwhelm #stress #anxiety #mentalwellness #selfcare
Source: Sylvie Tittel

The truth is, burnout doesn’t happen overnight, it happens over time, as a result of chronic stress.

For years, I was in a constant state of stress. I continuously pushed myself too far and had the most difficult time saying no to anyone about anything. I just wanted to make everyone happy.

After doing this for so long, the signs of burnout became harder for me to ignore. And I learned it’s so important to recognize these signs early, for you to avoid reaching such a deep level of burnout.

My goal, with sharing my story, is to help you better recognize signs that you may be pushing yourself too far; to encourage you to take the steps early in protecting your wellness, and to give you hope that things can and will get better.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this blog is written from personal and lived experience.  You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional mental health services, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health or mental health, you should always consult with a health-care professional.

Here are a few signs of burnout that I experienced:

These are changes I noticed in myself when my burnout reached its worst, right before I made the life-changing decision to start taking better care of myself.

# 1 – Preoccupied With Work, When Not at Work

I would worry about work all the time. I worried about work while I was at the office; I worried after I left the office; I worried throughout the night, and into the next day. I was in a constant state of worry and had no sense of balance in life.

# 2 – Difficulty Sleeping

As I became more and more burned out, my sleeping patterns changed. I was no longer able to fall asleep easily or get a good night’s rest.  I would lie in bed and worry – worry about the task I didn’t get done at work or the client I didn’t have time to call. I would wake up in a panic of having to get stuff done.  I never felt relaxed enough to sleep and always felt tense.

Related: 10 Ways To Calm Anxiety At Night

# 3 – Health Problems

When I was burned out, I felt physically unhealthy – my body felt sicker and weaker.  I would get colds more frequently. I started having high blood pressure. I would get aches and pains. I would break out more and get rashes.  Now I see that my body was desperately trying to tell me to take a breather, but I was too consumed with worry that I didn’t recognize it.

# 4 – Increased Anxiety & Panic

Although anxiety is something I always struggled with, I noticed my anxiety levels increase with burnout.  My anxiety felt more intense, and I was less able to cope with it. I would panic more and experience panic attacks.  Even smaller things, things that would never bother me before, started to make me anxious.

# 5 – Isolation

I began to isolate myself from friends and family. I pulled away from my co-workers.  I would cancel plans and avoid others, just because I felt too exhausted to go out and spend time with them. Everything felt like a chore, and I was too exhausted for it all.  The thought of taking the time to spend with others seemed like time I didn’t have.  And it became difficult to be supportive to others because I felt like I had nothing else left in me to give.

# 6 – Lack of Motivation

I lost motivation in everything.  Although I worried about work, and always wanted to be perfect at everything I did, I no longer felt the same motivation to succeed.  My thoughts were more preoccupied with worry than with motivation.  I didn’t have the energy to feel motivated.  Motivation exhausted me.

Related: Recovering From Burnout: The First & Hardest Lesson

# 7 – Consistent Exhaustion

I was always tired.  My tank was running on empty.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  I would leave work for the day, get home, and immediately crash on the couch for the night.  I lacked the energy to do anything.  Everything exhausted me, and even the simplest things seemed like huge, overwhelming tasks.  And because I couldn’t sleep well, I never got the rest I needed to re-charge and re-energize.  I was in a vicious cycle of exhaustion.

# 8 – Increased Negativity

I became a negative person.  I started to have a more negative outlook on life.  My negative self-talk intensified.  I had difficulty seeing the positive side of anything.  I had always been a “glass half full” kind of person, but that all changed as I became more and more burned out.  I lost my optimism and became a total pessimist.

# 9 – Lack of Concentration & Forgetfulness

Because my thoughts were on overdrive, and my worry was so overwhelming, I started to have difficulty concentrating on tasks, and would often forget things. My stress was getting in the way of everything, and I struggled with focusing my attention enough to concentrate.  And because I was worried about a million things at once, it became impossible for me to remember everything. My brain was too preoccupied with anxious thoughts, and this took a toll on my memory.

# 10 – Loss of Appetite

Eating started to feel like a chore.  It felt like one more thing to do on my never-ending To-Do list.  I no longer felt pleasure in food.  I would eat because it was something I knew I should do, and I rarely felt hungry.

# 11 – Never In The Present Moment

I would struggle with being present.  It felt as though I was an empty shell – my body was present, but my mind was not. My mind was always preoccupied with something else.  I had difficulty focusing on the moment because I was always in my head, stressing over something in my mind.

Related: Guided Imagery For Stress + 6 Free Exercises

The Takeaway

The truth is, I’m in a much better place than I was at the time of my peak burnout. And it’s because I finally decided to make my well-being a priority, and I am immensely grateful each day for doing that.

And you can too.

If you recognize these signs in yourself, I am proud of how far you’ve come.  Recognizing is a big first step.  Now that you’ve noticed signs of burnout, it’s time to make a change in your life. You NEED to make your wellness a priority today.

Practice relaxation and mindfulness, start setting up healthy boundaries, reach out to others for support, or talk to a counsellor.

Make the decision today to love yourself enough to care about your well-being.

Thanks so much for stopping by today <3

What signs of burnout have you experienced? Let me know below.

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  1. 11.28.18
    Jody Olson said:

    Hi Amanda, thanks for sharing your signs of being overwhelmed. You just totally described what I’m feeling! Just being able to put a name to it makes me feel better. Between starting a new business (pet grooming salon), being the main caregiver for my son’s puppy, having parents in ill health, and the holidays have sent me into a downward spiral. I’m actually excited to start researching ways to take better care of myself. Thank You!!! PS I wouldn’t have found you if it weren’t for Pinterest!

    • 11.29.18
      Amanda said:

      Thank you, Jody! I’m so happy you found this helpful. It sounds like you’ve got so much going on, I’m so glad to hear you’re going to try to take better care of yourself. And thanks for letting me know how you found this site, that’s always useful for me to know. Wishing you health & happiness <3

  2. 1.11.19
    Joni said:

    Hi Amanda, Thank you for this wonderful advice! Unfortunately, this advice came to late for my husband, he had a total mental breakdown from all the feelings you described above and no self care! I’m writing to let others know how important it is get the help you need before it’s to late.
    Here are some of the things he was going through and the warning signs: First let me just say that my husband has been a wonderful, devoted partner and provider for our 21 years of marriage, he was always happy, positive, outgoing, spiritual and loving. ALWAYS! I never in a million years, expected this could happen to him! He was 49 in March of 2016. He was a highly intelligent IT director for 10 years, he was having more anxiety than usual, he was irritable, later, he told me he would drop to his knees in the shower and just cry, he could not enjoy a vacation without work always on his mind, always wanted to be home, he was a people pleaser and could never say no to anyone who needed him and he didn’t stop from 7am to 10 pm, he did sleep good though. Everyone LOVED HIM!! That day in March, he got fired from the job that he loved. Within 6 weeks, he describes it as being in a black hole, he could see a little light at the top but couldn’t pull himself out, he was afraid to go to the mailbox, could not think of how to use his drill that he’s used for 20 years, the pupils if his eyes were very wide and black, he said he was in so much pain from fear that he tried to think of a way to kill himself and make it look like an accident so I could still collect the insurance money! He would run to the church to take to our priest, he would lay on the deck ALL DAY praying before he finally told me something is terribly wrong. I immediately called our family Dr. He said, it’s normal for this to happen when someone is overstressed and had lost his identity, he had used up all the seritonin in his brain, gave him Zoloft and said you’ll be fine in 6 months! Well here we are 32 months later and he is still not well. 15 antidepressants later, ECT, eating properly, therapy, many books read on the subject and sing what they said to do like meditation and exercise has not brought him back to me. He’s better on meds but he’s just existing he said. I’m still searching on how to get him well again. In the meantime, I’m a mess with the stress of losing the love of my life, taking care of him (he is childlike in a lot of ways now and forgetful) the bills, the house, the taxes and on and on! Please! Learn from my experience and seek help sooner rather than later if Amanda’s advice doesn’t help you! God bless and keep you all!

    • 1.12.19
      Amanda said:

      Thank you Joni for sharing this. You are absolutely right, seeking help sooner is so important. My hope is that your husband fully recovers very soon. Sending you love and well wishes.

  3. 3.21.19
    Dipti said:

    After reading this post , I felt that I had written about myself , it was my story , my state of psychological trauma . I felt that someone was also suffering like me . Thanks a lot for being someone who acknowledge the state of psychological trauma.

    • 3.21.19
      Amanda said:

      Thank you Dipti! My hope with sharing my story was for others to feel less alone. I also wanted to inspire Hope, because things Do get better. I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know you also related to this level of burnout. Although it is difficult, recovery is absolutely possible. I wish you health, happiness, continued self-care & endless self-love. All the very best <3

  4. 12.10.19
    Toya said:

    I relate to all of these…..I feel sad

    • 12.11.19
      Amanda said:

      Hi Toya,
      Do not feel sad. It’s an incredibly important step to recognize your burnout. As soon as I did, I was able to start making healthier choices for myself. You can absolutely get through this.

      And there are countless resources out there to help you along the way. Here’s just one helpful article about overcoming burnout. It includes 10 steps to reignite your flame and shine brightly once more. ⇾ https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/high-octane-women/201104/overcoming-burnout

      Talking to someone or counselling can also be helpful to you during this time. Seeking out affordable counselling or other resources at your local community health centre may be an option as well if finances were a concern.

      Wishing you endless strength and wellness my resilient friend <3

      xx, Amanda

  5. 12.21.19
    Gwen Van Surksum said:

    Numbers 1-8 could’ve been written by me. As an emotional eater, I am the opposite of you. I eat, and mostly unhealthy food. The weight gain just makes me more anxious and less healthy. As soon as I read #1 I knew we were relatable. My goal is to address this in a positive way in 2020, and will reference your experience to find strength and support. Thank you.

    • 12.23.19
      Amanda said:

      Thank you Gwen. Although similar, we all experience burnout in our own ways, and I thank you so much for sharing your story with me. We can find strength and support from each other, and I have no doubt you will accomplish your goal in 2020. Wishing you health and happiness in the New Year and all the years to come. <3

  6. 1.19.20
    Stefanie said:

    This was me to a tee- and scary to read. I had no idea that is what I was going through- until I broke and quit my corporate job of over 18 years in upper management. My identity was my job and how busy I was or how hard I was working. It’s been almost a year now and I’m still getting over the horrible impact it had on my life and wellbeing. I did it to myself though- the constant people-pleasing and perfectionism. I would often be the last one to leave the building at night and go in on weekends to work- I just couldn’t stop I was addicted. Thanks for posting this. I am pinning other women can hopefully read this before it’s too late for them.

    • 1.21.20
      Amanda said:

      Thank you for sharing your story with me Stefanie. And thank you for sharing this post. Since starting this blog, I’ve learned that burnout is even more common than I believed. I’m happy to hear you’ve removed yourself from a situation that wasn’t healthy for you. And I’m wishing you all the joy and wellness in the world. xx, Amanda