5 Signs You Are Experiencing Burnout

Feeling drained and exhausted at work? Noticing you have little patience for work politics, bosses who don’t seem to get it, and even your own mistakes? If you’re experiencing burnout, you’ve likely stopped feeling like yourself. 

Feeling burnt out at work is not necessarily the same thing as disliking your job. Like many people who experience burnout, you probably take pride in what you do. You push yourself. And just when you start to realize you need a break, another thought pops up saying, “work harder, keep pushing.”

But it’s only a matter of time until hard work catches up with you. You’ve stopped feeling like you can handle everything. In fact, it feels like you could fall apart at any moment. You tell yourself all sorts of negative things: “I’m lazy, not good enough, etc.” Burnout is real. And the worst part is, you may not notice it until it starts to take over your life. Here’s the good news: it’s reversible. And knowing the signs can help. 

5 Signs You Are Experiencing Burnout

1. Feeling frustrated and irritable often. 

You may be someone who typically keeps it cool, but lately things have really started to get to you. Small mistakes people make at work send you over the edge. You just don’t feel like you have the time for it and inside you’re frustrated. When the body and mind are run down with burnout, there is little room for much else. 

2. Not caring. 

This one really bothers people. Feeling “over it” isn’t just a funny catchphrase you say to your spouse or coworker. Lately, when you say you’re over it, you’re really over it. You just want to turn your phone off, drive to a hotel somewhere, and watch twelve hours of sci-fi movies. But alas, your strong work ethic would never let you get away with that. Especially in the middle of the work week. But boy is it hard to think of much else. 

3. Waking up exhausted. 

Sleep is not working anymore. You wake up tired, and you don’t know why. It’s likely because if you never do anything you enjoy, it’s pretty hard to feel restored. For example, if you’re not taking the time to watch movies, read books, or spend time outside, you’re bound to feel disconnected from your life. And your body is going to find ways to tell you.

4. Having anxiety attacks.

It’s one thing to worry, it’s another thing to have anxiety symptoms, like panic attacks, performance anxiety, worst-case-scenario thinking, or feeling on edge and restless. If you’re honest, your relationship with anxiety has started to change. You’ve just never felt this keyed up before. 

5. Becoming cynical…like, in a dark way.

For lots of people, that edgy sense of humor is a great quality. But when you’re burnt out, it can start to take over, and you might feel your sense of purpose being drained. You start to think, “Was I always this negative?” “What am I doing with my life?” or “Maybe I just don’t like working…at all.”

Possible Causes of Burnout 

  1. Being a Type A, perfectionist, go-getter. 

Having a Type A personality has a lot of benefits and is often rewarded. However, when you push yourself too hard, you’re probably going to hit a wall. Because constantly holding yourself to such high standards is eventually going to lead to your brain saying, “stop the train, I want to get off.” 

  1. People pleasing.

The cumulative effect of always pleasing others over a long period of time can take its toll (especially at work). Taking on the work of others and struggling to say no at work can have a cost: your sanity. 

  1. Lack of support at work and dysfunctional management.

There are times when it really is the system. Not to say that’s a winning attitude or anything, but there really are times when the system starts to impact your mental health. If you’re Type A or a perfectionist, you probably already struggle with putting everything on yourself. Adding a disorganized workplace only increases that burden. 

How To Cure Burnout

This is the part where I tell you to practice self-care and say no. And then you close this burnout blog and think…“if only.” I know how hard it can be to even imagine things like self-care when you are consumed by work stress. Or you know you need to say no, but you find yourself taking on too much before you even realize it. The truth is, to really solve burnout, you need to go deeper. 

I believe the best way to help with burnout is a personalized approach. To start speaking with a therapist who specializes in work stress, so you can get to the root of the problem. So you can begin to take deep breaths, learn to say no, and create the space to live the life you want. 

To get to the bottom of your burnout and find relief, give me a call or fill out the contact form today at Open Pathways Counseling, where I specialize in helping people with work stress learn to take care of themselves––no matter how stressful their job is. (Spoiler alert: taking care of yourself actually improves job performance.)