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11 Subtle Signs of Burnout You Need to Know Before It’s Too Late

by Men's Healthy List Staff
burnt out match stick

If you think burnout is a simple case of fatigue, irritability or poor concentration, then you’re missing on something. Burnout can affect you without even realizing it. If you’re too engrossed with the things you do and the crazy schedules it demands, you can operate on autopilot. You do things out of routine until you become so detached, you’re no longer aware of the people or your surroundings. You start to wonder how did you arrive at a certain place and talk to someone thinking that you’re talking to someone else.

This lack of awareness shows how seriously burnout affects your mind. If you won’t pause and look at your life from a bigger perspective, you’re at a greater risk of pushing yourself more until you experience some physical symptoms associated with a burnout like gastrointestinal problems, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.

You don’t have to wait for physical, mental or psychological symptoms of burnout to manifest if you know the less subtle signs. Here are the signs to watch out for.

1. You easily flare up

Irritability is one of the signs of burnout that’s easier to detect. You seem unable to contain yourself even for petty issues. Your neighbor’s barking dog can be a source for a major issue. Failing to reply to your text messages can lead you to accuse your partner of being uncaring. When you notice you’re more irritable than usual, try to pause and ask the people around you if they notice the same. Sometimes, it’s the people around us who can easily detect some unexplainable changes in our moods and attitudes.

2. You feel exhausted

yawning tired workerIt’s normal to feel exhausted after a heavy day’s work. But if you feel depleted of energy even if all you did the whole day was rest, then something in your life might be out of alignment. Something’s eating your energy away. Burnout exhausts you whether you’re too busy or not.

3. You get sick more often

Burnout weakens your body’s ability to defend yourself. As such, you’re prone to chronic pains like headaches, backaches or stomach aches. You’re also subject to suffer from colds and flu. In some cases, palpitations can likely occur.

4. You lack the desire for relaxation

Your body needs to get relaxed and recharged for recovery. Since burnout can affect your proper mental functions, you’re less likely to take care of yourself through rest. You’re too sold out to the idea that you need to keep going and maintain the momentum, and if not, things will crumble and you’re the one to blame. Burnout makes you feel you have not the right to stop and rest.

5. You feel not good enough

Since burnout doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, it will affect your performance. Failing to come up to expectations will harm your self-confidence. Ironically, the more you strive to work harder, the more you sabotage yourself. You tend to forget that can’t get better or productive results when you’re not your best self. And even if you hit the mark, the success would still feel empty because of the way you’re feeling about yourself.

6. You won’t take care of yourself

As we have stated above, burnout can lead to incorrect actions, especially when it comes to self-care. You’re likely to sabotage yourself the more by indulging in unhealthy habits. You start to drink more alcohol, eat more unhealthy foods, smoke, and stay late until the wee hours of the morning. This is your way of coping with the chronic stress that’s leading you to get burned out.

7. You feel dissatisfied with life in general

At some point in your life, you realize that no matter the success you enjoy, you still feel that emptiness inside. The more you try to fill that void with more successes or achievements, the more you feel dissatisfied with your career or your life. You just feel stuck no matter what you do.

8. You feel disconnected

Your work is your source of energy, it is the reason why you need to show up and give it your all. But when burnout sets in, you start to feel disconnected. The lack of interest and motivation makes you feel lost and less happy about your career and the direction of your life.

9. You become more pessimistic

Pessimism is more obvious in people who are suffering from burnout. You always see the glass as half empty. Instead of looking for the best solutions, you’re likely to look for how things can go worst. People start to get out of your way because of the negative impact you have on them.

forgets his card pin10. You easily forget things

Your ability to concentrate gets affected when you’re burned out. Your focus is geared towards dealing with the things that cause you stress. The more you’re in the fight or flight mode, the more you’re unable to focus on some other things, making you less able to concentrate. This process can weaken your memory and other cognitive functions.

11. You’re at risk of developing serious health problems

Not giving yourself enough time to rest and recharge, sabotaging yourself through unhealthy habits, and being in a negative mode almost all of the time can all lead to health problems. You might be at risk of heart diseases, diabetes, depression, and obesity.

While it’s wise to recognize the signs of burnout, it also pays to know what are the situations that trigger burnout. Knowing the triggers can provide you a clearer option of what to do in a given situation or whether or not getting yourself out of that situation for good is the best move. Here they are:

♦ Technology

Technology helps us make life a lot easier but it can also keep us always connected. Whether you’re at work or not, you have the compulsion to always check your phone for important emails from your boss or colleagues. Spending more time on technology robs off your time spend for rest and relaxation after a typically busy day.

Poor social climate at work

Being around with nasty and unkind people can make you less of a person.


Burnout parents are likely to pass this kind of suffering unto their children.

Unfair workplace practices

You’re likely to get burned out when your undeserving officemate gets promoted even when most people know you perform better.

You’re too attached to your work

Identifying yourself with your work can harm you, especially on not so good days at work.

Lack of control

When you fail to see that everything is not under your control, burnout is just around the corner.


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