The top 7 signs of burnout

In a world of endless scrolling, push notifications, and media overload – New Yorkers aren’t the only ones not sleeping, we’re now living on a planet that doesn’t sleep

The top 7 signs of burnout

Business Strategy


by Nina Zhang

A hot topic of late has been self-care. In a world of endless scrolling, push notifications, and media overload – New Yorkers aren’t the only ones not sleeping, we’re now living on a planet that doesn’t sleep. There is definitely a point where the pendulum swings too far, and the ‘busy’ culture we find ourselves in can often sway from productive to destructive. It’s important to take care of ourselves and the people around us, so we’ve gathered together seven key indicators of workplace burnout. We can’t prevent (or deal with) what we don’t recognise, so read on to help #savealife!

Wait, what?

If you’re finding it harder and harder to concentrate at work, this suggests your brain is finding it hard to cope with stress overload! As put by David Ballard from the American Psychological Association, “when stress becomes chronic, this narrow focus continues for a long time and we have difficulty paying attention to other things”. If everything is going in one ear and out the other, you may want to reassess what is going on (in the workplace and beyond!).

My motivation is…non-existent

Deflation and a consistent lack of enthusiasm for getting to (and being at) work is another main marker of burnout. Feeling like everyday is a marathon isn’t normal! As revolutionary as it sounds, you should want to be at work and enjoy what you do for a living (albeit not 24/7). If you’re spending 9 hours everyday feeling like you’re in surgery, you may be experiencing burnout.

My legs, my back

Listen to your body! If your body is reacting negatively, this is a major sign you’re overworking yourself. Everyone is different, but common reactions include physical exhaustion, sweating when you haven’t been exercising, insomnia, frequent headaches, excessive hair fall out and other stress-related illnesses. If you’ve been seeing these responses in your body, it’s a serious sign you need to step back and re-evaluate!

Hot and cold

In a similar vein, your mood speaks volumes. Are you noticing that you’re overly irritable, snapping a lot and getting involved in arguments at a higher rate than usual? This may mean you’re well on your way to burnout. Whilst having a range of emotions is part of being human, if you’re finding yourself swinging from anger and rage to sadness and depression on the reg, you may be suffering from emotional exhaustion. To avoid falling off the cliff, it’s key you pick up on the swinging early!

One man island and/or wolf pack

A step further from emotional pendulums are the behavioural symptoms that follow – avoiding social interactions, saying no to leaving the house, finding less joy in the things that once brought you serious happy vibes, and isolating yourself in general from the world. Whilst we all want the world to go away at times, if it becomes a pattern this could signal deeper issues that need to be resolved.

The verdict is…guilty

Another mark of stress overload and burnout is diminishing productivity despite long hours chained to the desk, and subsequent spikes in feelings of guilt. This may push you to spend even MORE time in the office, and so the cycle repeats. This toxic loop of guilt and underperformance may indicate you’re in desperate need of a vacay.


We’re all addicted to something, whether it be caffeine (guilty) or Game of Thrones (Jon Snow and Daenerys DID need to happen despite leaving us with a lasting icky feeling). However, if you’re finding more dangerous addictive behavior surfacing (excessive exercise, binge eating or drinking) this is a concerning indicator of burnout. It may be an avoidance technique as you try to cope with the pressure! Whilst stress is something that happens to all of us, it is how we manage it that matters. And it’s not by eating twenty chocolate bars six days out of seven!

If you’ve noticed more than one of these signs in yourself or others around you, it’s important to speak up and do something about it. We’ll be covering off how to respond and deal with burnout in one of our upcoming blogs! Until then, always know that help is available and you’re not alone


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