How to Recognize Burnout Before it Happens

career mindset raychel perman Jun 10, 2020

By, Raychel Perman

Have you ever experienced burnout? Many busy professionals have! Burnout is caused by excessive or prolonged stress that eventually causes emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. Because it is gradual, and does not happen overnight, we can easily miss the early signs of burnout. However, if we catch it early, we can prevent it all together. Let’s talk about it.

According to a Gallop study, burnout is reaching crisis levels for full time workers. “Nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. That means about two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job.”

That’s a huge amount of the workforce! Of course, you can bring yourself back from full on burnout. But, why not catch it sooner if you know the early symptoms? I found an amazing article about the early signs of burnout (you can read it here.) And, after reading it I came up with a few questions to ask yourself to see if you have the early stages of burnout. Here they are:

  1. Are you getting snarkier and about your work, colleagues, or workplace?
  2. Are you reacting more negatively to things that used to not bother you, or you took in stride?
  3. Are you feeling exhausted at work instead of on top of your game?
  4. Is your work starting to feel never ending?
  5. Have you stopped celebrating accomplishments in your work?
  6. Are you feeling bored even if you have a lot of work to do?
  7. Is procrastination becoming a big problem?
  8. Are you feeling sick? Especially stomachaches, headaches, and insomnia.
  9. Are you burning the candle at both ends?

If you said yes to 2 or more questions it is time to tackle the coming burnout.

“People who used to be happy, motivated, friendly, and engaging become withdrawn, cranky, and disengaged from coworkers and clients or patients, as a result of prolonged work stress and the resulting burnout.” Susan Biali Haas M.D.

The good news is the solutions to burnout are quite simple. If burnout is caused by prolonged stress, then the solution is to deal better with the stress. You can fend off burnout by taking more breaks from your work. It is time to book that vacation, take a day off, spend more time with friends and family, and become more aware of how stress affects you.

Burnout is common. But it does not have to derail your life if you recognize it early. Know the symptoms so you are aware of what burnout looks like. And, when you recognize the signs of burnout before it begins in your own life you can choose to add more rest, fun, and margin to your life.  It is possible to recognize burnout before it begins!

With grace and grit,

~ Raychel