Skip to content

The Subtle Warning Signs You're Suffering From Burnout, Expert Says

Here's what you should look out for.

Living everyday life can get pretty hectic. Between putting in full, exhausting workdays, forgetting to run essential errands, getting emotional over routine tasks you never seem to check off the to-do list, and stressing over trying to fit in exercise time each week, there simply aren't enough hours in every day. Social commitments may even sometimes feel more burdensome rather than carefree fun and laughs with friends. The end of the week can't seem to come soon enough … oh, and then Monday rolls around, and the weekly rotation starts all over again. The number of things on your to-do list seems like it never changes—unless it increases. It may be time to take a deep breath, assess this high-speed roller coaster you call your life, and address these subtle warning signs of burnout.

If you're feeling like your schedule is on overload, you're not alone. Here are some subtle red flags you can look out for. (But note that if you do believe you're dealing with burnout, it's always best to speak with your healthcare professional to come up with just the right, personalized game plan for you.) Read on to learn more about the signs of burnout, and next, check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

What exactly is "burnout?"

tired nurse, burnout

According to public health information published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Herbert Freudenberger, an American psychologist, came up with the term that describes exactly how you are feeling. The term "burnout" was introduced back in the 1970s and was used for individuals in high stress-level occupations, such as healthcare professionals. Doctors and nurses can easily overextend and exhaust themselves to a point of burning out—especially during times like these past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The healthcare field isn't the only profession that endures stress, though. It can affect executives in all professions and levels, famous people, and people who lead pretty normal lives.

Related: The Best Ways To Beat "Cabin Fever" This Winter, Says Doctor

From brain fog to GI issues, these are the red flags to look out for

Depressed hispanic girl at home, lying on bed and holding pillow with sad expression

We reached out to Deena Adimoolam, MD and member of the Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board regarding the telltale signs you're dealing with burnout. The list is pretty extensive and can involve any or all of the following warning signs. Burnout can mean difficulty falling or staying sleeping, an increase in anxiety, or changes in your mood. Depressed, more emotional, and foggy or forgetful feelings are also key indicators. Stress factors such as weight changes, headaches, back or joint pain, tiredness, or perhaps GI problems such as nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain are all signs of—you guessed it—burnout.

Here's how you can address your burnout

woman speaking with therapist about burnout

If the above symptoms sound all too familiar, it's time to take action. According to Adimoolam, "[The] 1st step is mindfulness and [to] identify that one is dealing with burnout and stress. Once we can isolate the source of burnout, then we need to tackle that first." The source can be a work issue, family problem, or even a bad relationship. Once you identify the route of the problem, finding support is imperative. "Talk through your feelings with family, friends, or a professional," Adimoolam adds.

Adimoolam stresses it's also important to practice mindfulness. By this, she means to think before you react, and try to think about and comprehend your feelings and those around you. It's so beneficial to stay positive, too, with a major focus on being appreciative and grateful for what you have. There are great deep breathing exercises you can do, in addition to finding various methods to alleviate stress. Do what you get enjoyment and fulfillment out of, such as reading, listening to music, or working out.

For more…

woman looking out the window experiencing cabin fever

For more Mind + Body news, check out The Difference Between Seasonal Affective Disorder and Winter Blues, MD Says and The 5 Best Self-Care Habits to Feel Happy All Winter, Experts Say next.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa