24 Ways Burnout Can Sneak Up on You

What you’ll find on this page

  1. What Burnout Feels Like
  2. Two Ways that Burn Out Can Disguise Itself
  3. The Difference Between Burning out and Feeling Stressed
  4. 9 Danger Signs on the Job
  5. The ‘Burnout’ Checklist
  6. What to do if you suspect you are burning out
  7. 7 Ways to Cope with Stress on the Job
  8. 7 Pointers Back to Health


What ‘Burn Out’ Feels Like

When you are burning out you feel emotionally and physically exhausted all the time. Everything seems like it’s too much trouble. You just want to be left alone. You haven’t got the energy or interest anymore in the things you used to do. You are starting to feel powerless, hopeless, resentful, irritable, and frustrated.

‘Burnout’ is something that creeps up on you, it’s a long, slow slide. Once it overtakes you, however, it’s not easy to get out of. It takes longer to recover from ‘burnout’, than to rescue yourself, as you see the slide happening, before you fall into it.

Two Ways that ‘Burn Out’ Can Disguise Itself

Burnout can occur at any time. It’s sneaky. You think you are just tired, and a good night’s sleep will take care of it. But you never seem to get a good night’s sleep. So the tiredness accumulates. You have entered the ‘Red Zone’.

The funny thing about burnout is that it shows up in different forms and is not always easy to identify.

  • Burnout as Anger and Irritability
    – you find yourself snapping at people, making cutting remarks about them, getting exasperated over little things. You aren’t acting like your normal self. People start noticing the change and avoiding you.

  • Burnout as Depression
    – you just want to lie down and sleep, you feel too tired to do even the ordinary everyday things of life. You may even find yourself trying to escape into alcohol or drugs.
    – Some people try to revive their energy by going on shopping sprees or gaming, watching violent movies, anything to feel that adrenaline rush again. But after doing this a few times, you’ll notice you feel even more tired than before.
    – Next, your personal and home life begins to suffer, you can’t cope with the kids anymore. You may even start to mistrust those closest to you.

What’s the Diff Between ‘Burning Out’ and ‘Feeling Stressed’?

Stress is feeling pressured, with too much to do and not enough time to do it in. You feel anxious and on edge. Stress can be managed. If you don’t learn to manage stress, you are on the road to burnout.

‘Burn Out’ is feeling totally depleted of energy. You know you can’t generate anymore energy. You are deflated and can’t feel anything. Burnout can lead to prolonged depression where you can’t work anymore.

Signs of Burnout on the Job

You can burnout in any job, especially, if you are not being energized by the work, or the people you meet. The satisfaction, you used to get from doing the job, has disappeared. Many work in jobs they hate, just to make money. This is a prescription for burnout.

9 Danger Signs on the Road to Burnout

  1. You are waiting for someone to tell you what a great job you are doing – to recognize your work.
  2. You are waiting for the boss to give you a raise in recognition of your work.
  3. You don’t get your satisfaction from the work itself, anymore.
  4. You are dependent on others around you to make you feel good on the job.
  5. You are doing work that you find mind-numbing, or boring.
  6. The people you serve and the tasks you are doing are starting to get on your nerves.
  7. You find you are dragging yourself to work everyday.
  8. You or somebody else is setting unrealistic goals for you to do.
  9. You don’t really care anymore about the work, it’s just the paycheck you are doing it for


24 Ways Burnout Can Sneak Up On You
Check off the statements that apply to you.

___ I feel tired even though I’ve gotten enough sleep.
___ I am dissatisfied with my work.
___ I feel sad for no apparent reason.
___ I forget too many things.
___ I am irritable and snap at people.
___ I avoid people at work and in my private life.
___ I have trouble sleeping because of worrying about work.
___ I get sick a lot more than I used to.
___ My attitude about work is “Why bother?”
___ I get into conflicts.
___ My job performance is not up to par.
___ I use alcohol and/or drugs to feel better.
___ Communicating with people is a strain.
___ I can’t concentrate on my work like I once could.
___ I’m bored with my work.
___ I work hard but accomplish little.
___ I feel frustrated with my work.
___ I don’t like going to work.
___ Social activities are draining.
___ Sex isn’t worth the effort.
___ I watch TV, most of the time, when not working.
___ I don’t have much to look forward to in my work.
___ I worry about work during off hours.
___ My feelings about work interfere with my personal life.

If you have checked half of these, it’s a wake up call. Consider that you may be burning out.

What Do I Do Now?

If you are on the road to burnout at work, you need to ask yourself two questions.

  1. How can I change the way I deal with stress on the job?
    Below are 7 Ways to Cope with Stress on the Job and 7 Pointers Back to Health

  2. What can I do to change my work environment?
    – Following the Career Planning Self-Assessment Program here can help you find the “best career for you”.

7 Ways to Cope with Stress on the Job

  1. Take a look at what you are doing on the job. Compare it with your current job description, and cut out the tasks that have crept in, that are not really part of the job.
  2. If the job description has changed, and you find you are now doing the work of the two people, who were laid off, ask yourself how long you can keep this up? If you know things are not going to get better, look for a transfer, or a new job outside.
  3. If you are in a toxic work environment, you’d better get out of it asap. There is no way you can do yourself any favor by staying in a toxic workplace.
  4. If everything else fails, take time off. You can go on vacation, use up your sick days, or ask for a temporary leave of absence.
  5. Use the time to get yourself together, physically, emotionally, mentally. Decide what you are going to do and act on it.
  6. Sometimes, being laid off can be a good thing, especially when you are eligible for a severance package.
  7. You can also take early retirement. What’s wrong with receiving a pension from your former employer, and working in a new job – one you like? Many people take early retirement, start receiving a pension, and then look for another job, working somewhere else after they retire. They make more after retiring than before.

7 Pointers Back to Health

Preventing and treating burnout is a matter of making connections with other people and finding positive outlets to communicate your feelings and express your energy.

  • Make sure you are eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly.
  • Have at least one person, you can trust, whom you can talk to.
  • Spend some time with people who are positive and nurturing on a casual basis, where you do some activity together.
  • Join or volunteer with an organization where there are like-minded people, you can relate to, who are involved in a cause that is meaningful to you.
  • Make sure you have an outlet for your emotions: a pet, music you love, an online blogging group.
  • Spend some time each day in quiet meditation, doing yoga, deep breathing, listening to guided visualization using an audio recording or repeating positive affirmations.
  • You can also treat yourself to a Spa experience and let someone else take you through a stress reducing treatment.

Different personalities need different ways to relieve stress and or deal with burnout. The important thing is to find something that feels right for you.

You can have access to the 5 Career Assessments below by downloading your copy of:

In Career Manual 1 you'll find the Work Styles Inventory, the Work Values Inventory, the Personality Test, the Central Motivations Quiz, and the Multiple Intelligences Inventory, ready to take. All you do is follow the quick and easy explanations to do these career tests right now.

    Do you take a Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising or Conventional approach to your work/life? Find out now which of these 6 Workstyles you have a preference for.

    18 Common Work Values guide how well we do in our jobs. Do you know what yours are? Being aware of the values, that are important to you, will make it easier to choose which job is right for you.

    An understanding of the 16 personality types can bring you closer to your Best Career Match. Which Personality Type are you? Find out by taking the Personality Test.

    Knowing What Motivates you on the job, is a critical part of Finding Your Best Career Match. There are 22 Motivators in this quiz. Taking this Quick & Easy Quiz, will uncover what motivates you on the job.

    Do you know what your preferred intelligences are? There are 8 different types of Intelligences, which play a large part in how we think and respond, in solving problems in our work/life. This inventory will alert you to which ones you can capitalize on, while you are on the job.

    Here is a fun brain-teaser that will reveal your brain preference. Which way do you see the dancer spinning? How do Right-Brainers and Left-Brainers compliment each other in the workplace?

    Burnout can occur at any time. It's sneaky and can creep up on you, because it's not always easy to identify. Know the Signs of Burnout on the Job. Take this Burnout Checklist.

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