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May 19, 2021

4 Signs That You’re Heading Toward Burnout


Modern society has conditioned many of us to have a “go, go, go” mentality. We push ourselves through our days and don’t stop to rest. With this lifestyle, it’s no surprise that we can find ourselves feeling tired. That is when you must focus on the signs that are heading you toward burnout. But what is the difference between just being tired or heading toward burnout?

TaskHuman coaches have developed a list of symptoms you may experience if you’re pushing yourself too much. According to our coaches, here are the top 4 signs to look out for when it comes to feeling burnt out.

1. You Feel Deep Exhaustion 

After a busy day, it’s normal to feel tired. You want to go to bed feeling as though you expended your energy. You could even feel really tired after a particularly hard day.

But there’s a difference between being tired and being exhausted. Feeling exhausted can also be a sign that you’re heading toward burnout.

Listen as Coach Melissa Turnage explains:

How you experience exhaustion is different for everyone, but there is often an overwhelming feeling that comes with it. It can feel difficult to even start your day, much less get through it.

Coach Julia Pontones explains:

When you’re feeling exhausted because you’re close to burnout, it’s not just a physical exhaustion, it’s a mental one too. You don’t have the mental energy to care for everything on your list. Even small things can feel like mountains heading toward burnout. We sometimes find other ways of coping with the exhaustion that aren’t healthy, like overeating.

Related reading:  Using Relationships as the Key to Success in Burnout Prevention

Coach Anita Steele explains:


It’s important to remember that burnout exhaustion differs from being tired because of your workload. If you have a long, hard day or even a long, hard week, you’ll likely be exhausted. But with an appropriate amount of rest, you’ll feel better. When you’re close to heading toward burnout, it’s less about just needing more sleep and more about needing more self-care.

Listen to Coach Mahua Deb Samaddar explain:

The exhaustion of burnout can creep into other areas. We need sleep, but our sleep is disrupted, which affects our appetites and other aspects of our lives. Since we’re disrupted, we can’t sleep–and the cycle continues.

Coach Manoj Kunnath Unnikrishnan explains:

Exhaustion is perhaps the most significant symptom that you’re heading toward burnout, but it isn’t the only one.

2. You Can’t Regulate Your Mood 

Negative emotions are part of the human experience. It’s ok to have situations where you feel angry, cranky, or just generally bad. But when you can’t control how you feel; when your emotions are overriding you, you could be headed toward burnout.

It’s possible that you don’t have strong emotions, just consistent negative ones. Even being bored can be a sign of burnout.

Coach Zac Cooper explains:

For others, the emotions are stronger. Feelings of annoyance or frustration are right under the surface, ready to erupt. We look for ways of deflecting our feelings and often they come out as anger.

Listen to Coach Micah Baines explain:

When we’re reaching burnout, we can abandon our adult ways of communicating and revert to a more child-like mentality. It can be more difficult to express our needs in healthy ways.

Coach Jean Sheridan explains:

Sometimes, when our burnout affects our mood, we look for coping mechanisms to numb our emotions. This is when you might find yourself overeating, over-drinking, or even over-consuming television or other media. It all works to distract us from working on the actual problem.

Listen to Coach Sudhin Padathil explain:

Mood imbalances are a clear indication that you could be heading toward burnout. When we’re overwhelmed and exhausted, it’s difficult to react to situations normally.

3. You Feel No Joy

Maybe you’re not losing your temper, but you aren’t “feeling it” anymore. That lack of passion and boredom could also signal you’re heading toward burnout.

Coach Gwen Ferreira explains:

It could just be the exhaustion that is causing you to feel passionless, but your lack of joy can exacerbate your feelings of burnout. If things that typically excite you aren’t, it could be time to take a deeper look at what is going on.

Coach Stephanie Thibodeau explains:

Another way you could describe the feelings of passionlessness is that you feel “numb.” Just like when we’re in physical pain, like from a sprained ankle, we numb ourselves to keep from feeling something. So our emotional numbness is a signal that something else is going on.

Listen to Coach Stephanie Meriaux explain:

If you’re not feeling joy about things and activities that you used to be passionate about, you might be heading toward burnout.

4. Your Body Is Achy

Burnout can also manifest itself in our bodies physically. When we feel “off,” it could be our body’s way of telling us that we are holding on to stress, exhaustion, or discontent. Working to understand our bodies can help us prevent or deal with burnout.

Coach Jessica Hall explains:

For some people, burnout can feel different. You might experience physical symptoms in your brain too, not just in your muscles. Headaches are a common symptom of someone close to burnout. 

Listen to Coach Lyndada Harding explain:

In other people, burnout can affect their digestion and appetite. Since all of our systems are connected, we can feel our symptoms of burnout in several places, even those we don’t automatically associate with burnout.

Listen to Coach Clarissa Pyles explain:

If the past several months have pushed you close to burnout, and you’re ready to feel vibrant, healthy, and more yourself again, our TaskHuman coaches are ready to help. Reach out to one of our experts for a LIVE 1:1 video call to start feeling better today.

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