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What does burnout feel like? 8 signs of burnout to consider

Signs of burnout may not be so obvious at first. You may have wondered … what does burnout feel like? What are the signs of burnout at work? Always tired? Stressed? Exhausted? If you’re experiencing several of these signs, then it’s possible that you might be experiencing burnout. If there’s someone you know that doesn’t look like they’re enjoying their work anymore – or perhaps it’s you – I’ve put together a list of 8 important signs of burnout to look out for. I’ve certainly been there myself and didn’t realize it until it was too late.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Please seek professional care and advice if you feel you need it.

You’re losing your sense of humor

For people who are high-functioning and have a positive outlook, burnout is often accompanied by a loss of humor. You might start feeling like everything is a drag, even the things that used to make you laugh. You find yourself rolling your eyes at people’s jokes, or just not laughing. This can be a sign that you’re getting burned out on life.

You’re avoiding people

It’s not always easy to tell when you’re burning out, but one of the biggest signs of burnout is that you start avoiding people.

You might find yourself pushing friends and family away or even just avoiding social situations altogether. You might feel like you don’t have anything in common with them anymore, or that they don’t understand what you’re going through.

But the truth is that when we’re burned out, it’s often because we feel so isolated—so alone—and it can be hard to know where to turn for support. That’s why it’s so important to reach out to someone who really cares about you and let them know how much their support means to you!


When you’re burnt out, you may find yourself struggling to make even the simplest decisions—you don’t feel like you have the energy or focus to make the choice, so you just put it off and hope something else comes up.

Decisions that once seemed easy and part of everyday life become chores.

man working using a laptop. Putting his hands on the side of his side to signal signs of burnout
Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on

You lower your standards

When you’re in a state of burnout, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important to you and what isn’t. You may start to let things slide that were once important—and even things that are important now but not as much as they used to be. It’s like the old saying: if you can’t do it well, then don’t do it at all.

It’s affecting your health

You may be feeling exhausted lately, and it’s not just due to lack of sleep. It seems like you’re simply going through the motions at work, and your home life is being affected as well. You’re finding it hard to eat healthy meals and exercise, which may feel more like an obligation than a desire. 

These are all signs of burnout that should not be ignored. Additionally, you may be experiencing nagging health issues, such as a cough, headache, stomachache, or back pain that doesn’t seem to go away despite getting enough rest and nourishment. It’s important to take a step back and evaluate your lifestyle to make necessary changes before it’s too late.

When I was in the midst of burnout, my stomach always felt uncomfortable no matter what I did. It wasn’t until I stopped and took a number of things off my plate that I started to improve. 

You’re experiencing mood swings

Mood swings can be an early warning of signs of burnout. If you’re experiencing mood swings, it might mean that you’re feeling more irritable than usual and are reacting more strongly to things that would normally be minor annoyances. Your mood swings could also be in response to the stress of work, which can happen when you’re not taking time to rest or care for yourself properly.

If this is happening to you, try to stay calm and keep your cool whenever possible. It’s also important to remind yourself that this is normal—it happens to everyone!

You feel helpless and hopeless

Experiencing burnout can make you feel like there’s no way out. However, it’s important to know that this feeling is quite common. Remember that these emotions are temporary and will eventually fade away. Don’t lose hope.

You don’t enjoy the things you used to

It’s common for changes to occur in our lives, which can manifest in various ways. Perhaps you used to enjoy socializing with friends but now prefer to stay home. Alternatively, you may have once been the life of the party but now shy away from the dance floor and avoid eye contact with others. Some of these evolutions are a normal part of growing and evolving, but some can represent a drastic change. 

You may have also noticed a shift in your music preferences or a decrease in energy levels when it comes to exercise. When something feels off in your life, it’s crucial to reflect on why that might be happening and take steps to address it. 

4 friends with their arms around each other laughing
Photo by Helena Lopes on

What can you do if you’re experiencing signs of burnout?

It’s important to take the time to address your emotional well-being, both as a worker and as a person in general. When you do that—when you slow down and devote yourself to self-care—you’re creating a space for the rest of your life to flourish. You’re taking steps towards a meaningful existence, and you won’t regret those decisions.

Note: AI tools were used in the process of creating this article, which is for informational purposes only.

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