Signs You're About To Burn Out & How To Slow Down

by Raven Ishak

Whether you're an overachiever or you just have a lot on your plate at the moment, working 24/7 can be detrimental for your health. Without even realizing it, signs of burning out can slowly creep up on you and next thing you know, you're feeling cranky, tired and just downright awful. While it's sometimes hard to resist the urge to work around the clock, especially when you're trying to get ahead of your career, you need to make sure you're taking mental breaks every once in a while to help keep you feeling refreshed.

"The longer you let these symptoms continue without heeding their call and making changes to your schedule/life, the greater your chances of burnout, and eventually, possibly, depression or other mental illness. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to these signs and symptoms, to take them seriously, and to seek help in overcoming them as needed," says clinical psychologist, speaker, and founder of AZ Postpartum Wellness Coalition Christina G. Hibbert, Psy.D. in an interview with Bustle over email. If you're not sure whether or not you're heading down this mentally-frustrating road, here are 11 signs you're about to burn out sooner than later.

1. You're No Longer Motivated By Day-To-Day Routine

According to research conducted by Post-it Brand, on average, U.S. office workers feel they attend three unnecessary work meetings per week, which could ultimately lead to feeling burnout. If you feel like your week is getting out of control, try to begin each week by taking the time to list out your goals or tasks. This can help prioritize which are more important than others and reorganize your week.

2. You're Exhausted

If you can't pick yourself up to do your normal everyday tasks, you might want to reevaluate your situation. "If you find you have little energy for things you used to be able to handle with no problem, and especially if you feel little motivation, that’s a sure sign of burnout. Fatigue and exhaustion are your body’s way of telling you something needs to change; that the pace you’re keeping isn’t working for you, and that you’d better slow down and make some changes if you want to stay healthy and happy," says Hibbert.

3. You're Feeling Sad

While it's normal to feel down every once in a while, it's not healthy to be experiencing this emotion all the time. "Additionally, feelings of sadness, depression, or despair can be common as you get closer to burning out, and will only get worse if not heeded and treated," says Hibbert.

4. You Have Low Self-Esteem

Don't beat yourself up if you haven't been able to keep up with your tasks; you might be experiencing burnout without even realizing it. "You may feel down on yourself because you’re not able to 'do' as much as you used to, or because you can’t keep up with your busy lifestyle or schedule. This is your mind’s way of telling you, 'Slow down. Give yourself a break. You’re burning out!'" says Hibbert.

5. You Feel Overwhelmed

You can figure out if you're feeling burnout or not by simply listening to your thoughts. "Things that used to be no problem may feel like a weight dragging you down. You may hear yourself saying, 'I can’t handle my life!' Or, 'I wish life would just slow down for a while!' These are signs that you probably should slow down for a while," says Hibbert.

6. Your Outlook Has Become More Negative

A quickfire way to figure out if you're about to burn out or not is by simply analyzing how you're viewing the world. Are you looking at it with rose-colored glasses, or are you only seeing the bad things happening around you? "You feel generally negative towards something or just everything in general and don’t optimistically look on the bright side of situations. Bleak is the new norm," says CEO and founder of BLAWNDE Annie Lawless.

7. You're Making More Mistakes Than Normal

"[You're] overwhelmed to the point where you are making mistakes you shouldn't be or normally wouldn't make," says CEO & Founder of Sugarlash Courtney Buhler "Learn how to say no when you feel overwhelmed or have too much on your plate." This is important. Never let your work control your life to the point where you are drowning in your own stress. Take a step back and breathe so you can regroup and do your work well.

8. You're Rushing Through Your Work

Rushing through your work will never make all your problems going away. In fact, you could actually be doing more damage in the long run if you're not careful. "We have big audacious goals to achieve, a life of purpose to fulfill. That is good. But too often, we think we have to rush to get everything done and we burn our energy and sometimes more; our creativity, and relationships at work and home," says influential CEO and leadership expert Caren Merrick in an interview with Bustle over email.

9. You're Complaining A Lot More

"Rushing through a meeting, instead of thinking about what we want to achieve ahead of time — we complain about all the unproductive, pointless meetings we attend, and rushing is a big reason why they are unproductive," says Merrick. While it doesn't just have to pertain to work, constantly expressing negative thoughts could indicate that you're just not happy with your current life situation because you could be feeling burnout.

10. You're Brain Shuts Down

If you're overworking yourself, you could be preventing your brain from recharging properly. "The first thing to notice is when you're running on empty and about to burnout; when you feel your thinking get sluggish and less sharp, you feel light-headed, irritable, hungry, or short-tempered," says holistic wellness coach Pax Tandon in an interview with Bustle over email.

11. You Rather Be Alone

If you're feeling burnout, you probably want to conserve as much energy as possible, which could mean you rather spend time along to recharge than hang out with friends. "You have a lack of interest in spending time with others and participating in social settings," says Lawless. But this might actually be a good thing if you take a break from everyone and everything. "Whatever it is that you’re doing too much of — working, exercising, going out with people, traveling — stop. Give yourself a 1-2 week break from the thing or things that are causing you to become burned out."

It's never too late to pick yourself up from burning out. Make sure you're taking good care of yourself and focus on what needs to change. The only way you're going to prevent yourself from possibly burning out is by taking charge of your life once and for all.

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