7 Alarming Symptoms of Burnout That Require Immediate Attention

Photo of glasses, an iPhone, a laptop and a book to show how work stress can lead to symptoms of burnout.  Begin counseling with a CBT therapist in Nashville, TN to prevent burnout.  We specialize in counseling for caregivers & helpers.

You’re feeling exhausted at work.

You wake up in the morning with an impending sense of dread or doom.

Some symptoms of burnout may be obvious but others are far more subtle. That said, if you don’t address them, they can become deeper problems that start to compromise your happiness and sense of balance. Let’s review the essential symptoms of professional burnout that you need to know.

Burnout Symptom 1: Your Physical Health is Suffering

When you’re experiencing burnout, it’s hard to find the motivation to engage in good self-care. As a result, you may not take care of your physical health. You might not be concerned with having a healthy diet or exercise regimen. Thus, it becomes a cycle of exhaustion. If you have been going, going, going and begin to notice that your physical health is on the decline, it can be a symptom of burnout.

It may not be a surprise, but burnout and stress can impact your immune system. Being mentally and physically tired can result in physical symptoms that include gastrointestinal (stomach) problems, migraines and headaches, cold-like symptoms, and sleep issues.

Burnout Symptom 2: You Can No Longer Focus (And Maybe You Don’t Care)

Are you suddenly struggling to make deadlines? Do you find yourself rereading the same email over and over again because you can’t remember what you just read?

Lack of concentration is one of the classic symptoms of burnout. It means that you are overworked to the point of being exhausted. As a result, your mind and body have essentially shut down. They cannot focus on certain tasks.

Burnout Symptom 3: You’ve Become Morbid and Negative

Most of us rely on humor to cope with the common stressors we experience in daily life. However, a constant undertone of negativity or sarcasm may reveal some serious burnout.

When you’re always negative, it can create some dark beliefs that things are utterly pointless or there isn’t an escape to the misery. Of course, these thoughts aren’t very productive. In fact, they can make you feel rather hopeless and defeated in our current circumstances.

Burnout Symptom 4: Escaping Is Your Means of Coping

It’s normal to want to escape from time to time. However, if this desire to escape has become your primary means of coping, it could be a severe symptom of burnout.

When you’re experiencing burnout, short-term fixes create an easy way to avoid the situation. Instead of dealing with the feelings directly, you may use other coping methods such as:

  • Substance use (alcohol and drugs)
  • Overeating
  • Shopping
  • Sex
  • Technology (television, Internet, video games)

Burnout Symptom 5: You No Longer Have The Same Ambition

Remember when you last felt genuine passion? When you had big dreams that excited and motivated you to work hard? When was the last time you felt a sense of wonder for what the day would bring?

How long has it been since you experienced those feelings? If it’s been a while, you may be in the depths of burnout. When this happens, it’s hard to care much about moving forward. Instead, the goal tends to be, let’s just do what we can to get by.

Young caucasian man working on laptop looking stressed | Signs of Burnout | Willow Counseling | 37212

Burnout Symptom 6: You Obsess About Unrealistic or Drastic Change

We all love to imagine what it would be like to live a completely different life. It’s fun to think about flying around in private jets or becoming a celebrity. It’s exciting to imagine quitting our job, packing our bags, and traveling the world without a second thought. Daydreaming is healthy in moderation. It provides a fantastic escape from the overwhelming demands of daily living.

But burnout can transform harmless daydreaming into a compulsive desire to ‘get away from it all.’ This can lead you to give in to that desire without thinking or preparing for the consequences. Or, if you stay in your present situation, it can lead you into deeper despair about how our reality fails to compare to our fantasy.  

Burnout Symptom 7: You Feel Consistently Resentful and Irritable

Burnout can result in feeling very angry towards ourselves and the people around us. You may feel slighted at the hand we were dealt with even if it was what you originally wanted.

This resentment and irritability can lead to poor work performance. Lack of interest makes it hard to feel excited about your work. As a result, you may just stop caring about the results. If you work with people, you may lose compassion and desire to help them. When assigned certain projects, you may resort to doing the bare minimum just to get the task over with.

Furthermore, these angry feelings often overflow into other areas of your life. You may withdraw from friends and family. You may project your frustrations onto them. This may cause you to feel even worse.

Two doctors consulting about a stressful, critically ill patient.  Our Nashville, TN therapists provide support and counseling to caregivers in the medical profession showing symptoms of burnout or needing therapy for stress.

Get help for Burnout and Stress in Nashville, TN

In learning about the symptoms of burnout, do you see yourself? Do some of these sound familiar? If so, the good news is that burnout doesn’t have to be permanent. Counseling can help.

At our Nashville, TN counseling office our therapists will work with you to heal burn out and restore the passion and meaning in your life. Follow these easy steps to get started:

  1. Contact our Nashville counseling office to schedule a free 30-minute face-to-face consultation,
  2. Meet with one of our compassionate therapists, and
  3. Begin your journey towards overcoming the symptoms of burnout and find happiness, passion, and meaning.

Other Services Provided by Willow Counseling, PLLC

Our counseling clinic exists to provide quality trauma-informed mental health counseling to the Nashville community. Willow Counseling recognizes the interconnectedness of our emotional, spiritual and physical selves. In fact, we offer a variety of other mental health services to help you on your healing journey, including anxiety therapytrauma and EMDR therapy, and therapy for compassion fatigue, and group therapy for anxiety. Whatever the specific situation is bringing you into counseling, our therapists want to help. Above all, our greatest desire is for you to know what it means to feel purpose and joy again and to recognize the strength and worth you have to offer the world.


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