Six Signs You’re Experiencing Burnout (And How To Shake It)

Oct 15, 2019

Dr. Ashley Margeson

Dr. Ashley Margeson


If you’re always stressed, feeling overwhelmed and maybe even saying “I’m burning out”, there is a good chance you really are exhibiting signs of burnout. With people working more hours than ever, shuttling kids back and forth, caring for aging parents and not really getting a break during the week and weekends, feeling stressed out, exhausted and overwhelmed was work is all too common. 

Your stress can actually warrant a diagnosis: the WHO (World Health Organization) recently deemed burnout to be a classifiable workplace phenomenon. Which means that yes, you’re not the only one feeling this way. The top six signs of burnout range from dreading going to work, being unproductive, not being able to concentrate, having no motivation to do fun things, getting sick CONSTANTLY, being exhausted all day (but unable to sleep at night) and more… read on! 

You Dread Going To Work 

Your job used to bring you joy, but now the minutes just tick by. You’re constantly checking your phone, email, clock to try and get something done but your brain is already checked out. And goodness help us if another task gets added to your pile… you’re just done 

You Can’t Concentrate or Focus

Simple tasks seem to take much longer to do, and distracted breaks are more common. You just can’t seem to focus like you used to, and that third cup of coffee didn’t make a difference AT ALL. You don’t feel interested in your work anymore and your irritability is at an all time high. Even the people you like seem to be driving you nuts. 

You Don’t Want To Do Fun Things

It’s incredibly easy to feel like you’re experiencing depression when you’re burning out. And in a way, you are. But the biochemical process is different. Think of burnout as a bucket that keeps overflowing with every little thing you have to do in a day. You just don’t have the resilience because your system is overstimulated. Alternatively, depression is when that bucket just can’t get full… nothing seems to make a difference. The lack of motivation to do fun things is worrying, however, so make sure you talk to a trained medical professional to discern between burnout and depression (and to give you a plan to get back to feeling like yourself again) 

You’re Constantly Getting Sick 

Burnout compromises your immune system. High cortisol and adrenaline surges with quick drops decreases your immune system’s ability to work. This means you’ve got a constant low grade sniffle ALL THE TIME, but you can’t seem to get rid of it. This is also why you go on vacation, or take a break, and then end up sick. Your cortisol drops out and your immune system spikes back up. Mexico plus a cold doesn’t equal well. 

You’re Exhausted But You Just Can’t Sleep

Not only is fatigue a symptom of burnout, but insomnia is right up there. You drag yourself through the workday only to get a surge of energy after supper. It’s almost impossible to turn off your brain and then you’re there tossing and turning to get only a few hours of sleep each night. 


How to Help Your Body Get Better 

Interestingly enough, the simplest routines are generally what we need to help stabilize our bodies during high stress days. Our bodies need breaks, pauses and to allow the natural circadian rhythm to find it’s curve again. This means doing things consistently and constantly. 

Eat your veggies and drink more water

If you’re going to work hard, you need to treat your body like a pro athlete treats there. Eat a variety of colours, make sure you get your protein and your fibre and keep your water bottle beside you at all times. Hydrate people!

Move your body 

Moving your body has been shown to be a natural remedy for stress, anxiety and depression. Don’t like the gym? Go for a walk, take the stairs or stream a fitness video to your living room. Use a reminder on your device of choice to remind you to get up and move. 

Say no to one thing a day 

You don’t need to run the PTA, sit on that board, take on that side project or make cupcakes for your kids class from scratch. You REALLY don’t need to do that. Sure, it feels good, but if you’re already running on fumes why martyr yourself for something that doesn’t feed your soul? Wait until you have renewed passion for your work until saying yes to taking on extra tasks. 

Schedule time to play 

Reconnecting with the playful side of your personality may also be the key to relaxation. Everyone has different passions, so find whatever activities you deem “fun” and make time to do them. If going off-road ATVing is your idea of a good time, find a way to hit the trails after a busy day of work.

Burnout isn’t an issue that will resolve itself in a matter of days. It takes time, but if you make an effort to incorporate a few of these steps in your daily life, you will be far better equipped to handle workplace stress and exhaustion.

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