5 Important Signs That Indicate You Are Burnt Out

Why Your Mental Hygiene and Emotional Wellness Must Be Your Top Priorities

Knowing how to recognise the signs that indicate you are burnt out is important to be healthy mentally and emotionally.

If we’re burnt out, we cannot operate at our best, which can lead to costly mistakes.

What Does it Mean to Be Burnt Out

Reaching a state of burnout goes beyond feeling tired. It’s when we force ourselves to go beyond our mental and physical limits resulting in serious consequences.

Some of these consequences can include:

  • Poor judgment which can lead to big mistakes.
  • Not making right decisions.
  • Not concentrating on what we’re doing.

When we pay attention to signs that indicate we’re burnt out, we can take corrective actions to get back on track.

signs that indicate you are burnt out

In 2018, Elon Musk, founder and chairman of Tesla, shared his struggles of meeting market demand and production targets. In an interview, he revealed he had been working up to 120 hours per week.

In a now famous tweet, he wrote, “There are way easier places to work, but nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.” When asked what was the correct number of hours a week to change the world, he replied, “Varies per person, but about 80 sustained, peaking above 100 at times. Pain level increases exponentially above 80.”

In the interview, Musk revealed the “excruciating” personal toll working so many hours had on his health and his overall life. The lesson for us is there will be a toll to pay if we don’t take care of ourselves. Sacrificing our mental, emotional and physical health for financial gain should never be an option.

5 Signs That Indicate You Are Burnt Out

As each person is different, knowing different signs that indicate you are burnt out is valuable. Here are five signs to watch out for that indicate you are burnt out. Knowing these signs should be a trigger to do something different so you can take better care of yourself.

  1. Feeling fatigued continually. This is feeling fatigued to the point of exhaustion. Causes can include forcing ourselves to work long hours for a prolonged period even though we’re feeling tired. This leads to feeling lethargic and also struggling to stay awake during the day.
  2. Feeling irritable and angry easily. If we lash out at others or are in a grumpy mood most times, we’re at a point of burnout. Whenever we’re not our normal selves, it means something beyond the norm is playing out, which we must address.
  3. Unable to relax which affects your sleep quality. Constantly thinking about all the things we have to do suggests we’re not managing our priorities well. Not everything in life is a priority. If we’re unable to relax, it will affect our sleep, which will add to the signs of being burnt out.
  4. Not feeling joy in what you do. If most things are “have tos” rather than “want to,” it means we’re forcing ourselves to do things. That’s not sustainable and will eventually catch up with us. Joy is often a good indicator whether we’re on-course or off-course. Lack of motivation and satisfaction is an indicator we’re burnt out.
  5. Poor performance. We usually know when we’ve done a good job and when we could have done better. If our performance is declining and we’re not at our best, that’s a sign we’re at our limits.

5 Things You Can Do to Avoid Burnout

Once we can recognise the signs of burnout, knowing what to do is crucial. Here are five things you can do to deal with burnout.

  1. Unplug and destress. This can include having an extended break and getting away from our normal environment. Time away from our daily stresses will help rejuvenate us.
  2. Pay more attention to signals from your body. This means knowing when we’re reached our limits and when we should have breaks. Energy management is vital for improved well-being and optimal health.
  3. Make sleep a priority. One area that’s often affected when we’re burnt out is our sleep. We must get adequate sleep every night and also catch up on sleep if we’ve been sleep deprived.
  4. Learn relaxation techniques. As it’s unlikely stress will go away, we have to learn to deal with it. This may include doing things that bring us joy like our hobbies and passions. We can learn to integrate relaxation techniques into our day.
  5. Ask for help. Reducing our workload will help avoid burnout. We can reduce our workload by delegating work, saying “no” to new requests and asking those close to us to help us out.


We have to be careful we don’t allow ourselves to get used to feeling run down or exhausted regularly. Burnout is often a symptom of other things not going well in our lives. If we address those things, we’re more likely to take care of ourselves better. If we don’t address them, we’ll suffer the consequences of burnout, which will also affect those close to us.

Action Step: Schedule your next extended break within the next 90 days. It can be a full-day or a weekend getaway, where you give yourself time to unplug and relax.

Question: What are other important signs that indicate you are burnt out?