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39 Burnout Symptoms You MUST Stop Ignoring

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So you’re feeling a little frazzled, a little crispy around the edges maybe? You’re wondering if you’re maybe burnt out? Relatable.

Let’s talk about what burnout is, the three different types of burnout, and then over 40 symptoms that you can look for to know if this is what you’re struggling with. 

Watch here or read on below.

39 Burnout Symptoms You MUST Stop Ignoring Click To Tweet

So what is burnout and what is it not?

Burnout is not an official diagnosis. What it is is a state of chronic or ongoing stress due to overworking and under-resting. It is literally too many stress hormones in your system for too long and even good stress creates stress hormones so you can be burned out from something that you love just as much as you can be burned out from something that you hate.

In fact, they say that the first stage of burnout is being passionately in love with what you’re doing because when you do that you don’t create boundaries that allow you to rest, recharge, refuel, and get back into it.

The term “burnout” was first coined in 1974 by Herbert Freudenberger. Herb called it a state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by one’s professional life and also said that it’s the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired outcomes, the desired results.

So, in other words, you love it, you’re devoted to it but it’s not giving you what you need in order to continue that devotion. 

Different Types of Burnout

The Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology lists three different types of burnout. 

  1. The first is Frenetic Burnout. This is when you’re expending high energy, you’re doing too much for too long, and again even if it’s fun first. This is just lots of motion, lots of movement, lots of going until your body just can’t keep up with it anymore. 
  2. The second type of burnout is Unchallenged Burnout. This is when your work is boring, it’s unfulfilling, it’s not challenging you, and there’s generally no end in sight. You just see this long trajectory of drudgery ahead of you. That can also lead to burnout. 
  3. The third type of burnout is Worn-Out Burnout which is defined as being under intense stress for so long with little reward and basically, you’ve just got nothing left to give. 

I tend to find entrepreneurs fall under #1 and #3 most often. They’re going going going going going and they’re maybe not seeing the results they want to see fast enough, which means their needs aren’t being met, they’re burning out.

I also thought it was really interesting that the Google term “signs of burnout” increased 24% in 2020. When you think about it, we were all facing this long trajectory of drudgery, we had no end in sight, there was a lot of escapism, there was a lot of doing things we didn’t want to do, and there was a complete lack of work-life boundaries because so many people were working from home.

So all of the sudden you had a prime environment for burnout and naturally we have a lot of people feeling like I said, a little bit crispy around the edges because they’re just not getting their needs met.

So, let’s go through 39 + Symptoms of Burnout and have you identify for yourself how many of these apply. Go ahead and count them up as you go and let’s see where you land. 

Physical Symptoms of Burnout

Let’s start with the physical symptoms of burnout first. 


As your stress levels go up your tension goes up and it tends to show up in the form of headaches and migraines so if you’re getting an increase of these this could be a sign of burnout. 


Our stomach is often one of the first places that show stress in our body, our digestive system really responds to how we’re feeling physically and emotionally in other ways. So if you’ve had an increase of stomach pains, indigestion, that sort of thing this could be a sign that your stress levels are high and that you’re burnt out or you’re on your way towards it. 


This could be heartburn, this could be constipation, this could be diarrhea, this could be all kinds of different symptoms because again our stress often shows up in our stomachs first. So again if you’ve had some symptoms increasing in your digestive system this might be a good sign that you need to actually slow things down and rest for a while. 


One of the most common burnout signs is fatigue. If you’re just tired all the time this is a really good sign that you probably need to rest. 


It’s really common when we’re burning out to start feeling it in our joints and our muscles simply because of the way that we’re sitting if we’re crouched over something if we’re overworking our body or again just stress. The hormones of stress actually have an impact on your physical body. 


This is really common again because stress hormones will slow down your immune system making you more susceptible to things that you weren’t susceptible to before. Getting sick is also a really great way that your body can slow you down so maybe sometimes it’s just gonna take that opportunity. 


This is such a subtle symptom that most people don’t realize but when we’re under a lot of stress we tend to start clenching so that can lead to TMJ pain this can lead to your teeth hurting, your gums hurting simply because you’re either clenching or grinding throughout the day or even in your sleep. 


Again stress shows up in the physical symptoms of our body and one of those places is our heart so the more stress that you’re under the more you can really feel that in the way that your heart is beating. 


Because who’s got energy for that?


If you’ve been going at it like non-stop, just constant movement, pretty soon your body just has a hard time slowing down, it doesn’t know how to anymore so if you have a lot of restless energy or anxious energy it could be a sign of burnout. 


This is a really common symptom of burnout. You can’t turn your brain off you’re thinking about all the things you need to do, you’re thinking about the things that didn’t get done or how they got done or if they’re gonna work or did they work or why didn’t they work. Your mind just doesn’t stop going, this is one of the most common signs of burnout especially early on it’s gonna be something that if you don’t get under control it’s gonna lead to more and more burnout down the road. 


Maybe you can fall asleep but you can’t seem to stay asleep and oftentimes this is because our bodies are just not getting into those deeper levels of rest that we really need. So if you’re waking up throughout the night this could be a sign that you need to address your stress levels not necessarily your sleep itself. 


Maybe you’re falling asleep, maybe you’re staying asleep, but you wake up tired in the morning. This could be because you’re either not getting enough sleep or it’s not a deep enough sleep because of your stress levels. If your stress levels are high it will feel like no amount of sleep is good quality sleep. 

Along those same lines…


You don’t want to go to sleep because you know that you just get to start it all over the next day. If you’re having that come up that is a clear sign of burnout, that you need to make some changes now before you’re unable to make them later. 


Which could show up as burning eyes or dry eyes or just headaches behind the eyes all kinds of things can be related to eye fatigue. If this is something you’re struggling with if you’ve got blurriness anything like that many times it can happen especially if you’re staring at a screen for long periods of time but it can also happen if you’re just staring at anything for a long period of time you just start to strain your body because you’re not getting enough diversity, enough rest, enough mixing it up in your day. 

So those were all of the physical symptoms but now let’s start to get into the non-physical symptoms. 



This could be eating junk food, overeating, over-indulging in alcohol, smoking, or anything you can to help you feel better. If you don’t feel good over here, you go in the extreme opposite here to be able to make up for it.

So if you’ve noticed yourself going towards things that you don’t want to go towards picking up bad habits that maybe you left behind a long time ago it could simply be a stress mechanism or a coping mechanism to help you get through this burnout. 

The next symptom up is along those same lines…


Maybe you’re not overeating or over-indulging maybe you’re under-eating, maybe you’re not drinking enough water, maybe you’re not getting enough exercise, maybe you’re not taking enough breaks, you’re just neglecting your body because you’re becoming more and more focused on the thing you think you need to be working on out of stress.

This can often show up as us feeling like we have a lack of willpower because if we’re using all of our self-discipline, all of our willpower to be able to push ourselves through work it can really easily mean we have nothing left to take care of ourselves at the end of the day. 

Speaking of the end of the day…


You get up you scrape it together you put in 8-10-12-16 hours who knows how long and at the end all you want to do is crash. You’ve got nothing left to give, you’re scrolling through media, you’re zoning out on the television, you’re just done, you have absolutely nothing left in you. This often happens when we’re pushing pushing pushing we go to that opposite extreme of doing nothing. 


And I mean suddenly like you notice it in a matter of weeks where you’re like whoa did I just like age 10 years overnight?

This is one that I know too much about. There seems to be something that happens when you’re really burnt out or stressed out where your body hits a switch and it’s just like done and it shows up, you see it in the mirror, you see it in the dark circles under your eyes, you see it in the way that your skin is responding like it’s just you see it, you feel it, it’s humbling and it’s uncomfortable and if you’re noticing this it’s a clear-cut sign that you’ve got to slow down, you’ve got to back up, and you’ve got to start doing some deep nurturing because if you’re starting to see signs pop up real fast like that you’re on a quick trajectory towards somewhere not good. Ask me how I know. 


Like if your work is your only passion, you love what you do to the point where you don’t know what to do with yourself if you’re not doing it. That is a clear-cut sign of burnout or at least what is going to lead to burnout because you don’t have enough other things in your life to fill the well or to give you a break, to give your brain a rest and to be able to come back to the thing you love with enough passion to give it.

Any time I’m working with clients I will always want to find out what are you doing outside of work, what are you doing other than work, because if you want to be productive in what you’re doing, you want to be successful you got to be well-rounded, you can’t be a one-trick pony focusing on this forever because you. will. burn. out. 


If you really prided yourself at one point in your life on never running late and all of a sudden that’s all you do, you’re always at least a couple minutes behind and it’s frustrating you, this could often be because you’re burning out. You don’t have the capacity, you don’t have the bandwidth to be able to keep all the balls in the air, you’re juggling so much and things start to slowly slip. Now as you go further and further pretty soon you’re just canceling things or you’re forgetting things or you’re just completely flaking out. But this early sign of burnout this I’m starting to run late, I’m starting to slip behind things is a sign you want to catch sooner rather than later. 


You are always on your phone, on your computer, answering things, you have no boundaries, you have no ability to shift focus in your brain, you’re lying awake at night unable to fall asleep because you’re thinking about all of it or you’re just you know working through dinner, let me just work on this a little bit more and you just drag it out and drag it out and drag it out with absolutely no clear line between work and not work. If you cannot turn it off, you cannot drag yourself away from it this is one of the early signs of burnout that’s going to lead you towards burnout.

You see it a lot in the Honeymoon Phase when you’re really excited for the work you’re doing, but it creates a habit that you cannot turn off over time even when you want to. It becomes workaholism, it becomes an addiction that you cannot get away from. 


  • “I just need to push through this
  • “It’s just this month”
  • “After this week…”
  • “It’s just this project”
  • “It’s just this season of business”
  • “I just need to push through this and then I’ll be fine”
  • “Let me just get these tasks done and then I can take a nap”

Again, this is a habit. If you push through when you need to rest, you’re creating a habit of not resting and that does not make it easier to rest when the tasks are done because guess what? The tasks are never done.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or you’re not an entrepreneur you should know by now it’s never done.

So, if you don’t prioritize that rest now you’re not going to be able to push through when you actually need to. 97% of the time we say we need to push through, we don’t. We need to actually do things more mindfully, we need to slow down, we need to make sure we’re primed and ready to do something but we don’t need to constantly be pushing through, especially pushing through fatigue. 


Things that used to take you five or ten minutes are taking you 20, 30 minutes, an hour even. This is a clear-cut sign that your body is dragging, you are burnt, you are crispy around those edges and you just don’t have the mental bandwidth, the physical bandwidth to move at the same capacity or productivity that you did in the past. This is such a clear sign of burnout and one that people often miss. 


Because we start to slow down we start to add more hours thinking it’s necessary. “I’ve got to get these things done” not realizing that if we slow down we can actually get more done because when you’re well-rested and you can think straight and you’re a happy person you’re much more productive.

So if you are catching yourself putting in more hours, putting in more hours, putting in more hours, but not seeing the actual results of those hours, not seeing progress to match those hours this is a sign you need to start doing less and doing it well so that you can actually get further. 


When I start to get burnt out I know it because I start hating things that I actually love, that give me energy. I want to avoid them because I just don’t want to do them. So this might mean I don’t want to talk to clients, I don’t want to do videos, I don’t want to write content. Things that I love generally when I’m well-rested I will do those things joyfully and have so much fun with them but when I’m burnt out I will know it because I will start to want to avoid it, “oh I don’t want to do that”, “oh it’s too much”, “it’s taking too much energy” because I don’t have the energy necessary to bring to that thing that I need to do.

If you’re starting to notice yourself avoiding things that you used to love, this isn’t a sign that you shouldn’t be doing those things, this is a sign you should be taking better care of yourself so that you have the energy for those things.

I really want to re-emphasize this because I see a lot of people quitting things that they love, that they’re great at, that they could still love again simply because they’re tired and they use that fatigue to tell them that this is something that I’m just not interested in anymore and that’s not the case.

You’re just tired, you just need to take better care of yourself, you just need to balance some things out so that you can do the work that you love long-term.

If you’re constantly starting something new because it’s exciting that’s the Honeymoon Phase, you’re just reiterating that habit of starting something and then quitting it again you want to get out of that habit with some healthy habits that are going to allow you to take what you love and see it through to the end.

If you didn’t see our video a bit ago on the Dunning-Kruger Effect and breaking that cycle I highly recommend that you watch that if any of this is resonating with you. You can catch it by clicking here.


It’s like you just want to clear the mud from your brain. This is such a big sign of burnout what happens with our brains literally our brain cells when they start to get overworked they actually create waste and that waste can build up if we don’t have enough rest and this could be in terms of exercise, this could be in terms of sleep, this can be in terms of fun and laughter if you don’t have what you need to clean that off it just builds and builds and builds until pretty soon you just can’t think straight anymore. 


This is partially because of that mental fatigue, it’s partially because of that brain fog, and it’s partially because you just maybe don’t even know what you want anymore. When you’re so tired, when you’re so crispy, when you’re so burnt out it’s difficult to know what do I actually want when I feel this way, right? Usually when I feel that way I don’t want anything I just want to be left the eff alone. Comment with “alone” if you understand what I’m talking about. 


You’ve got zero creative juices left. Nothing. You’re faced with some sort of creative task and just nothing’s coming to mind.

It’s probably one of the most common ones and it’s one that a lot of people will blame on themselves. They’ll think that they just don’t have it or they’re not good at this anymore and it’s really just a matter of needing to fill the creative well – needing to have some rest and take some time away from the things you’re working on so that you have ideas to come back to it with. Hopefully that all made sense. 


My goodness, this is something that I have dealt with a lot even over the last few months as we’ve gone through Covid and I had a massive kidney infection and I was really just dealing with the physical strain of all of that it led to some real burnout and one of the main things that I struggled with was getting my freaking words out.

You should see all the outtakes of these videos it’s such a common thing that you just can’t get your brain and your tongue to synchronize anymore when you are that fatigued so if this is happening to you it’s not because you’re going crazy, it’s not because you’re going senile, it’s because you probably need to rest. 


You find yourself getting more irritable with people than you ever been before or maybe you’ve been there before and you’re just not proud of getting back to that place. This is where maybe you have always been a kind, patient, tolerant person and now you really cannot stand people. And it’s often because people take a lot of emotional physical energy from us and if we don’t have that to give we do not like it and we tend to take it out on the people around us or just become critical or judgmental or just not like people. 

This will lead to number thirty-two.


Depersonalization. Not being able to really listen to people, not being able to really connect with them, to see them as human beings anymore… You really start to see people as numbers, which can happen a lot as entrepreneurs.

You start to see clients or customers as numbers and sales and things to take off your to-do list versus an individual in front of you that you’re there to connect with and serve. It’s possible you might start to become cynical towards your clients or customers, or you might start to become callous, start to just lack empathy, lack the ability to see them as human beings with individual needs, lack the ability to really care about them as a person.

This cynicism also shows up in burnout symptom #33. 


This can show up as not believing that things are going to work out, or always assuming the worst of something. This is further down the road of burnout as you get more and more burnt out you become more and more negative, more pessimistic, more cynical, not seeing the positives of things, not seeing the possibilities of things, and really just assuming the worst versus planning for, hoping for, assuming the best. 


We kind of touched on before, this is wanting to quit something that you once loved.

You’re just over it, you’re done, like it’s not a matter of like I’m just avoiding it, it’s literally I don’t want to do this anymore. I used to love this, this used to be my passion that used to be something that gave me great fulfillment and now I’m over it, no more, done. You just cut the ties, like you’re completely wanting to quit, you don’t see a way out of that. 

#35 – CRYING

This one tends to happen to the more estrogen-dominant of those of us, which is crying at the mere thought of things, just the idea of getting up in the morning, just the idea of working on a project, just the idea of having to make a phone call, just the idea of something, brings you to tears.

And this is often because when we are at that stage of burnout we’re exhausted, we’re so done, we have nothing left and it’s literally causing us physical or emotional pain to think about trying to move forward. 

For others, instead of crying, it might be flipping a lid – so just losing your cool.


You’ve got a short fuse, you’re getting angry, you’re blowing up. This can again often happen because we just don’t have anything left. When we’re at that stage the only thing that we can do to meet our needs tends to be the extremes, so we tend to blow up to get heard, we tend to bite somebody’s head off in order to create a boundary, we tend to just be that super irritable person not liking people.

But again, as it goes unmet, unattended to, it gets worse and worse so pretty soon we’re dealing with real anger management issues, not just irritation. 


You want to escape, you’re done, you fantasize about jumping on a plane and leaving everything and everyone behind. You fantasize about closing down your business like you’re at that place now where it’s just like “I want an escape, I want to run away from it all, I want to hide from it all”.

Maybe there are problems or challenges in your life for your business and you’re just ignoring them, you’re putting the blinders on to them because you don’t have the physical capability, the capacity to be able to put anything towards them. 


You feel like, “What’s the point? Why am I doing this anymore?”. It’s not really meeting your needs, it’s not giving you that sense of enjoyment, you’re not seeing why you should be doing it, how something is making a difference. 


Total denial. Maybe you’ve checked off a whole bunch of these boxes but you’re like “it’s not really that big of a deal, I’m not there yet”. 

And maybe you’re not there yet but the longer you deny being in a state of burnout or heading towards burnout the faster these symptoms can lead to really serious issues things like 

  • depression 
  • anxiety 
  • autoimmune disorders 
  • heart disease 
  • other chronic health issues or a 
  • complete mental collapse 

This is exactly what I did in my first business.

I worked 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, denying the problems that I was facing, putting myself in a complete and utter state of stress. Sometimes it was good stress, sometimes – most of the time, especially towards the end – there was no good stress involved. It was all bad stress and it led to multiple health disorders. Multiple issues that I took years to either fix or in some cases I’m still working through. 

If you want to understand how I recovered from burnout and the steps that I recommend that you take check out my video on recovering from burnout, you can check that out here.

Preventing burnout

If you want to learn how to prevent getting to that final stage or you want some tips on managing or taking care of yourself especially when you struggle to take care of yourself make sure that you’re subscribed for my next videos on those two topics.

Also, check out my Self-Care in Seconds which is a free mindset and tactical training that will help you figure out how to start fitting in self-care when you literally do not have time for it.

You can learn more about that here or grab it by clicking the button below.

What about you, boss lady?

What’s the #1 burnout symptom (other than fatigue) you’ve been dealing with lately?

Scroll down to leave your comments below.


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Tara Wagner

I’m Tara Wagner, creator of the Breakthrough Boss®. I help small biz owners overcome burnout and create part-time schedules with full-time profits. Not with some new marketing strategy, but with a holistic approach to how you operate. Click here to learn more.
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How To Upgrade Your Business
So It Doesn't Burn You Out

(3 Mistakes to Correct Right Now)

How to Upgrade Your Business So It Doesn't Burn You Out (3 Mistakes to Correct Right Now)

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