How To Tell If You Are Suffering From Burnout

Burnout is an insidious condition, it’s important to spot the signs early.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
3 Types of Burnout

You’re working hard and hustling to build a career you love. But you’re also tired, stressed, and feeling cynical about the future.

Could you be burned out?

Burnout refers to a collection of different physical, emotional, and mental reactions that occur in response to prolonged stress and overworking. Surprisingly, experts can’t agree on exactly how to define burnout, but in recent years its become recognized as an actual diagnosis among medical professionals.

Nevertheless, it’s important to be able to spot the signs and symptoms of burnout because it’s associated with a number of health problems. Chronic stress contributes to anxiety, depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, and emotional difficulties. Burnout changes the brain, impacting creativity, working memory, and problem-solving.

Identifying the Type of Burnout

Most people don’t realize there are three different types of burnout:

1. Overload Burnout

With overload burnout, people work harder and ever-more frantically in search of success. They are willing to risk their health and personal life in pursuit of their ambition. They cope by complaining.

2. Under-Challenge Burnout

Signs of under-challenge burnout include not feeling appreciated, boredom, and a lack of learning opportunities. Because these people find no passion or enjoyment in their work, they cope by distancing themselves from their job. This indifference leads to cynicism, avoidance of responsibility, and overall disengagement.

3. Neglect Burnout

This subtype of burnout results from feeling helpless at work. People may feel incompetent or unable to keep up with the demands of their job. These employees tend to be passive and unmotivated.

Signs that Point to Burnout

How can you tell if you or someone you know is crossing the line from stressed to burned out? Here are a few things to look for:

  • Physical symptoms such as exhaustion most of the time, headaches, and muscle aches
  • Getting sick often
  • A negative attitude about work or your career
  • Feeling like everything is overwhelming or your efforts are futile
  • Neglecting your own needs, as if you’re a pushover
  • Withdrawing from new responsibilities, challenges, and people
  • Procrastinating, mainly avoidance or work or it taking longer because you can’t concentrate
  • Short-tempered, especially with colleagues
  • Difficulty sticking to regular self-care (i.e. exercise, eating well, etc.)
  • Loss of motivation and optimism

Research finds that certain personality traits, like being a Type A, high-achiever can also contribute to burnout. You can act to reduce your stress by setting better boundaries, managing negative thoughts, and learning to speak up and be more assertive. Believe it or not, it’s possible to love your work and find joy in it, not dread.

Burnout is an insidious condition. It happens slowly, over a long period of time. But the consequences can be life-altering, which is why it’s important to spot the signs early.

Get your copy of The 5-Minute Inner Critic Makeover

Stop negative thinking spirals and regain your confidence at work. Get the guide and discover how to tame your inner critic when you sign up for weekly tips here.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Why workers and employers are taking Burnout seriously

by Catherine Catto
Three Steps to Avoid Burnout

Three Steps to Avoid Burnout

by Caroline Castrillon
Courtesy of Ahmet Misirligul / Shutterstock
Activity Recreation//

The Age of Burnout (How to Survive an Emotionally-Demanding Job)

by Thomas Oppong

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.