Mental Health

10 Sneaky Signs That You Are Burnt Out

It can be challenging to identify burnout, but it can creep up on you without realising. Look for these signs to identify whether you are stressed, depressed or burnt out.

By URLife Team
28 Aug 2023

Burnout is not a new phenomenon. Chronic workplace stress, which is not managed timely and successfully leads to burnout. While the signs of burnout can sometimes be glaringly obvious, they can also manifest in subtle and sneaky ways that often go unnoticed until it's too late. Recognising these early signs is crucial in order to prevent burnout from taking a toll on your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.


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A 2015 study by Association for Psychological Science indicates that workplace burnout can reconfigure neural circuits within the brain. This can make it harder for your brain to focus on your work and get the desired productivity.


Related Posts: How to Identify, And Deal With, Signs of Burnout


Difficulty in Decision Making

Experiencing difficulty in making decisions can be a sign of various factors, including stress, anxiety, or even burnout. When you're overwhelmed or emotionally taxed, it can become challenging to weigh options and arrive at a choice. If you find yourself struggling with decision-making, consider these steps:

  • Identify the Source: Reflect on whether external factors like increased workload, personal issues, or lack of sleep might be affecting your ability to make decisions.
  • Prioritise: Focus on the most important decisions first. Break down complex choices into smaller, manageable steps.
  • Gather Information: Collect all the necessary information related to your decision. Having a clear understanding of the options can make the decision-making process less daunting.
  • Set a Time Limit: Give yourself a specific time frame to make a decision. Avoid endlessly deliberating, as this can increase stress and prolong the process.
  • Consider Pros and Cons: List the potential advantages and disadvantages of each option. This can help clarify the potential outcomes and guide your decision.


Related Post: 5 Stages Of Burnout—An Expert’s Guide To Cope


Fluctuating Emotions

Experiencing fluctuating emotions can be challenging, but it's just a normal human experience. Burnout can often take a toll on your emotional well-being. Here are a few steps you can take to help manage and navigate your emotions when they feel overwhelming:

  • Acknowledge Your Emotions: Recognise and accept your emotions without judgement. Understand that it's okay to feel a range of emotions, and they are a natural response to various situations.
  • Identify Triggers: Try to identify what might be triggering these emotional fluctuations. Are there specific situations, people, or thoughts that tend to amplify your emotions?
  • Practice Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation. These practices can help you stay present and manage intense emotions.
  • Journalling: Write down your feelings and thoughts. This can help you gain insights into patterns and triggers, as well as provide a healthy outlet for processing emotion.


Related Post: How To Avoid Burnout? Signs, Symptoms, And How To Spot It Early


Increased Cynicism

If you find yourself becoming increasingly negative or cynical about your work, colleagues, or tasks that used to excite you, it might be a sign of burnout. This negativity can seep into various aspects of your life. Listed below are various steps to approach this problem:

  • Self-Awareness: Recognise and acknowledge that you're feeling more cynical. Understanding your emotions is the first step toward addressing them.
  • Identify Triggers: Reflect on what situations, people, or experiences tend to trigger your cynicism. Understanding the root causes can help you address them more effectively.
  • Challenge Negative Thoughts: Practice cognitive reframing by challenging negative or cynical thoughts. Look for evidence that contradicts your cynical beliefs and consider alternative perspectives.
  • Practice Gratitude: Regularly focusing on things you're grateful for can help shift your mindset away from negativity and cynicism.
  • Limit Negative Exposure: Reduce your exposure to overly negative news, social media, or conversations that can contribute to cynicism.


Physical Symptoms

Burnout doesn't just affect your mind—it can impact your body too. Frequent headaches, stomach problems, sleep disturbances, and a weakened immune system might all be indicators of burnout.


Related Post: Ask the Expert : Everything You Want To Know About Mental Health


Detachment and Isolation

Feeling disconnected from your colleagues, friends, or family could be a result of burnout. You might withdraw to cope with the stress, leading to feelings of isolation.


Loss of Interest

Hobbies or activities that used to bring you joy suddenly feel uninteresting or overwhelming. This loss of interest in things you once loved can point to burnout.


Neglected Self-Care

When burnout starts to creep in, self-care routines often take a backseat. You might neglect exercise, healthy eating, or even basic grooming habits.


Constant Fatigue

Despite getting enough sleep, you may feel constantly drained and lacking in energy. Burnout can lead to chronic fatigue that goes beyond physical tiredness.


Related Post: 7 Signs You Need To Take A Break For Your Mental Health


Decreased Productivity

A sudden decline in your ability to focus, complete tasks, or generate new ideas can indicate burnout. You might find it hard to concentrate and struggle to be as productive as you once were.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


Recognising the subtle signs of burnout is crucial for maintaining your well-being and preventing its debilitating effects. These sneaky indicators, often overshadowed by your busy lives, serve as important early warnings that should not be ignored. By paying attention to shifts in your physical, emotional, and cognitive states, you can take proactive steps to address burnout before it takes a toll on your health, relationships, and overall quality of life. Prioritising self-care, setting boundaries, and seeking support when needed can empower you to navigate challenges and find renewed balance and resilience in your daily life.


Regular health checks are essential for everyone, but they are particularly important for individuals who are at risk of or already have stress. Taking regular health checks can help detect stress at an early stage when it is easier to manage and treat. With the UR.Life HRA, we help you to invest in your well-being through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you can bring your whole self to work.

With our medical professionals by your side, routine health check-ups will never be an issue. Advanced laboratory technologies back UR.Life’s Occupational Health Centers (OHC), and with highly qualified experts/technicians, we’re committed to delivering trusted and quality recommendations, modifications and advice to you.



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