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5 Top Signs You Are Heading for a Burnout – And What To Do

1.  Top Sign of Burnout – You’re Exhausted, and You’ve Lost Your Joy

Is the uplifting emotion of joy welling up inside you at least one time a day? Do you look around at the snow softly falling on your daily walk and experience a connection with nature that lifts you up? Do you take a sip of your coffee and savor the experience, feeling a rush of gratitude and enjoyment? Do you laugh with coworkers or family and return to your work buoyed and vibrant? Or do you come home in the evening and experience a rush of pleasure at the home you’ve created to relax in for the evening?

The leading sign and symptom of burnout is a loss of your joy.

The majority of people find some source of joy at some point in their day. As humans, we are naturally programmed to seek out pleasurable experiences. We act, both consciously and unconsciously, to create a state of homeostasis in our brain of feel-good chemicals.

Of course, it could be that the short-term remedies someone uses aren’t supportive of long-term health and wellness. The source of happiness could be the after-work beer with a co-worker, the third piece of chocolate cake, instead of a nature walk, or the serotonin rush of a yoga class.

The point is that the majority of people have some source of happiness every day- whether it is a reactive or proactive behavior, whether health and wellness are promoting or detracting. It doesn’t matter how tired they are, or stressed, people who aren’t burnt out experience at least a few moments per day of happiness.

If you are exhausted, and you’ve lost all sense of joy in your life, then you are close to burnout or already suffering from complete exhaustion.

2.  You’re Flooded With Negative Emotions Most of the Day

The second sign or symptom you are heading for burnout or already burnt out is experiencing negative emotions almost all day long. The dominant negative emotion will differ based on personality type and personal background.

Are you irritable? Are you depressed? Do you spend a great deal of your day anxious?

Is stress your constant companion? Are you trying to suppress and near-constant feeling of overwhelm? Or are you experiencing disinterest and apathy?

Your body works hard to reach a state of homeostasis. In times of threat and trauma, the body is primed to respond with a rush of hormones and neurotransmitters. You experience a rush of insulin, DHEA, adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. The body alters its functioning, stopping repairing efforts, inhibiting your digestion, suppressing your immune system, tensing muscles, dilating your bronchial tubes, and increasing your heart rate so that you can fight, run away, or power through.

The problem comes when you are under long-term, chronic stress. The body is resourceful and loyal in its efforts to keep supplying you with what you need to function under pressure. Even when you use up all of your adrenaline and cortisol, the body then steals from your sex hormones to keep up the stress hormones in the body. You can keep functioning for months or even years in a state of what experts call ‘adrenal fatigue.’

You are heading toward burnout when you experience this adrenal fatigue. But what does it feel like to have adrenal fatigue, or be heading toward burnout?

Well, this is when you will start experiencing a flood of negative emotions. Anger, irritability, anxiety, sadness, depression, apathy, stress, or fear threaten to overwhelm you.

Moments of joy are rare.

If you are heading for burnout, but not yet there, you will be able to suppress these negative emotions during the day at work and force yourself to just power through.

When you get done with work, the stress will not diminish. You need it to power through your tasks and responsibilities at home before you allow yourself to crash.

Wired all day, you will now have a hard time relaxing at night. You will feel too tired to do anything, and yet not relaxed. At this point, you may turn to food, alcohol, TV, or all of the above as you try to seek out a rebalancing of your brain and body.

3.  Your sex drive is diminished or gone.

When your body is in a fight or flight response chronically, your adrenals become fatigued and stop being able to produce stress hormones. So your body starts stealing sex hormones to keep up your stress hormones. If you want to test yourself for burnout symptoms, ask yourself about your sex drive.

4.  You get ill more often.

In a chronic state of stress, the body suppresses your immune system. Are you getting ill more often than you used to? Are you always the one in the office who catches the illness going around? A common sign you are heading for burnout is a weakened immune system.

5. Extreme Fatigue and Inability to Perform Anymore

Under chronic stress the continually raised levels of stress cause your internal organs to run out of the raw materials they require to produce. Overstimulated for too long, your adrenal glands weaken and then give out. Your body runs out of not only the stress hormones but your sex hormones and positive neurotransmitters.

After reading this, perhaps you understand why people are wrong when they think that burnout is a mental health problem. So many people think it is a matter of just working too hard, too long, or losing enthusiasm for their work, so they burn out.

The truth is, that burnout isn’t just a mental health problem.

The body burns up the stress hormones, sex hormones, and too many neurotransmitters. The body burns up from the inside out as digestion, and immune system functioning is inhibited, and energy is taken away from restoring and repair efforts.

Of course, the brain and your sense of well-being and emotions are impacted by this burnout of the body. Negative emotions flood your system. Joy is gone. You can’t find a way to rebalance your brain, body, and feelings anymore. You are now suffering all the symptoms of burnout.

Your body, mind, and spirit suffer under chronic stress. There is only so much stress, for so long, you can take, or anyone can take, before the body gives out, and the mind unbalances.

How Do You Overcome Burn Out?

The first step is the most critical. You need to learn to be patient with yourself. It took months or years to burn yourself out. It will take time to restore health and well-being to your body, brain, and spirit.

You will need to rebuild your vitality, energy, and health with treatment.

1.  You need to talk to your doctor to discover which supplements you need to rebuild and rebalance the vitamins, minerals, hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters in your body. At the same time, your doctor can prescribe the optimum high-nutrition diet and exercise program customized for YOU.

2.  Start a cleanse. Consult your doctor about a cleanse in which you give up caffeine, alcohol, gluten, dairy, sugar, and meat for anywhere between two days to twenty-two days. A cleanse will allow your body to restore a balance in the functioning of your adrenals and digestion and purge impurities from your body.

3.  Eat a diet high in whole, unprocessed vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains, pure water, and non-sugared tea to bring your body, mind, and spirit rejuvenation.

4.  Start a daily yoga practice to rebalance your neurotransmitters, elevate your positive emotions, and improve your health. Engaging in a twenty-minute yoga practice every morning, preferably outside, will kick your parasympathetic system on and turn your nervous system off. Turning your parasympathetic system on will send your body into a state of restoration and repair. Your heart rate will drop, your muscles relax, your digestion will activate as enzymes are released, your immune system will receive a boost, your lungs will constrict, and your body will begin to repair.

5.  Walk every day outside. Spending ten minutes outside on a walk will restore your body, protect your telomeres, and start to rebuild your body’s resiliency to stress. Most people find it easier to open up to a sense of connection and joy in nature.

6.  Downshift one day a week. Take one day to connect with family and friends, to relax, and to turn off your nervous system.

7.  Evaluate. Take time Once a week to evaluate your values and goals in the different areas of your life: career, relationships, money, environment, health, a sense of purpose and giving, and spiritual well-being. Holistic wellness incorporates well-being in each of these areas. Take time to look at where you are in each area of wellness, set goals, and work out the single most important thing you can do to advance yourself toward that goal in the next week. Schedule time each day or week towards getting this priority accomplished.

Wishing you radiant health, joy, and abundance, Heather

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