People who display these 8 traits are highly susceptible to burnout

by Tina Fey | February 3, 2024, 5:24 pm

This is one of the most elusive yet pervasive things we face in life:

You’re a hard worker, always striving to do your best, but you’re starting to feel overwhelmed.

You’ve tried to balance it all, you’ve put in the effort to manage your workload, but it’s starting to feel like you’re running on empty.

Some days, it’s not even that noticeable.

You just have this nagging sense that you’re heading towards a burnout even though you tell yourself you can handle it all.

This is when you need to take a step back and look at the warning signs.

Here’s how to recognize the eight traits that indicate you’re highly susceptible to burnout, even if it seems like a hard pill to swallow.

1) You’re always feeling overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed is a common symptom of burnout.

It’s when you constantly feel like there’s too much on your plate and no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to dig your way out.

Many people describe it as feeling buried under a mountain of tasks, responsibilities, and expectations.

If you find that you’re always in a state of stress, always rushing, and perpetually feeling like you’re running behind, then this may be an indication that you’re highly susceptible to burnout.

Burnout isn’t a state of being busy; it’s a state of being overwhelmed to the point where it starts to take a toll on your mental and physical health. 

If this sounds familiar, it might be time to pause and reassess.

2) You’ve become a perfectionist

It might also be a good time to reassess the pressure you put on yourself. I’m talking about perfectionism

Perfectionism in moderation can lead to great work, but when it becomes all-consuming, it can be detrimental to your mental health. It’s the feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough and there’s always room for improvement.

This constant chase for perfection can be exhausting, and it’s one of the traits that make perfectionists more susceptible to burnout.

If you find yourself constantly dissatisfied with your work, or if you don’t even take a moment to appreciate what you’ve accomplished, get comfortable with this idea: 

Progress, not perfection. That’s a more worthy goal to reach for because progress is achievable. Perfection is not – it’s just a recipe for burnout. 

3) You’re constantly feeling fatigued

Now let’s do a quick body check. Do you always feel tired, even on days when there isn’t much on your plate? 

There’s a difference between being tired after a long day of work and feeling chronically fatigued.

I remember a time in my life when I was juggling multiple projects, both at work and personally. I was always on the go, barely able to catch my breath.

Every morning, I’d wake up already feeling drained, as if I hadn’t slept at all. Coffee became my best friend, my lifeline to get me through the day. 

But no matter how many cups I had, I was always tired.

This constant fatigue is a clear sign of burnout. It’s not just physical tiredness; it’s a deep, emotional exhaustion that seeps into every aspect of your life.

4) You’re experiencing a loss of enjoyment

This one can be a bit tricky to spot.

Once upon a time, you loved what you did. You found joy in your work, in your hobbies, and even in your daily routine. But now, it feels like all the color has drained from your life.

Did you know that burnout can actually alter your brain’s reward system? It’s true. 

A study published in Molecular Psychiatry found that chronic stress, like the kind experienced during burnout, can cause changes in the brain that make it harder to experience pleasure and satisfaction.

Which means that if you find that nothing seems to spark joy anymore, not even the things you once enjoyed, this could be a sign that burnout is on the horizon.

5) You’re neglecting your own needs

This is a big one, and it’s so easy to fall into this trap.

When you’re working hard, when you’re passionate about what you do, it’s easy to forgo self-care.

You might skip meals, miss out on sleep, or even disregard your emotional needs because you feel you don’t have the time or energy for it.

But here’s the thing: You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Neglecting your own needs isn’t just unhealthy–it makes you more susceptible to burnout. 

Imagine trying to drive a car without fuel; eventually, you’re going to break down. That’s you when you’ve gone empty for too long. When you constantly put work or other people before your own well-being.

6) You’re always in a rush

Do you ever feel like there’s never enough time in the day? Like no matter how early you start or how late you finish, there’s always more to do? 

Don’t mistake that for productivity or mere competitiveness.

Because the truth is, feeling like you’re always in a race against time can be a clear sign of impending burnout.  

Being in a constant rush creates chronic stress and robs you of the ability to rest, relax, and recharge.

Make no mistake – constantly racing against the clock will only put you on a fast track to burnout. It’s crucial to remember that it’s okay, and necessary, to slow down sometimes.

7) You’re constantly multitasking

Speaking of rushing brings me to the topic of multitasking. I think it’s pretty common for many of us to juggle too many things at once. After all, we want to get a lot done as much as possible. 

But are we really? 

The truth is, when you’re constantly juggling multiple tasks at once, you’re not actually getting more done. In fact, you’re likely reducing your efficiency and quality of work.

Research shows that multitasking can lead to emotional strain, emotional exhaustion, and burnout. 

That totally makes sense when you consider how having to do two, three, or even four things at once can make it difficult to focus. Then it all adds up and makes us feel overwhelmed. 

As a former multitasker, I can say how quitting this habit has done wonders for both my productivity and mental health. 

Not only do I get more done, but I also end up doing them well. Minus the stress!

8) You’re ignoring the signs

Perhaps the most crucial trait of all is denial. 

Ignoring the signs of burnout can be incredibly dangerous. It’s easy to brush off constant fatigue, stress, and lack of enjoyment as just being part of a busy lifestyle. 

But these are actually red flags signaling that you need to slow down.

If you’re reading this and recognizing these traits in yourself, don’t dismiss them. It’s not a sign of weakness to acknowledge that you’re feeling overwhelmed – it’s a sign of self-awareness and strength.

Stop saying, “I’ll deal with it later.” Otherwise, you could end up with a whole range of stress-related ailments. I don’t mean to sound negative or morbid, but that’s the harsh reality of burnout. 

Final thoughts

So what is the point of this whole article? 

Two words: Boundaries and balance.

No one ever said, “I wish I’d worked harder” at their deathbed. Mostly, their regrets center around not having taken care of themselves better or not having spent enough time with their loved ones. 

So, start being mindful and notice when you’re constantly rushing, multitasking, or neglecting your needs. Set your limits and commit to sticking to them. 

Pay attention to when you’re feeling overwhelmed or fatigued. Keep an eye out for times you lose enjoyment in things you once loved.

Be kind and patient with yourself on this journey. Seek support when you need motivation. And don’t forget to celebrate your progress, no matter how small. 

With time, setting boundaries and finding balance becomes second nature. And you may just find a healthier, happier version of yourself – one that is productive without being on the brink of burnout.

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