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How Does Burnout Feel Like?


Have you ever wondered why no matter how hard you work, it seems so hard to keep up?" When was the last time you hanged out with friends but found it a waste of time? Have you been asking yourself, "Why can't I seem to do things right?" If you're guilty of these statements – you're facing burnout.

So how does burnout feel like?

Medical Webster defines burnout as a form of fatigue that occurs when you become exhausted from prolonged exposure to a stressful situation.

In other words, it's a cynical or dejected feeling about the way your life is going. It's a kind of torment inside that pulls you to get emotionally drained and unable to meet the things you are expecting so you feel helpless.

The below symptoms are what burnout feels like. To win yourself back, exercise discipline in the mind and slowly practice coping behavior in a calm and orderly manner.

1) You Are Alienating Yourself

Yes... and that's the reason why you feel sarcastic about many things at work including the people you work with. You start to hate to be disturbed as if it's a way out. This can also lead to emotionally distancing yourself to the extent of falling into a feeling of emptiness that everything you see is how tiring things have become.

The moment you can afford to ignore a friend's request, an invitation for coffee, talking with your kids, having fun with the family, or smiling back when someone smiles at you - be very cautious.

What You Can Do? Stop, Ask and Think.


"Where can I cut back?"

"Why am I doing too much?"

"How can I put more fun into my life?"

  • Adding excitement to life will snap you out of a rut faster. Every idea that gives the feeling of reassurance is an effective strategy.
  • Get out of the ditch and get moving, ride a bike, take a long walk or walk your dog. If you prefer the indoors then do the garden, cook something decadent or clean your wardrobe.
  • Act. Be willing to take risks and make changes, or at least some part of it no matter how small.
  • Socialize. Volunteer. Visit the elderly, help in your local community, or join the church choir. If these things are not for you then spend some time with friends and treat yourself with all the laughing you can do.
  • Have you tried getting involved with your kid's activities? Did you know that children have very special warmth that can help you realize and get back to your senses?

2) You Feel So Drained

This deals with both physical and emotional exhaustion. If you've been wondering why you feel like not wanting to work or have fun -- burnout has kicked you tired and unable to cope up. Entertaining how this feeling is affecting you is also allowing burnout to rule all of yourself.

You start to give in to the flaws that the workload is too much and that it keeps loading the burden onto your shoulders. You are angry with yourself about why you just can't meet deadlines. Your reduced performance is starting to affect your everyday tasks at work or in the home. Your time with family is lessened, you are forgetting special occasions, and may feel less creative in what matters for everybody. Why? Because you are tired.

What You Can Do? Conserve Life Energy at All Cost

  • Conserving energy means preserving your sanity and strength in ways that give you a full charge. When the energy flow is strong, you're far from getting a mental block or giving up. The effects of this in daily life are increased creativity, concentration, and confidence.
  • Did you know that overeating or not eating, long hours in front of the tv, not sleeping, or compulsive complaining, and rushing, are among the things that slowly drain your energy reserves?
  • Adopting good habits preserves energy and frees you of habits that waste it. Giving the mind some space for a quiet time each day means that you try to let go of mental tension and worries.
  • A positive attitude increases awareness in certain areas of the body, which is vital for the harmonic unity between body, mind, and energy. Small but positive ways will help you feel empowered. Soon, the stress will lessen.

3) You Keep Running After Time

Imagine how you go with your daily life - are you dealing with unreasonable time pressure? You want to impress yourself by believing that you have enough time to do all your work. But the truth is you are not able to gain more time. In fact, you keep running after time which little did you know is leading to your own exploitation and saturation.

This no-control work lifestyle gives you little to no autonomy in your job. Do your colleagues care about your input? Is the company raising your pay each time you finish a task late at night? Even if you finish everything quickly - no one cares so much. If you're dealing with a nosy micromanager -- the trick is to manage your time at your own pace and be efficient. You have to praise yourself for working hard, not your boss.

What You Can Do? Redefine your Goals

  • Focus on the really enriching, satisfying aspects of any task you have to undertake.
  • Never be afraid to ask yourself, "What's in this for me?" Trying to be objective will help you step back and look at your life situation as if it were someone else's.
  • Listen to your body then assess your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest -- you need a clear picture of what you are working with and how you want things to be. A positive approach is always an effective way to deal with all situations.
  • Above all, be realistic. Don't expect too much of yourself, don't expect always to be right -- you will never be perfect. The important thing is you set attainable goals.
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4) You Keep Denying that You Needed Help

You wanted to talk and unload but you keep ignoring the need to confide to someone. Be very wary. Lack of communication suppresses the heart and mind's desire to express and burst the burden out. Don't deny that you're only trying to act like you're fine. You want to imagine that nothing is to be depressed about in your life. But for baffling reasons, you wake up every day feeling hopeless.

Denying help emerges from the fear of being disfavored or being distinguished as someone helpless. It's the self-stigma of being devalued as to why you needed professional help. Prolonged agony definitely causes burnout because of the struggle why you are feeling so down. Imagine how you allowed your inner self to get hurt by those ripples when the truth is you deserve to be free.

What You Can Do? Seek, Accept, and Appreciate Help

  • Admit that you need assistance. Delegate as much work as possible. Doing it all yourself may seem simpler in the short run, but you're sure to exhaust yourself in the long run.
  • When in a hard situation, try not to hold all your feelings within. Instead, talk to family, friends, or colleagues. Talking about it helps alleviate some of the tension you may be feeling.
  • A manager's support offers an emotional cushion that guards against stress. The more you are open to possibilities, the less likely you'll experience burnout.
  • Why not invite Mom and Dad to spend a day or the weekend with you? Other than you can trust them about your feelings, it's your chance for some quality time together. This for me is the best, the sweetest, and our best gesture to make Mom and Dad happiest, as well.

Healing from Burnout

Burnout will never go away until you disown it. The more you feign that you're okay, the more it allows burnout to rule. You actually don't have to win the war in a day or two, not even a week. Healing from burnout needs some space to restore your inner self. It requires some time to pardon yourself. Above all, it needs a clear acceptance of how you got pinned down and now is going back up.

Learning to harness the power of positive thinking brings you power. If a mental state can make you sick it can also make you well. Inspire yourself that where there is positiveness, the real self bursts through like the sun and dominates the personality.

Congratulations, you WON the war! :-)


Some Help You Might Find Useful


Katherine on December 14, 2014:

Wow, that's a really clever way of thkiinng about it!

Tonette Fornillos (author) from The City of Generals on July 22, 2012:

Hello Lastheart - I was inspired by your comment, thank you. Glad I have encouraged you. If I did something worthwhile, you too can even have more than that. I see yours as full of love and GOD. We're lucky! Thanks for the wishes. All the best to you and Froggy too. Thanks so much.

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on July 22, 2012:

Tonipet, your words are wonderful, I wish sometimes I just could flow with these kind of encouragements. Blessings my friend.

Tonette Fornillos (author) from The City of Generals on July 20, 2012:

So nice of you share that course Debra, many of us would love to know remedies and techniques for stress relief. That's if we truly care for our body and mind. Thanks so much for reading. It feels good to have helped. I'm definitely visiting that link. Keep up and all the best.

Debra on July 20, 2012:

What an informative hub ! I will come back regularly for your great tips ! I was always stress out all the time dealing my kids, work and a demanding husband that i eventually became burnt out. To overcome the burnt out syndrome i started to look for information on stress relief remedies and techniques. One of the best techniques i found about two months ago is Music and Sound Therapy from a website called Soothing Stress Relief Sounds Course and sign up to learn more. I ended up getting a copy of the course. I am have to say that this course is amazing!! I know now what steps i can take to relax each day so i don't get overwhelmed by stress. I would recommend this course to anyone who is suffering from stress !

Tonette Fornillos (author) from The City of Generals on July 17, 2012:

Hello Rachel. That moment you felt better from the helpful read, it had boost you tons of positive energy. Pretty small things that we don't usually bother appreciating, but the biggest help our heart and mind would always thank us for. Your comment made me happy, thank you for sharing. Best of health and tons of smiles! :=)

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania to Minnesota on July 17, 2012:

Wow this was really good reading, and very helpful to me right now. Like others I'm sure, I know burnout all too well. Voted up and useful, AND it made me feel better :)

Tonette Fornillos (author) from The City of Generals on July 01, 2012:

@Larry – I’m sorry. Truly our world is full of different concerns. I wish you have friends who will not give up on you especially when things go really hard. Nothing else is best than wishing you and your wife courage :=) Surely you’ll keep gaining all the love in spite of challenges. We’re here as friends. GOD listens, HE heals…HE finds a way. With HIM, tomorrow and the rest can be better. Best regards to you all Larry and more power!

@kj_force –What you said taught me something new “I have always taught my patients to find their "happy place" and when you feel overwhelmed your imagination can take you there.” Indeed, beautiful things are beautiful; surely your G-children have seen that. I wish to learn yoga, but so far I find content with meditation. Thank you for the very inspiring comment. More power!

@Mhatter99 – I love this hub, I made the king of limerick talk!… just kidding. Had you chosen to do nothing and go to sleep, you would have not realized how worth you are of such challenge. The “stress” you liked? was with the execs… having them lit cigarette and smoke around their tree was like “This tall? Stolen?... ah, I must only be dreaming.” :=) I want to think this is a limerick? Thank you for making my day, like always. I really appreciate your visit.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on July 01, 2012:

I liked the stress. I'm not saying it was healthy (but I didn't get ill for years). an example of just one of my days: I got a call in the middle of the night, someone had stolen the exec's 30 foot Christmas tree! I could have been average and did nothing. but I took the challenge and stress. At 7:30 a.m. the execs passed me smoking a cigarette in front of their tree.

kjforce from Florida on July 01, 2012:

Tonipet..excellent hub on the evils of stress...the side effects of stress can be devastating and can lead to various health issues..I have always taught my patients to find their "happy place" and when you feel overwhelmed your imagination can take you there..I have taught this to my G-children and it has helped them immensely to overcome a bad situation..Yoga/Tai Chi/meditation is great did a great job with this hub.. informative..

Larry Wall on July 01, 2012:

Thank you for your kind words. My son has brain damage from a car wreck where he was a passenger. His age is 28 but he will always be 17. He also has other issues that probably will not get better. So some days are more challenging than others. This was one of those days. Tomorrow will be better. Thanks for listening.

Tonette Fornillos (author) from The City of Generals on July 01, 2012:

Oh Larry, your life is full of challenges and I can understand how everything in your system has to be exerted to fight for the sort of life plights. Not one of us here would have not done the same when on your shoe, what are we in this world for if but to save our days, to live, to eat and get life. You may have been all through those downs, but one thing made you a great person – you know how to love. Should you have thrown away that “word” long time ago, you would’ve have not bothered. I could only imagine the stress from figuring out how to manage the SS payments, how you have to make most of your wife's small retirement, and your 401K, with a sickly adult son. You’re a strong man Larry. You should know that.

I’m so thankful you have realized the best way to help gather up your mind. Taking time for you when the world is in silence also puts quietness in your mind and heart. I feel joy that at least you can sit and try to empty your mind. I think this is the best thing – “When I go to bed, is when, without any couscous action on my part, is when I start planning the next day.” I can say because you have allowed your body to pool the energy it needs for some sound thinking.

I wish your son gets even a little better. There are alternative ways to healing which might help. Sometimes, the most little things we ignore come out to be the best solutions, it pays to try. My good wishes for you, your wife and your son. The three of you is enough to tell the world, you have a life. For your will and determination, cheers to that my friend. Thanks so much for sharing. If only you know how much you have lifted the hearts of some of us for such effort and perseverance. Thanks for being a blessing. Keep up and God bless you always!

Larry Wall on July 01, 2012:


This is a good hub with some good points for many people. Some people create stress when they should not be doing so. Other of us face stress through no fault of our own. I was fired, with no cause stated, after working 22 years. I am 61. Finding a job is unlikely. Figuring out how I will manage the Social Security Payments, my wife's small retirement payment and the utilization of my 401K in a way that will give me the longest return are stressful issues, especially with the economy. I cannot set those issues aside. To get unemployment, I have to make three contacts each week with potential employers and report that to the state every Sunday via an online form. I have an adult son, who has several health problems, and will probably be living at home the rest of my life. There are other issues and I am by nature high strung. I have been to a therapist, but the insurance I have now, after losing my job, will not pay for that.

I deal with stress by taking time to myself late at night. I do not read a book or watch a movie. I just sit and try to empty my mind. When I go to bed, is when, without any couscous action on my part, is when I start planning the next day.

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