6 Surprising Signs of Burnout

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man showing signs of burnout

While we are in the midst of a global pandemic and rapidly changing political environments, the conversation around exhaustion, confusion, disconnection and burnout can feel overwhelming. What may seem like a temporary experience, could be something that has been building for some time now. And if you’re feeling it more intensely this year than in the past, you’re not alone. Right now is a great time to check in with yourself and see if you are experiencing any of the key signs of burnout.

The conversation around burnout is so important right now. We’re experiencing so many levels of stress and unpredictability. However, at Flourish we often tie burnout to something bigger – fulfillment. Because that’s what it’s really about –  how do we live rich, satisfying lives that when we are old and grey, we look back and feel proud? We have no regrets and we know that we lived life the way we wanted.

Though there may be obvious signs for burnout, when you’re an ambitious person in the midst of constant change – it can be hard to recognize the more subtle signs. And though we hear a lot about self-care (exercise, meditating, etc.), if you’re not addressing the root causes, these can often just be temporary solutions.

To help bring light to your potential burnout, here are some less obvious signs of burnout.


1. The Sunday Scaries

Here you are in the middle of your Sunday afternoon and your heartbeat quickens as you think about your next day. You sit there in a moment of dread before you take a deep breath and begin planning your evening so you’re ready for your jam-packed week ahead.

Though it’s normal to feel a little tension before the work week, if it is consistently cutting into your down time, it may be a good sign that you’re burned out.

2. Snooze Addiction

The alarm goes off in the morning with a blaring sound that grates your ears. Your phone is across the room so you throw the covers off and scamper across the room to hit the snooze button just to have a moment of peace. But now it’s chilly, so you get back into your bed under the covers and enjoy that coziness. (Feels nice, right?)

Then, you slowly doze off and nine minutes later you do it all over again. Then, again in 18 minutes. And again in 27 minutes. If you are perpetually hitting the snooze button, waking up groggy and slow – here is another post you can look at for more help.

3. Increased consumption

This is everything from binging Netflix to eating a pint of ice cream while watching TV. Maybe you’re drinking a couple more cups of coffee than usual or grabbing sugary snacks from home. This “Just one more” syndrome can be hard to notice in the moment, but overtime will contribute to the sluggishness you feel.

4. Planning your escape

Pre-COVID,  this looked like researching flights for far away places you had no intention of going. And now maybe you’re looking on Airbnb for a cabin you can escape to, but again, don’t plan on actually following through. Daydreaming about when you can get away could be a sign that you aren’t feeling fulfilled in your work and life now. Of course we’re working under unusual circumstances, but explore if this has been going on just this year, or for several.

5. Sharp weight change

Have you unexpectedly gained or lost weight in the past few months? The increased consumption, lack of sleep and added stress could cause this shift. The body has a powerful way of letting us know when something in our minds needs to be addressed. Take an honest look at how you feel and any changes you’ve noticed.

6. Counting the minutes

It’s 9 a.m. and you’re in your first meeting of the day. You find yourself immediately looking at the clock and wondering when it will end. Then, you continue to clock through the following meetings, just ready to be done with the day. Even if your last meeting is at 3pm, you’re jumping at the opportunity to sign off and close your computer.


It’s important to know that there is no shame in these. This is just your body trying to figure out how to get what it needs. Illuminating these signs of burnout is an important step in doing something about them. Of course we know better eating, quality sleep, and more exercise are important, but we still don’t do it. People are quick to tell us to take care of ourselves, but what that needs to start with is valuing ourselves. If you just take one thing away from this post, it’s to find a way to believe that being human is enough.

If you’re in need of more support, we’re here to help. Join our email list below to learn more.

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At Flourish, we've helped thousands of professionals everywhere take control of their burnout and create rich, fulfilling lives with more energy and space for happy, healthy relationships.