10 Clear Signs Of Impending Burnout At Work (And How To Overcome It)

Forbes Coaches Council Members

Apr 28, 2022

Able (Find Your Voice Asia) helps individuals find their diamond within & grow beyond the ego in order to find peace within & with others.

Burnout is an issue that transcends age, experience level and industry. It is a very real problem that can be potentially hazardous to not only the trajectory of a professional’s career at any level or stage, but also their health and well-being.


It’s critically important to understand the signs of burnout and nip it in the bud before it affects your performance at work. Here, 10 members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss these signs and provide tips professionals can use to help overcome burnout.


1. Loss Of Energy


A dramatic loss of energy for what used to excite you is one sign of burnout. Before you work with a coach to identify strategies to overcome burnout, seek support from a medical professional. Chronic stress has a physical impact, and we all know you can’t pour from an empty cup. Fortifying your system is a catalyst to making sustainable changes that aid in recovery and boost resilience. - Sundae Schneider-Bean, Sundae Schneider-Bean GmbH


2. Behavioral Changes


When somebody’s behavior takes a 180-degree turn and becomes the exact opposite of how they normally act, that is a sign that they are one step away from burning out. When you see a confident, driven person go quiet and indecisive, it is as alarming as when an introverted person suddenly steps up and becomes assertive. The decision to change must be made or else the body will do it. - Csaba Toth, ICQ Global


3. Self-Doubt


Self-doubt could be a sign of burnout. One of the ways to combat this is to surround yourself with tangible evidence of your wins—certificates or emails of commendation, for example—so that when doubt creeps in, you are able to point toward real evidence of milestones of success. - Claudine Reid, PJ’s Community Service




4. Dips In Motivation, Inspiration And Attention


In a hybrid world, managers are proving to be the relationship glue in the organization, best positioned to spot signs of burnout. Noticing when team members are experiencing big dips in motivation, inspiration and attention provide an opportunity to catch early signs. Demonstrating care and fostering belonging are a couple of the most powerful ways they can help others burn bright. - Elisa Mallis, Center for Creative Leadership


5. Loss Of Excitement

You may be a victim of burnout if you are no longer excited about the activities that typically bring you joy. Life and work become dull and draining. It may be challenging to consider what does make you happy. If this is not normal for you, it’s critical to take a complete break to recharge. By unplugging completely from the stress source, you can then begin to reflect on a healthy path forward. - Erin Urban, UPPSolutions, LLC

6. Physical Issues

Burnout occurs when a person is unaware of their own body’s message to care for itself, and it can show up as instant reactiveness triggered by outer stimuli: tightened muscles, fatigue, dizziness, an overworked heart and more. To overcome it, you must start by becoming aware that you are unhealthy and evaluate how you spend your time. Start by going back to doing what you love without obligation. - Able Wanamakok, Find Your Voice Asia

7. Feeling Trapped Or Stuck

A clear sign of burnout is feeling trapped or stuck and, therefore, unable to accomplish anything satisfactorily. As burnout is not an overnight process, being able to identify the early symptoms of restlessness, detachment and cynicism are key. Seeking coaching and, if needed, counseling is helpful, as this can help identify the source of burnout so that timely, autonomous remedial action can be taken. - Thomas Lim,Singapore Public Service, SportSG

8. Loss Of Joy

You notice that you are no longer joyful when it comes to your work. Pay attention to details—do you still sleep well? Do you have time for family and friends? Life is not just about work, and only trying to catch up on your to-do list can easily create burnout. - Reelika Schulte, Dream Lifestyle

9. Inability To Focus

Inability to focus is a sign of burning out at work, and it will lead to disengagement and performance issues if not addressed. An effective way to overcome this problem is to build downtime into your schedule just as you would meetings, presentations and project work. Scheduling downtime to reset mentally allows you to show up with a renewed sense of focus and intention to complete work tasks. - Cathy Lanzalaco, Inspire Careers LLC

10. Feeling Lethargic

A clear sign someone is reaching burnout is lethargy: They don't seem interested anymore in their work, and they certainly aren’t taking initiative. In that case, evaluate what changed that led to this feeling. Perhaps priorities have shifted, and you no longer feel excited by your current job, or maybe you're unhappy with a strategic decision. Figure out what needs to change and then go change it. - Josephine Kant,Google for Startups Want to ask questions or need guidance? Please email me at able@findyourvoice.asia.