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11 Signs Of Professional Burnout And Ways To Overcome It ft Forbes.com

11 Signs Of Professional Burnout And Ways To Overcome It Expert Panel®Forbes Councils MemberForbes Coaches CouncilCOUNCIL POST| Membership (fee-based)Leadership Professionals have reported staggering levels of

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11 Signs Of Professional Burnout And Ways To Overcome It

Forbes Coaches Council
Expert Panel®
Forbes Councils Member
Forbes Coaches Council
COUNCIL POST| Membership (fee-based)

Professionals have reported staggering levels of burnout over the past year. With the stressors of the pandemic compounding those of work and home life, it’s no surprise leaders and employees at all levels are struggling to maintain their drive and energy.

While there may be comfort in knowing that you are not alone, when tasks and issues you used to be able to handle with ease start to feel burdensome and overwhelming, the stress you suffer can become chronic. No one is exempt from potentially burning out in any role, whether that’s at work or at home. 

If you’re worried about burning out, the first step is learning to recognize the warning signs. Here, 11 contributors to Forbes Coaches Council explore telltale signs of burnout and give their best advice on how to deal with it and recover your former motivation.

Featured members share signs of professional burnout and ways to overcome it.

Forbes Coaches Council members share signs of professional burnout and ways to overcome it.

 PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

1. Feeling Overworked And Stressed

If I feel stressed, overworked or anxious all the time and feel I have a lot to do, I am feeling burnt out. Some strategies to overcome it involve changing your current state. Doing 50 star jumps works like magic. Go for daily walks and take deep breaths several times a day. Take a break of two or three days to do what you love; perhaps connect with nature. Manage your time by segregating the urgent and non-urgent tasks. – Shilpa Kulshrestha, Scintillate Coaching

2. Increasing Disengagement

The obvious sign is disengagement as a result of physical, emotional and cognitive fatigue, which leads to a lack of productivity and a feeling of incompetence. The solution is hidden in Michael Gungor’s definition of it: “Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long.” Allow time for recharging, be aware of what and who fuels and drains your energy and balance those things. All of this can help you avoid burnout. – Elif Suner

3. Chronic Anxiety And Anger

Chronic anxiety, anger, a short temper, frustration, poor sleep and depression are all sure signs. If you’re self-medicating with food and booze, that’s also a sign. Get a therapist. Work out, and do it hard. Do your best to only drink water (no stimulants or booze). Wherever your body goes, your mind will follow. And remember, nothing is worth dying for. Quit if you need to. You’ll be fine. – Mike Koenigs, The Superpower Accelerator

4. Taking More Sick Days

If you’re taking more sick days, you’re challenged to get out of bed or you’re saying phrases such as, “I’m drowning!” then you’re most likely on the verge of burnout. Communicate with your manager, not by oversharing but by collaborating on ways that could reduce this burnout while maintaining integrity and success at your job. Don’t assume they know what you’re going through. Communicate! – Colleen Hauk, Balance Point Coaching


Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?


5. Disconnection From Passion Or Goals

Feeling disconnected from your passion or goals, feeling tired and not being able to focus or sleep well can all be signs. If this sounds familiar, take a break and take some time for yourself. Do something relaxing or fun that can help you reconnect with your creative capacity, such as gardening, exercising, cooking or meeting friends; or look for a therapist to talk about how you feel. – Michelle de Matheu, The Mind, Body & Soul Stylist

6. Having An Out-Of-Mind Experience

One sign is when you have an out-of-mind experience. You work somewhere for five years, for example, and you snap at someone seemingly for no reason, and this is pattern-breaking. You decide to send that angry email when you would have normally held it back a day, and you have never done this before. You let down a client you like and don’t really care that you did. Catch small signs such as this and take action early. They can get worse. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.

7. Negativity And Brain Fog

Burnout shows up in different ways for different people: negativity, brain fog, terse or short reactions, feeling overly tired, etc. The best way to overcome it is to spend time doing something that recharges your energy. This could be anything that replenishes you: being in nature, a spa day, a workout, etc. When possible, unplug. A little time away from technology can do wonders for burnout! – Lindsay Miller, Reverie Organizational Development Specialists

8. Feeling Sleepy And Unable To Concentrate

Burnout is becoming really bad with so many people working at home due to Covid-19. Your eyes grow tired. You feel sleepy. You cannot concentrate. These are the initial signs of burnout. As it gets worse, you cannot sleep, you gain weight and you have headaches. If you can, get a sit-stand desk; it keeps you moving. Block time on your calendar for lunch and breaks. Get away from the desk and walk around. – John Knotts, Crosscutter Enterprises

9. Feeling Uninspired

When we feel uninspired, it’s time to switch things up. Set a challenge for yourself in an area where you have no experience. That could be indoor skydiving, vision boarding or Munro bagging (it’s a thing); just try something you haven’t done before. Embracing a new challenge shakes up our energy, our confidence and our creativity and sets us on a path of inspired performance. – Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC

10. Flagging Energy Or Morale

One consistent sign of burnout that I have witnessed is flagging energy or morale. If you find yourself constantly tired or lacking zeal or passion for your work, you may be moving toward burnout. There are several places to start, but here are my top two: First, take a break (a vacation). Then, add some physical activity to the start of your day, such as walking or running before you head to the office. – Billy Williams, Archegos

11. Feeling Constantly Overwhelmed

Feelings of overwhelm are signals that we’re losing effective control of our behavior. Continued feelings of overwhelm will overheat us. Like a machine running without oil, we’ll burn out and shut down. Look at your perception of your situation. Define simply what you want. See the gap. List what’s needed (behaviors, thinking, actions) by when to get what’s wanted or to change what you want. – Jay Steven Levin, WinThinking

Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?


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Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.

Michelle de Matheu, High-Performance Life & Business Coach. Mind-Body & Soul Stylist. Read Michelle de Matheu’s full executive profile here.

Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.

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