Career Burnout is Real – But There is Hope

By Rachel Puryear

No matter what you do for a living, there are times when your work life is trying and draining. This can be true at times even if you love your job, and feel a lot of overall fulfillment from it. For jobs we love, the awesome parts will make the tough parts worthwhile.

However, there can come a point where too much becomes too much. Where the good times get forgotten, and the difficult times seem to become the norm. This leads to burnout. When burnout happens, performance at work might drop, personal relationships often suffer, as does overall mental and physical health.

Work burnout is a serious and common problem, and does a lot of damage to a person’s life if not addressed.

When you are burned out, it can be difficult to realize the need for help. Delaying getting help until burnout becomes more obvious often leads to problems which seriously damage one’s health, family and social life, or career. Accordingly, here are some of the more subtle and early signs of impending professional burnout, at which point it can be addressed sooner:

Woman in office at computer late at night, looking stressed and with her head in her hands.

You’re Always Tired, And/Or Sleep is Poor

You’re finding yourself sleeping more than you used to, and still feeling tired. And/or, you are sleeping poorly.

You Lack Motivation to Do Usual Activities, at Work or Elsewhere

You just don’t feel up to doing the things you used to enjoy in your personal life. You’d like to do fun things and see people, but you just don’t have the energy. House cleaning, workouts, and other chores you were able to get done with a little motivation before are falling off track.

At work, you’re having trouble keeping up, or you’re falling behind. Maybe you’re worried about blowing deadlines.

You Are Feeling Sick or Under the Weather More Often

You’re having more headaches, more stomachaches, more sniffles, more joint and muscle aches, more depressed and anxious days, whatever it is; and more days where it’s just really difficult to get out of bed.

You Are Having Increased Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety

Many of the things on this list are also such symptoms. Depression also can include feeling empty and hopeless, as well as thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Anxiety can include constantly feeling dread, loss of control, and panic attacks can occur.

Note: If you’re having thoughts of suicide, please get IMMEDIATE help – one resource available is the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at (800) 273-8255. (English and Spanish)

You Dread Getting Up for Work in the Morning

When the alarm clock goes off in the morning, you are immediately filled with dread. You do not look forward to anything for the day. You feel “Sunday night blues” at the end of the weekend.

You Sometimes Wish You Could Just Disappear

You might fantasize about getting an illness, or having an accident that lands you in the hospital for a while. Or just walking away from your career. You may even be tempted to purposefully make a serious professional “mistake” – to force yourself out of your work.

If you’re in these kinds of places, the problem is serious – and you’re at risk of doing something you really regret. There are much less destructive ways to get yourself a fresh start, though.

Your Mind is Elsewhere Much of the Time

Maybe you’re not at the point of destroying your career or self-destructing, but you’re there-but-not-really-there when you’re at work. You have trouble focusing on your work. You avoid being fully present, and focus on how much longer until you can get out of there.


If you are having signs of burnout, it’s important to start thinking about making a change. Change can be hard, even if you’re uncomfortable where you are – but there comes a time when it becomes much more painful not to change, than it does to change.

Are you burned out in your career, and want to talk to someone about making a positive change? Reach out here to talk to an experienced life coach, and get a consultation at no charge.

Even if the change you want takes longer than you’d like, just starting the process of changing can help improve how you feel already – because you know you’re on a path to somewhere better.

Give yourself a chance at the new life you want. We look forward to helping you towards your goals.


Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to recognizing burnout, and taking the steps necessary to enjoy a more satisfying career and life.

Got a question you want answered through this blog? Submit your question to me here – and if you don’t already, please subscribe to the Free Range Life newsletter while you’re there!

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