Burnout is a gradual process that progresses over an extended period of time. If you’re not paying attention to some subtle – at first! – warning signals, they get worse and worse as time goes on.
The early burnout symptoms suggest that something is wrong that needs to be addressed. If you respond to this warning, you can prevent a major breakdown. If you ignore them, you’ll eventually burn out.
Burnout symptoms in Early stages
Through its stages, burnout is accompanied by:
- A loss of meaning and degradation of personal values
- Significantly reduced physical and mental performance
- Sense of failure and self-doubt
- Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
- Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
- The development of a negative attitude to work and unconstructive behavioural patterns at work
- Deterioration of physiological and psychological well-being including lowered immunity, feeling sick a lot
In terms of the last point, people experiencing excessive stress at work often suffer from some or all of the following burnout symptoms:
- Withdrawing from responsibilities and contact with others
- Chronic insomnia / serious sleep disturbances
- Chronic fatigue to the point of exhaustion
- Lack of concentration, forgetfulness
- Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
- Demotivated, depressive mood (not to be confused with clinical depression)
- Breathlessness and/or panic attacks
- Fear of failure, fear of future
- Backaches, recurring headaches, muscle tension.