60 Burned Out Symptoms to Help You Listen to Your Life

by | Emotional Burnout, Mission Burnout, Post Traumatic Hope, Relationship Burnout, Strategic Burnout

Burnout isn’t an academic exercise. It’s an all-consuming, systemic condiiton. It’s your entire body sending you one clear message – something has to change, and it has to change now.” Meredith Grey from an episode of Grey’s Anatomy 

Burnout. I’m all too familiar with burned out symptoms. I’ve experienced burnout numerous times in my 62 years. And you know what? I think this is so important to say before we go any further. Each and every time, burnout has proven to ultimately be an extraordinary gift that ultimately led to breakthroughs, new opportunities, healing, transformation, and all sorts of happy dance things.

What Does Burned Out Mean?

The World Health Organization describes burnout as a syndrome with “Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion. Increased mental distance. Negativism or cynicism. And reduced efficacy.”

In my experience, I’d say their description is right on the money. I remember feeling like a bounce house with a slow leak. Ssssssss.

Now, the World Health Organization’s focus is purely occupational – workplace burnout. But in my personal experience with burnout and with the entrepreneurs and overachievers I’ve coached and the survivors of childhood sexual abuse I work with, I believe there are other forms. And what fascinates me is that no matter the form of burnout, each leads to feelings of energy depletion, exhaustion, mental distancing, negativism or cynicism, and reduced efficacy. Ssssssss.

No one should have the life drained out of them every day. So, let’s explore four different forms of burnout and some associated burnout symptoms. Because here’s the thing, we want to listen to our lives because they’re always speaking to us. Constantly feeding us critical information, attempting to get our attention. After all, the first step to waking up is to know you’re asleep.

Life will bring you your unconsciousness as a mirror over and over again.” Anonymous

Mission Burnout Symptoms

In business or your home life, missional burnout is exhausting and disorienting. And for a good reason, you feel disoriented because you’ve lost your way and desperately need a compass or map. I remember feeling like a dog chasing its tail. A hampster spinning the wheel of its cage headed nowhere fast.

I’ve experienced missional burnout in my personal life and as an entrepreneur – the symptoms for each were about identical. What are you experiencing?

  • Loss of direction
  • Loss of purpose
  • Boredom
  • Life feels meaningless
  • No clear vision, lack of clarity
  • Frustrated from going in the wrong direction
  • Busy, busy, busy, but not effective
  • Paralyzed – can’t discern the next right thing to do
  • You can’t get your team rowing in the same direction
  • Trying to map out a plan feels exhausting
  • Goals feel out of reach
  • Do I even want what I think I want?
  • Feeling stuck on a dead-end road
  • What you’re doing feels at odds with who you are
  • What you’re doing feels at odds with what you believe

Relationship Burnout Symptoms

Oh, the pain of relationship burnout. Ugh. Like the bride and groom, once passionate and connected until the creeping distance slipped them into indifferent roommates. Or the worn-out frustrated parent and the equally worn-out frustrated child.

As you read through these relationship burnout symptoms, think of your most important relationships – marriage, kids, family, and friendships. Are your relationships flourishing? Or slipping away?

  • Boredom – going through the motions
  • Loss of emotional intimacy
  • Loss of physical intimacy
  • Loss of connection
  • No laughter
  • Constant arguing
  • Lack of care for one another
  • Everything irritates you
  • You bad-mouth them to your friends, coworkers, parents, etc.
  • Stuck in the silent treatment cycle
  • Nag. Nag. Nag.
  • An overwhelming urge to control the other person
  • Conversations characterized by disrespect
  • No listening – feeling misunderstood or invisible
  • Secret keeping
  • Confiding in others
  • Pretending all is well
  • Living separate lives – spending little to no time together

Strategic Burnout Symptoms

I’m sure you’ve heard it said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Now I’m not sure who first said those insightful words Albert Einstein or Rita Mae Brown, the mystery novelist…big debate. But what I know for sure is that doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results perfectly illustrates strategic burnout.

Now, you can experience strategic burnout in any area of your life. But my personal experience with strategic burnout has been in my entrepreneurial life and the lives of the entrepreneurs and overachievers I’ve coached. So, I’ll stick to sharing strategic burned out symptoms for entrepreneurs.

  • No systems or processes
  • No templates or automations
  • Chaos – no order
  • Marketing not converting
  • Sales funnel issues
  • Weak leadership
  • Lack of communication with team members or between team members
  • No team or support – going it alone too long
  • SEO issues
  • No clear ICA (ideal customer avatar)
  • High rate of returns
  • Products that don’t connect with those you want to serve
  • No cash flow
  • No referrals

Emotional Burnout Symptoms

The state and care of the soul are foundational. Therefore emotional burnout will impact every single area of your life. And if left unaddressed will eventually lead to burnout in other areas of your life. This I know all too well from personal experience. And so you might be dealing with missional burnout, relationship burnout, or strategic burnout, but simultaneously my friend, you’re also dealing with some measurement of emotional burnout.

The natural bent of life is to wander away from God. To wander away from trusting him. And in doing so, we attempt to live a life independent from the One who created us – this is emotional burnout.

  • Loss of focus, obsessive thoughts, negative mindset, mental fog, and overwhelm
  • Stressed out, feel powerless to change, stuck in believing the worse
  • Paralyzed with indecision
  • Isolation
  • No matter who you’re with, you feel alone
  • Loss of creativity
  • Anger – more than likely covering up a deep sadness
  • Pretending you’re totally fine
  • Perfectionism
  • Overworking
  • Constant hurry
  • Feel frozen inside, dull, lifeless
  • The current pace of life feels unsustainable
  • All manner of physical symptoms – too many to list
  • Zero bandwidth
  • Days characterized by stress, anxiety, sadness, and fear
  • An emptiness that won’t go away

Now What?

Every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, ‘This is important! And this is important! And that is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And that!’ And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, ‘No. This is what’s important.'” Iain Thomas

Most people hope to live their dreams one day. But one of the many beautiful lessons burnout has taught me is that to live in the moment and enjoy the journey is the living of the dream. Today is the living of the dream. We’re all endlessly figuring things out. Adapting. Failing. Starting again. It’s all a part of living your dreams today.

No one should have the life drained out of them every day. If living in the moment and enjoying the journey feels impossible for you, something’s amiss. And so, my one call to action today is to listen to your life. It’s talking to you, my friend. Awareness of burnout is the first step to recovering from burnout. Pretending everything’s just fine will slowly make you a victim of your own life.

Now, go back through the burned-out symptoms, but before you do, pray and ask God to give you ears to hear. Listen to your life.

One final thought, I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I am not alone. One in ten adults was sexually abused during their childhood – and this statistic only accounts for the abuse that was reported to authorities. So actually, the real number is much, much higher. Why do I bring this up? Because, my friend, if you were sexually abused as a child, my empathy and passion runs deep for you. You’ve known burnout your whole life. So I’ve created special content and resources just for you – Post Traumatic Hope.

I’m Listening

I’m listening. And would love to hear from you. Email me and let me know your biggest takeaway, insight, or aha from today’s topic.

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Thanks for stopping by! Until we meet again, remember – Trusting in Jesus, you’ll have more treasure than pockets. From my heart to yours,

Sandra Adcock Signature