Early Signs Of Burnout: How To Recognise When You're Reaching Your Breaking Point

Are You Stressed Out?

As a corporate employee, you’re no stranger to stress. Perhaps you have even convinced yourself to accept stress as a constant companion. While a certain level of stress can be beneficial, indicating your investment in your work, it can also become overwhelming and lead to burnout. This can have serious consequences for your mental and physical health, as well as your ability to perform effectively at work.

Understanding Your Breaking Point

But what precisely does the term “breaking point” mean? The “breaking point” is the moment just before you experience “burnout,” a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged exposure to stress. Reaching this breaking point can have severe implications for your overall well-being and professional performance.

Four Early Signs to Look Out For

To avoid reaching your breaking point, it is crucial to recognize the signs and address them promptly. Here are four early warning signs that you should be aware of:

Decreased Energy & Motivation

Feeling extremely fatigued or lacking the motivation to do anything is a clear indication that you might be approaching your breaking point. You might find yourself wanting to sleep in, feeling unproductive, or lacking the energy and interest to tackle even the most mundane tasks or activities that you usually enjoy.

Sleep Issues

Sleep disturbances are very common among individuals edging towards their breaking point. These can manifest as insomnia, sleep paralysis, nightmares, or waking up feeling exhausted despite a full night’s rest. Disrupted sleep patterns can further exacerbate the negative impacts of stress and burnout.

Mood Swings

As you near your breaking point, you might experience irritability, anger, or a short temper. You might feel constantly on edge, with even the smallest matters becoming sources of agitation, potentially straining your relationships with colleagues, friends, and family. Awareness of these mood swings is crucial to address the underlying burnout.

Reduced Productivity

When approaching your breaking point, you might find yourself less invested in your work, leading to a drop in productivity. From struggling to concentrate or focus your attention to facing difficulties in finding inspiration, these challenges can produce feelings of frustration, disappointment, and anxiety, further aggravating your mental health state.

Burnout Transpiring into Physical Symptoms


Contrary to popular belief, the signs of burnout extend beyond the psychological realm. Burnout can also manifest physically, causing symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, hair loss, or even serious issues like stomach problems and eating disorders. Care for your physical health is essential when experiencing burnout.


Four Ways to Cope & Care

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is crucial to take proactive steps to cope with them and avoid the detrimental effects of burnout. Here are four strategies to consider:

1. Indulge In Self-Care

Make time for yourself and engage in activities that benefit your mental and physical well-being, combined with pursuits that you enjoy without guilt. Self-care encompasses a wide range of activities, from getting a good 6-8 hours of sleep daily and exercising regularly to indulging in a relaxing brunch with your best friend.

2. Set Boundaries

One of the key components of maintaining good mental health is learning to say no to tasks or requests that do not require your immediate attention or prioritization or are off-limits. Setting healthy boundaries can help you regain control over your time and energy.

3. Take Regular Breaks

Whether it’s taking short breaks throughout your workday or scheduling longer periods off to recharge and recuperate, incorporating regular breaks into your routine is essential. These pauses can help you rejuvenate and maintain a sustainable work-life balance. Regular breaks can lead to a Transformation in your overall well-being.

4. Share Your Experiences

Ideally, you should open up and share your experiences with someone close to you, such as a friend or family member. However, if this feels challenging, seeking guidance from a mental health professional can also be highly beneficial. Sharing your struggles can provide valuable support and perspective. Burnout is often the Elephant in the room that needs to be addressed openly.

A Note to Yourself

Remember, your breaking point often remains disguised until you recognize it, confront it, and decide to address it proactively. The more you ignore or avoid these signs, the more challenging it may become to manage everyday tasks and responsibilities. It is that moment of self-realization that will empower you to recognize when you’re about to reach your breaking point and take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening or, in the best-case scenario, to effectively manage and overcome it.

Burnout is a serious condition that can have far-reaching consequences if left unaddressed. By recognizing the early signs, prioritizing self-care, setting boundaries, taking breaks, and seeking support when needed, you can proactively safeguard your mental and physical well-being while maintaining a productive and fulfilling professional life.

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