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Get to know the signs of burnout and learn some tips on how to recharge your mind and body.


January 22, 2024

Burnout, a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion, is an all-too-common consequence of our fast-paced, demanding lifestyles. It is a result of prolonged stress, often stemming from work-related pressures, but can also affect individuals in various other aspects of life. Burnout not only impacts our productivity and performance but also takes a toll on our overall well-being. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of burnout is crucial in order to address it effectively and take the necessary steps to recharge and restore our energy levels. In this blog post, we will explore the typical indicators of burnout and provide strategies for recovery, helping you regain a sense of balance and well-being in your life.

What Are the Signs of Burnout?

a woman looking burned out staring at her computer screen

Recognizing the signs of burnout is crucial in addressing and preventing its negative impact on our well-being. Burnout can manifest in various ways, both physically and emotionally.

  • Physical and Emotional Exhaustion: Feeling constantly drained, both physically and emotionally, even after getting enough rest.
  • Lack of Motivation: A significant decrease in motivation and enthusiasm towards work or activities that were once enjoyable.
  • Decreased Productivity: Difficulty concentrating, reduced efficiency and a decline in overall performance.
  • Emotional Distancing: Withdrawing from social interactions, feeling detached or disconnected from others and experiencing a sense of isolation.
  • Increased Negativity: A pessimistic outlook, frequent irritability and a tendency to be more critical or cynical.
  • Physical Symptoms: Experiencing headaches, muscle tension, stomach issues or other physical ailments without any underlying medical cause.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or experiencing restless sleep patterns.
  • Loss of Interest: Losing interest in hobbies, activities or things that used to bring joy and fulfillment.
  • Neglecting Self-Care: Ignoring personal needs, such as healthy eating, exercise or relaxation, due to a lack of energy or motivation.
  • Chronic Fatigue: Feeling tired and drained, even after getting sufficient rest, and experiencing a constant lack of energy.

It's important to remember that everyone's experience with burnout may vary. If you notice these signs persisting and interfering with your daily life, it may be time to consult your provider or another professional to make changes to prevent further burnout.

How to Recharge

Now more than ever, it has become important to focus on your mental health. Burnout is a real concern, and it is important to get ahead of it. Some of the most effective ways to prevent and escape burnout begin with recharging yourself, both physically and mentally.

Recharging Your Body

When it comes to recharging yourself, it is important to start with the basics. Focusing on things like improving your diet, getting into an exercise routine, and refining your sleep schedule can drastically decrease symptoms of burnout.

Keeping with a consistent diet and avoid skipping meals can improve overall concentration and focus while also reducing stress. Some ways to do this can be planning out meals at the beginning of each week in order to ensure a balanced diet, but also it removes the added daily stressor of when and what you’re going to eat. Be sure to consult your doctor before making any dietary changes.

Getting adequate exercise is proven to reduce stress and improve the quality of moods. There are numerous other benefits of engaging in exercise besides merely dodging burnout, including improved sleep, higher self-esteem, and better overall health and cardiovascular fitness.1Jumping into an exercise routine may seem intimidating, but even short intervals of exercising three to five days a week can make a difference in physical and mental health. It is important to find an activity that you enjoy doing in order to ensure you stick with it and set reasonable goals to have something to work toward. Just make sure you talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Establishing a regular sleep schedule is crucial, often underestimated in its importance. Sleep is vital for maintaining essential brain functions and has a profound impact on every aspect of our bodies. Experts recommend that adults aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. However, simply "catching up" on sleep over the weekends is not an effective solution. Consistency in sleep patterns is key to being more productive, rather than sleeping insufficiently during the week and excessively on weekends.

To enhance sleep quality, it is essential to establish a regular sleep schedule, avoid consuming caffeine close to bedtime and limit exposure to light at night.3 However, even after taking steps to recover, you may still experience feeling tired after sleeping. This persistent fatigue can be attributed to various factors, including sleep apnea, snoring issues or poor sleep quality. Addressing these issues is crucial to ensure a good night's rest and combat mid-day sleepiness, particularly when trying to stay alert at work. By seeking professional help, creating a sleep-conducive environment, and establishing a consistent sleep routine, you can improve your sleep quality and wake up feeling refreshed, reducing the feeling of tiredness after sleeping. Remember, taking care of your sleep is an essential part of recharging and recovering from burnout.

All three aspects go hand in hand, and when making improvements in one area, you’ll often find improvements in another. Going back to the basics and getting into a daily routine is instrumental in avoiding a burnout.

Recharging Your Mind

A large player in the inescapable tiredness one may feel is mental exhaustion. It is arguably just as much a contributor, if not more, than a general lack of sleep. Due to this, it is important to learn how to combat it with various self-care strategies.

Sometimes, it can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths. For many though, it may require something more structured. Meditation has been cited and used time and time again for increasing mindfulness within individuals. Technology has made it more readily available via different guided meditation apps. Taking a few minutes to sit back and meditate each day provides you with time to sit with your thoughts, instead of immediately trying to tackle them.

a person writing in a journal to combat burnout

Journaling can also provide a healthy outlet for expressing yourself and is a great tool to use in the management of your mental health.2 A large part of journaling is getting into a routine of doing it every day. There is no right or wrong way to do it, but some suggest using it as a means of addressing your stressors.

Especially now, it is incredibly hard to avoid immersing yourself entirely in technology and social media, but sometimes it’s important to take a break. With social life and work life happening mostly through a screen, it can be hard to find a way to step away from it. Some devices allow you to set daily time allotments for app usage, which could be used to reduce overall media consumption. Another option would be to simply disconnect from all unnecessary modes of communication, like social media, for a period of time. When doing this, keep in mind that human interaction and connectivity is vital to avoiding burnout, so completely isolating yourself may do more harm than good.

Establishing a daily routine, including both mental and physical self-care components, proves to be incredibly beneficial when recovering from and preventing burnout. It is important to recharge on a regular basis, utilizing tips like these, to proactively avoid burning yourself out.

Originally published December 2020. Updated January 2024.


1 National Center for Biotechnology Information:Exercise for Mental Health. Accessed January 3, 2024.

2 National Institution for Neurologic Disorders and Stroke:;Understanding Sleep. Accessed January 3, 2024.

3 University of Rochester Medical Center:Journaling for Mental Health. Accessed January 3, 2024.

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