A person sitting in front of a window with their hands behind his head.

Symptoms of Burnout & How to Improve Wellness at Work

Being a successful business owner requires you to be relaxed and at ease (most of the time). If worries, frustration, and stress are ruining how you run your life, it can spell disaster for your business. As a life coach for entrepreneurs, I want to make sure you have a healthy mindset while at work.

In this article, we will discuss how to identify the four warning signs of burnout. Also, you will learn how to prevent burnout from ruining your health and/or business.

But before we discuss burnout signs, it is important to understand that burnout is not the same as stress. Knowing the difference is important because you don’t want to underestimate or overestimate your current mental state. In the next section, we will compare and contrast everyday stress with burnout.

Contrasting Stress from Burnout 

We all experience some level of stress at times. Things we need break down unexpectedly, and people don’t always behave the way we would like them to. These are just a few examples.

When unexpected events occur or when too many things happen all at once, we can feel irritated, confused, and stressed.

However, burnout is a completely different issue. 

Burnout is when you are physically, emotionally or spiritually exhausted by prolonged stress. To prevent burnout from happening, we need to develop an action plan to notice signs of burnout.

As you read through this article, take note which sign(s) you can closely identify with and then answer the question, “What is my plan to fix it?” 

Your health is more important than anything or anyone. 

Take care of yourself. Moreover, as a leader your organization and your clients need you to have sufficient, mental and physical energy.

That being said, let’s discuss four signs of work-related burnout.

Don't be surprised if some of your friends, family, or associates are hesitant to share their thoughts. They might be feeling hesitant because they fear negative reactions from you.

Four Signs of Work-Related Burnout

Important: There is no specific timeline for when burnout occurs.

Some individuals may experience burnout in as little as one month, while others may feel burnt out after a few years. In any case, here are four indications that you might be experiencing burnout.

1. You feel easily stressed and irritated

Stress and irritability are the most obvious signals of burnout. This happens when you feel easily triggered by the normal ebbs and flows of business. Issues that normally seem easy or inconsequential can be viewed as an epic disaster or nightmare.

Sometimes things can upset you, and it doesn’t have to be related to work. For instance, let’s say you spilled coffee on yourself in the morning. You might end up feeling angry all day because of it. The truth is, you were already dealing with some stress and the coffee spill was just the final straw.

2. Family, friends and associate frequently inquire about your wellbeing

Stress is contagious. 

Your family, friends and business associates may feel they are walking on eggshells around you. They view you as a ticking time bomb that may explode for any reason.

The empathetic people in your life will inquire about your well-being, while others may keep their distance from you. It is important not to dismiss their concerns if they are signaling that they are worried about you.

If more than one person is inquisitive about your state of mind, this is a sign that you are overdue for relaxation and self-care.

Don’t be surprised if some of your friends, family, or associates are hesitant to share their thoughts. They might be feeling hesitant because they fear negative reactions from you.

men yelling at cell phone

3. Diminished productivity

Have you found yourself spending more than four hours on a two-hour project? Or perhaps you feel that you cannot find new solutions to a current problem despite the hours of research. The wellspring of your mind feels like it ran dry, like rain in a desert.

When you are feeling stressed, the mind cannot function well. This results in memory loss, confusion and fatigue. As a result, you productivity diminishes. 

4. You are experiencing health problems.

Stress-related health problems come in many different forms. In every case, you are not feeling your best, and your body is responding negatively. Here are some signs of health problems caused by burnout:

  • Sleep
    • You cannot sleep for more than four consecutive hours each night, or maybe you find yourself oversleeping.
  • Weight gain or loss
    • Have you recently gained or lost a significant amount of weight, despite making a conscious effort to change your diet?
  • Body Pain
    • Are your eyes twitching?
    • Do you feel stiffness in neck, shoulders or some other part of your body? 
    • Do you have frequent migraines?

Even though we know that stress is terrible for the mind, body, and soul, we, as a society, glorify overworking. Next, let’s discuss how burnout occurs and, most importantly, how to prevent it.

Burnout is not a badge of honor, it's a mark of shame. - Brené Brown

Why Work-Related Stress Occurs

Escape the “grind”

Entrepreneurship is called “The Grind” for a good reason. We have our businesses on our minds around the clock – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Business occupies our first thoughts in the morning. We think about it while walking the dog, or perhaps during lovemaking. 

Our business is the greatest love affair we have ever had. It borderlines drive us to madness. There is no disconnect from the grind.

One of the biggest problems with which new all successful business owners deal is learning how to balance desire with self-care. If you don’t balance them, the stress will ruin both your health and business.

You might be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Wait…wait…wait! But isn’t stress a good thing? Doesn’t it help us accomplish more and get more things done?”

Well, yes and no. Next, let’s discuss the benefits of using stress as a motivational tool.

Stress is a good motivator, right?

There is no doubt that stress can be a good motivator. However, when faced with multiple deadlines, conflicting priorities, and the insanity of it all, it can do more harm than good. Just like eating sugar, stress is great in small doses.

(Eating sugar while feeling stressed is the last thing you should do. It is linked to anxiety attacks as well as other health problems.) 

Putting yourself in a chronic state of stress is terrible for your health. Eventually, you will become exhausted or burned out. It is not a question of if it could happen, but when. 

Do not let stress overwhelm you. Here are some tips to prevent work-related burnout.

Nine Tips to Prevent Work-Related Burnout

As stated earlier, work-related burnout is a serious issue that can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health, as well as your overall job satisfaction. Below are nine tips to help you stay focused and motivated, but not overwhelmed.  

1. Set boundaries

Establish clear boundaries between your work and personal life. Avoid checking work emails or engaging in work-related tasks during your personal time. Learn to disconnect and prioritize self-care.

There are many devices and programs that will set a time limit to access your use of email or other programs. Alternatively, you can choose the low-tech option and have your life partner take away the access to your computer keyboard during the weekend.

2. Prioritize self-care 

Make time for activities that help you relax and recharge. Engage in hobbies, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and eat a healthy diet. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial for preventing burnout.

3. Take breaks

Regularly take short breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. Get up from your desk, stretch, and engage in activities that help you relax. Taking breaks can improve focus, productivity, and overall well-being.

4. Seek support

Reach out to colleagues, friends, or family members for support and to discuss any challenges or concerns you may be facing at work. 

If necessary, partner with a life coach like me to help you create a work-life balance. Having a support system can help alleviate stress and provide valuable advice or perspective.

5. Set realistic goals

Set realistic and achievable goals for yourself. Break larger tasks into smaller, manageable ones. Celebrate your accomplishments along the way, as this can help maintain motivation and reduce stress.

6. Practice stress management techniques

Find stress management techniques that work for you, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or mindfulness. Find something that works for you and incorporate these practices into your daily routine.

7. Communicate with your team members

If you’re experiencing excessive workload or other factors contributing to burnout, have open and honest communication with your team members. 

Discuss potential solutions or adjustments (such as delegating tasks) that could help improve your work environment and prevent burnout.

8. Take REGULAR vacations

Even though you have a business to run, you must take extended breaks away from it. Plan vacations (at least once a year) or staycations close to home so that you can relax and recharge. 

Disconnect from work-related responsibilities and enjoy your time off.

9. Evaluate your work-life balance

Regularly assess your work-life balance and make adjustments as necessary so that you have enough time to engage in activities outside of work that provide you with joy and fulfillment. 

I love spending my free time volunteering at the food bank and pantry, but you should find something that you also enjoy.

A person sitting in front of a window with their hands behind his head.

Closing Thoughts

Remember, preventing work-related burnout is a continuous process. It requires self-awareness, self-care, and proactive steps to maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

If burnout persists despite your efforts, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or life coach like myself who can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Dig deeper: If you are interested in learning more about the signs of burnout or stress, click here to listen to this episode from my podcast or press the play button below.


The information in this article is for informational purposes only. No material in this article or website is to be a substitute for professional medical and/or mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read from me or anyone else online.

Also, this article is not designed to diagnose or treat you or anyone with a suspected mental health illness. Please, if you need help, seek appropriate help from a lawyer, health care provider or law enforcement officer.