There is actually a very fine line between being tired or stressed and actually burning out. Often, burnout will leave you feeling empty, mentally exhausted, beyond caring, and complete lack of motivation. By this point, you may be so deep in the rabbit hole, it can feel impossible to come out. So, the issue is, how can you realise if you are burning out or stressed before it becomes too late?

This two part blog series will explore exactly that. Part 1 will be pointing out some of the key signs of burnout to look out for and part two will be tips on how to deal with burnout:

Your passion fades

From time to time we all struggle with finding passion in our lives, with your work or your relationship or activities. However, burnout moves you into a place of sustained motivation loss.

You feel numb

In our daily lives we experience highs and lows this is part of life things go right and wrong and our emotions are in tune with these experiences. When you experience burn out you can feel numb, a lack of emotion, almost melancholic. Even things that used to make you happy are no longer providing you with any emotion. This can even work for negative emotions, perhaps you receive bad news, and you feel nothing, even when you know you should.

You can’t think straight

When you’re burning out, all thoughts and feelings are all over the place you lose the ability to think straight. And you often end up doing things that go against your usual self.


Whether it is overeating, overworking, drugs, drink, impulsive spending – you’ve chosen a path of self-medication over self-care. People who are burning out almost always choose self-medication over self-care.

You are always tired 

When you are tired, a good night’s sleep or a week or two off from work will make you feel refiled and full of energy. If you’re burning out, no amount of sleep and time off will refuel you. 

Little things make you very angry

Treating small things like they are big things is a sign something deeper is wrong. For example, forgetting to pick up milk on the way home and this making you feel extremely irritated may be a sign it is time to work on your burnout. 

Everybody drains you

Not having the mental energy for people in general. Whether it is friends, family, clients or people at work – the thought of interacting with people is exhausting, even answering a message from a friend can feel like way too much effort can be a sign that something is wrong. 

Part 2 of this blog will focus on tips to deal with burnout 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Stef Gafa’ is a counsellor with Willingness who has a particular interest in trauma, attachment, domestic violence and the LGBT community.