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16 Symptoms of Burnout

(Part 1 of 4)

Are you struggling from any of these signs of burnout?

High Anxiety, Exhaustion / Fatigue / Poor sleep, Frustration and sensitivity to stress, Chronic Worry

Anxiety is small doses is a normal human response when uncontrolled. We might call it being nervous in a given situation.

It’s a natural short term defensive mechanism from our sympathetic nervous system that creates chemicals like adrenaline to prepare us for a dangerous fight or flight situation.

We need it in situations that might threaten our lives; attacked my animals, running from an attack, a fire, etc.

And once that threat is over, we go back to our natural states that recover us back to our regular healthy states of well-being.

So when does it become a deeper problem then? Why do we struggle with anxiety - especially ones of high doses?

From the perspective of burnout, it falls into two categories: environment and mindset

When it comes to our environments, sometimes we can’t control it. If you work in an environment where you’re physically in situations of danger; a battlefield in war, a burning building, a sinking ship, being attacked by a predator, then it makes sense to feel that anxiety boost to help you to survive.

Now what happens if our environments are actually safe? Like your commute to work? Like your office? Like your meeting rooms? Like your cubicle?

And yet, you’re still emotionally feeling anxious?

That’s generally a mindset issue.

Consider this, professional athletes, fighters, surgeons and high performers who operate in high stress environments - train and prepare themselves to operate with calm, balance, precision and focus to get results in our healthy states.

It takes a level of both mental and emotional mastery.

Now the opposite is true for most people who are struggling with burnout.

Without this training, we easily succumb to creating beliefs, meanings and expectations - many times reinforced by your work culture, that our responsibilities are life threatening.

As a result, when our day to day operating mindset and beliefs harden into habits, or unconscious behaviors - to get results, we turn our short term survival mode into a long term state of being.

In other words, we embark on the path of burnout.

Now for every next decision, action and expectation - we begin to mentally, emotionally and physically extend more than we can recover.

As a survival mechanism it gets difficult to turn off because we unconsciously put our survival - the expectations to perform and get results, before our personal well-being.

Eventually, this leads to fatigue and adrenal exhaustion.

No matter the amount of sleep, coffee or energy drinks you consume, each day and each hour you get slightly more tired.

The momentum carries itself. The path of burnout is a lifestyle. Life becomes so exhausting, you need a vacation from a vacation.

As your performance sags and the meeting of your expectations get more difficult, you get more irritable and frustrated handling any stress.

This directly affects your job, and bleeds into other areas of your life like your health, relationships and general well-being.

And lastly, the once anxiety now begins to extend more deeply into a flavor of fear; the fear of the future.

We know this as chronic worry, stemming from some pain of an unresolved trauma from a failed expectation.

It’s like a cognitive crutch we create to protect those injuries.

The strain of maintaining your responsibilities begins to further weigh you down and that worry turns into a behavior of negative goal setting.

Once a natural survival high of getting results, now turns into a perpetual cycle of minimizing mistakes and defending your limitations in a variety of behaviors that is observed as being disengaged at work.

From the path of burnout, now fully burning out - you eventually hit that existential crisis as a wake up call to radically turn your life around.

While the strategies and mindset for high performance are simple, the lifetime challenge for most people is reversing and healing the damage that has already been done.

Reversing the trauma, limiting beliefs and decisions and the emotional baggage that you’re carrying from the path of burnout at the unconscious level that sabotage your success with moving forward.

That’s what the Breakthrough Burnout program is all about. If you want to learn more about it, go to If you need help to rapidly eliminate your burnout and begin to learn new skills to create meaningful work for yourself or your organization, then I welcome you to book a discovery strategy session with our team.

A little about me... Hi! I'm Duncan So, Executive Director at, the Founder & Chief Catalyst of, a Systems Change Agency, and the Head of Global Education at the Phinklife Institute for Social Impact empowering leaders for social impact.

Want to breakthrough your burnout and creating meaningful work for yourself or your organization? Start here at: