• Health Blog
  • Health Blog

How to recognise the signs of burnout

Written by: Editors

Modified on: 

The signs of burnout

Would you like to find out more about burnout and how to recognise this phenomenon? Read our extensive article about burnout.

Burnout is a typical case of ‘prevention is better than a cure’. After all, having a full-blown burnout can take months or even years to fully recover. And while there are plenty of warning signs, many people don’t know what to look out for.

The question is: how do you recognise burnout?

What are the risk factors and what signals are given off by your mind, behaviour and body when work stress is heavier than you can bear?

In this article, we will discuss the 12 phases of a burnout, as described by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger.

Read them carefully. It provides insight into how you can recognise an approaching burnout so that you can intervene in time.

The 12 phases of burnout

People who experience burnout often don’t realise what is going on until it is too late. This is often because they did not know how to recognise burnout or they ignored the warning signs.

We recommend not letting this happen. After all, burnout is more serious than you might think and can wreak havoc on your health and mental well-being.

If you recognize more than a few of the points below in yourself, you may well be on your way to burnout. It is high time make some lifestyle changes so that you don’t reach the final stage.

The signs

1) An obsessional need to prove yourself. You want to be liked and known as a good employee. You are, therefore, very dutiful;
2) You spend more and more time on your work. You find it impossible to switch off even for a moment;
3) You neglect yourself by eating badly, sleeping irregularly and paying insufficient attention to your social life;
4) You avoid conflicts. In this phase you ignore problems and feel panicked, threatened and rushed;
5) You reevaluate your values. Specifically, this means that your family and friends disappear into the background, you are no longer interested in your hobbies and you only focus on your work;
6) You deny your problems. This means that you will see all sorts of problems as a result of your work instead of other things that come into play;
7) You experience withdrawal symptoms. Now you have (almost) no social life anymore. In the need to get rid of your stress, you may have a greater need for alcohol;
8) Your behavioural change becomes visible to the outside world. Your friends and family are worried;
9) You depersonalise. You think more and more negatively about yourself and do not see others as valuable anymore. You alienate yourself further and you do not even know what your own needs are;
10) You feel inner emptiness. You try to fill the void with things like food, drink, drugs or sex;
11) You are depressed. You feel increasingly insecure and lost. You feel gloomy about the future;
12) You experience burnout. You collapse completely and are in a state of complete physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.

Source: Mind, NHS, Herbert Freudenberger

All treatments
Back to top