10 Signs You’re Going Through a Burnout Season

A burnout doesn’t last a day or two, it’s a season!

STELLA YANN | Lightworker
14 min readApr 30, 2023
Image: Author

Once you’ve reached the climax of your burnout season, there’s a mental wall that you hit that prevents you from going forward.

That’s it!

“You’ve reached your limit”, the Universe gently whispers with no trace of concern whatsoever, “now rest and de-compress”.

“Why is the Universe not worried I just nearly destroyed myself?!”, you ask yourself in the haze of the moment.

But you can tell that the Universe knows things you don’t, so you listen and you slow down — it’s all you can do really.

A burnout always catches you by surprise, yet the warning signs are always there for months in advance — you were just busy paying attention to the wrong things.

So you start to put the pieces together, one by one, trying to figure out what caused your mental breakdown. And it turns out it’s not one thing, it’s a series of continuously repeated mistakes, so to speak!

Here are 10 signs you’re going through a burnout season.

1. The JOY is slowly but surely getting sucked out of your daily life (in hindsight!)

When you’re committed to your job, you take great pride in being an excellent performer.

The keyword here is “pride”.

As J. Cole writes in one of his songs, “Pride is the Devil”.

When you take pride in something that’s outside of you, you attach your self-worth and value to something that’s outside of you.

In reality, your value as a human being doesn’t change, it’s inherent. From the day you’re born until the day you die, you carry within you exactly the same potential. It’s what you do with that potential that determines how people view you, but above all, how you view yourself.

Failing to meet deadlines does not determine how great or successful you are. These deadlines are coming from a business, it’s not a life-or-death situation, even if it appears like that to your whole organism.

Failing to meet your needs, however, can be detrimental to your health.

If you DO NOT allow yourself enough time to rest, eat healthy, exercise, spend meaningful time with friends and family, and even do nothing, you are the one driving the JOY out of your life, because you are not listening to what your body, mind, heart and soul need from you.

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

―Sydney J. Harris

2. You feel a prisoner to your Google Meet calendar

This one took me a while to figure out. It was a pattern but it wasn’t one that made it seem strange, because everyone else was around me was experiencing it (especially in the post-pandemic Zoom era).

But it’s this thought that came to my mind as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning: “I better go to my laptop to see if someone needs me — I better not be late for a meeting!”

In the pursuit of supporting a business vision, you risk completely missing out on your life vision and being THERE for people who actually need you, STARTING WITH YOURSELF.

This is not to say that your work or colleagues don’t need or appreciate you, but the more you give to a business, the more the business will take. It’s a business, it’s not a human being — the connection’s not reciprocal and cannot ever be a replacement for human-to-human relationships.

Even if it seems like we’re investing in something bigger than us, it should never make us feel like we have to sacrifice the rest of our life for it and when it does, it’s probably because we’ve missed the warning signs to slow down and re-balance our attention.

This is one of the flaws of the current matrix that we’re living in today. The economy is more important than the people who keep the economy going. It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy of destroying ourselves in the name of something larger than us, but when that something larger than us is capitalism — and the pursuit of money, it often means sacrificing our soul, or rather, our soul’s purpose.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

— Marcus Aurelius

3. Conversations with people irritate you — you have deadlines to meet!

I mean, this one should be an obvious sign, but when you’re living in a co-dependent relationship with your job, EVERYONE who is preventing you from working on the tasks you’ve committed to completing is THE ENEMY.

The mind has a funny way of twisting reality when it wants to get something done and when the mind finds a creative outlet in a business, the most beautiful thing happens — a lot of work gets done relatively quickly.

It’s like achieving impossible missions repeatedly and every time you you achieve a mission, you become more in awe of your abilities to handle the stress, the pressure, the adrenaline to the point where you lose your ability to stop.

When work has completely hijacked your subconscious mind, it’s time to view your job as a toxic addiction to your operational system. And only you have the power to break free from that addiction.

Remember that as long as you’re doing a stellar job, you’re an asset to a business. The business can’t tell that you’re burnt out or overwhelmed — your attachment is not to a person but to a structure.

People make businesses so powerful, so think twice about giving priority to the tasks over the people. And if you’re growing out of touch with the people, then maybe it’s the Universe telling you that there’s another community of people that really need you right now.

Endings are part of life, and as much as we enjoy a certain chapter, the show must go on!

“The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about your circumstances.”

―Andrew Bernstein

4. You have missed being THERE for people who actually need(ed) you

This one is a tough pill to swallow. Especially if you’ve dedicated a lot of months and years towards bulding something away from friends and family.

Why?

Well, it’s bittersweet.

For one, you’ve definitely missed on certain life milestones in other people’s lives — people that you used to be friends with in high school or at university, and even your own family.

On the other hand, you’ve all changed in the process of separation. So in a way, there’s not really that many people that you can return to, because you’re no longer the same versions that you were when you were actively spending time together.

In the process of separation, you’ve each matured in different ways because you’ve been challenged in different ways that makes this return to one another almost impossible — unless you’re somehow linked by the Universe and you have some sort of important collaboration or relationship to explore together.

If a connection feels repetitive and forced, it’s probably out of alignment and that’s okay.

What you can do in situations like this one is to just keep swimming, like Dory said. Take the losses of the past and continue living in the present moment because that’s where all life happens!

“Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long.”

– Michael Gungor

5. You are being pulled in a different direction and you don’t know why

Addictions can be very hard to break.

When we become addicted to alcohol and food, sooner or later it becomes obvious to us AND others, because there are physical symptoms.

When we are addicted or overly attached to people, places or projects, the symptoms are hidden. They’re anything but obvious, so that the addiction can continue. It’s the nature of addiction!

When you find yourself refreshing your Gmail inbox before going to bed, you’re addicted.

When you find yourself checking Slack messages first thing in the morning — still in bed, you’re addicted.

When you find yourself barely paying attention to your family, because there’s an important deadline that requires your immediate attention — day after day for months and even years — you’re addicted!

And most importantly, when the Universe is trying to get your attention onto something brand new or a long forgotten passion project — trust it!

Redirection is protection, more often than not from yourself and your addictive tendencies. Because we’re each likely to fall into the trap of codependency at some point or another in our life. We might be powerful souls but we’re still living a human experience, which means that our ability to perceive with a Higher perspective is not always possible.

When you feel pulled into a particular direction out of the blue, follow it. That’s where you’ll find your next chapter. Some people call it quantum jumping, others define it as manifesting, but in reality that’s your Higher Self getting you out of trouble and bringing you back into alignment with your Higher calling!

“The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”

― Brené Brown

6. Your appetite is unpredictable, so is your sleeping schedule

Burnout alters the way your brain operates to give priority to everything that delivers results attached to an image you have created for yourself.

This image could be the idea of being a “high performer”, “top dog”, “creative mastermind”, “unstoppable machine” and the list goes on.

You create the labels for yourself and you follow through with actions to keep the image(s) alive in your head.

The images give you structure.

Why is structure important? Because life is unpredictable. As long as you have a structure that gives you the next logical step, you can remain in control or at least you feel that you’re in control (when in reality, we can never be fully in control, because we can never know everything there is to know).

Burnout is the result of giving priority to tasks that weren’t essential for your survival, even if your brain tricked you into believing that they were, for longer than you were supposed to!

This is why your appetite and your sleeping schedule go all over the place. Your body is trying to signal to you that YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION to what’s really essential for your survival — staying healthy, staying alive!

“Burnout exists because we’ve made rest a reward rather than a right.”

Juliet C Obodo

7. You start to ignore the reminders for exercise and movement & do the bare minimum of self-care

When a person is going through a burnout season, they are very skilled at their job. They have dedicated thousands of hours to perfect their craft, whatever their responsibilities might be.

If there’s one thing they care about, it’s their job. They honour it like it’s divine duty to show up to work daily, because they’ve understood a powerful life lesson — hard work pays off.

But… there’s more to life than work.

And to face the fact that YOU ARE AT FAULT for the lack of balance in your life — and not the Universe — requires acceptance.

And acceptance requires patience.

And when your brain is operating at 111% capacity 24/7, patience is the last thing that your body has in store for you. So you crash and burn — the climax of the burnout season! 🔥

Once again, to the people around you, you would appear to be on top of your game until the collapse, because you really were. But the price you paid for it was to completely ignore your own needs in the name of honouring an image that you created for yourself that made you proud, but was it ever really your true calling?

“The difference between passion and addiction is that between a divine spark and a flame that incinerates.”

Gabor Maté

8. You feel like you’ll let people down if you admit you’re struggling — the “burden” complex

If you grew up in a family where you had to toughen up, because you lacked the emotional support you needed (extra sensitive children need extra sensitive parents), you tend to carry the mindset that you’re a burden if you need emotional support wherever you go until you acknowledge that it’s okay to be weak — that it’s okay to ask for help.

Nobody can be strong 100% of the time, even if we take pride in being strong.

If you cringed at the thought of being weak, I know — I take pride in being strong, too.

Here’s that word again: PRIDE.

The moment you allow yourself to be supported by those around you and by the Universe itself, amazing things happen. Some people reach out to give you a helping hand, others even offer to wipe your tears, and there are some that would love to collaborate with you in a way that brings ease to your mind and soul.

There’s a reason we say the biggest breakthroughs happen after the biggest breakdowns. When we tear down all that wasn’t serving us, in terms of our own beliefs and conditional programming, we are able to embrace our most authentic self that is balanced enough to both give and receive.

And suddenly the burdens become blessings because they have now opened your eyes and your heart to a truth that would have been impossible to see otherwise — you are exactly where you’re supposed to be and the world needs you to show up exactly as you are, without any images to maintain intact and without any pressure to be perfect at all times.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

— William James

9. You find reasons to keep going because, of course, you’re too smart for your own good

Intelligent people do more harm to themselves than to others, because they’ll find reasons to keep defending their beliefs, even when they’re definitely hitting a wall.

Burnout feels like the movie ‘Speed’. You know that if you stop and rest, you’ll need to address the problem, so you proceed forward with the understanding that there’s a limit to the speed with which you can operate or you’d explode — which creates a sense of purgatory within your own mind.

For one, you don’t want to address the problem — it all starts with you (and your needs and boundaries), remember?

Following your intellect without listening to your intuition is like living life entirely through the lens of your Ego. You follow the logic in every situation and adhere to the rules, so that you can make it from point A to point B and then continue the journey to point C, because you’ve got a long way to go to point Z. But there’s no guarantee you’ll ever make it to point Z, because you don’t know how long you’re going to be alive for, do you?

What happens when you listen to your Ego more than you listen to your heart? Stubbornness, learning lessons the hard way, hurting yourself, going against your own better judgement in the name of proving something to someone that doesn’t even exist — remember that until you face your inner child wounds or inner demons through shadow work, you will get yourself in situations that mimic your deeply rooted belief system, which goes way below the conscious level.

Listening to your intuition without being smart about it doesn’t work either. The heart can throw you off balance with unpredictable temper tantrums and emotional storms that completely derail you from your path.

The mind and the heart will feed you all kinds of thoughts and emotions until you learn to observe them without attachment.

You are not your thoughts and emotions, you are the vessel that’s experiencing them, that’s all. Yes, they are guiding you to learn lessons and overcome challenges, showing you what you care about and what’s hurting you, but their function isn’t to define you — they are here to refine you.

“Intelligent and educated people are less likely to learn from their mistakes, for instance, or take advice from others. And when they do err, they are better able to build elaborate arguments to justify their reasoning, meaning that they become more and more dogmatic in their views. Worst still, they appear to have a bigger “bias blind spot,” meaning they are less able to recognize the holes in their logic.”

– David Robson

10. Your whole identity feels attached to a particular phase of your life & you can’t snap out of it!

Buddha said that the cause of all suffering is attachment and there’s no better way to describe our relationship to our Ego.

When we go through a spiritual awakening, which is the process of remembering why we’re here and what’s the best way that we can serve the world with our unique experience, talents and gifts, the Ego will do everything in its power to BLOCK YOU from achieving your Highest potential.

Why?

If you no longer need the Ego, who are you really? That’s what the Ego would like you to believe.

And so, as a final resort, the Ego will push you in the direction of self-destruction in order to prove to you that you need it in order to survive, whether this means being glued to:

  • a job
  • a person
  • a relationship
  • a project
  • a place

The Ego will push you into overdrive just to prove to you that you NEED IT more than it needs you. And, of course, you don’t need it, not like that anyway.

Where does the Ego thrive the best? In the domain of your Mind, where it can feed you all kinds of obsessive and negative thoughts that are, of course, linked to deeply rooted trauma in you, so that they can trigger the last remaining bits of emotional wounding to keep you stuck, helpless and ready to give up.

But what the Ego doesn’t fully grasp is that once the Soul is awakened, it’s game over.

It’s checkmate!

Once you’ve established connection with your Higher Self, the process of surrendering begins and the Ego is controlling the situation on borrowed time until the END GAME event happens — the Dark Night of the Soul where you go through the process of an Ego death and a Spiritual rebirth.

From this point forward, it’s uncharted territory. A new life begins. A new era. A new season. And while you’re still feeling the fragments of your old self being blown away, your wounded body, mind and heart recovering, your Soul is soaring with JOY for you have finally returned home to your true Self — the one you were always destined to become! 🧘🏻‍♀️ ❤️ 🦋

“These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”

— Najwa Zebian

The world is going through a massive shift right now — a shift called the Mass Awakening.

When you go through a burnout, you don’t just realise that you’ve overdone it — you also understand that you’ve fundamentally failed to appreciate life in more than one ways.

When the material world takes precedence over the natural world, the entire Earth is being thrown off balance. The material world has been destroying the natural world for a long time now!

In the pursuit of finding balance within, we inevitably discover that the reality outside of us cannot support that transition in its current conditions. But you know how the saying goes…

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Rumi

The answer is that it takes YOU to change the world.

Let me rephrase that… the world is constantly changing, and so are you. But whether the world changes for better or for worse is up to YOU as a participant and contributor to the ongoing changes.

When one person changes for the better, the people around her or him change for the better too. It takes one person to start the ripple effect of positive change, the butterfly effect 🦋

Be the person who decides to change for the better today.

Follow me for more tips and guidance on how to handle your spiritual awakening and continue with your self-growth.

Go to www.stellayann.com

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STELLA YANN | Lightworker

30-DAY SELF-GROWTH JOURNALS (www.stellayann.com/shop). Topics I cover: Authenticity, Purpose, Self-Love, Spiritual Awakening, Leadership, New Earth ✨