The five symptoms of burnout every working woman needs to be aware of.

If you’re always getting in early, leaving late, and working through the weekend, you could be in danger of a burnout.

A burnout happens when someone puts so much time and energy into maintaining unrealistic expectations of their own work ability and production levels, that they end up feeling constantly drained and unfulfilled.

And millennial women are the most at risk of reaching burnout. We’re burning out faster than any other group.

burnout signs
Millennial women are the most at risk of reaching burnout. Image via iStock.

Larissa Faw, a Forbes writer, claims that burnout among under-30 women is pandemic.  Pointing to McKinsey research, she writes that while 53% of entry-level corporate jobs go to women, they make up only 37% of mid-management and just 26% go on to become vice-presidents and senior managers. Meanwhile, men are twice as likely to advance at every stage.

Faw says that women may “have simply reached their breaking point after spending their childhoods developing well-rounded résumés.” Additionally, many women may have had unrealistic expectations about the working world, including the long hours demanded of them and the “day-to-day drudgery,” which may come as a shock after university.

Listen: "I medicate myself with food" on The Well. 

So what are the signs of a burnout?

1. You feel physically and emotionally exhausted.

A clear sign of burnout is when you feel tired all the time. Exhaustion can be emotional, mental or physical. It’s the feeling of being completely drained of energy. This can lead to problems with anxiety and depression, an increase in illness, chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, and insomnia.


2. You're just not motivated.

The drive that got you to where you are is no longer there. You don't feel enthusiastic about anything anymore and you no longer have that internal motivation for your work. You're dragging yourself through your day and through the motions.

You feel like nothing is going right and nothing matters. Image via iStock.

3. You're frustrated and cynical.

You may feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter that much anymore, or you may be disillusioned with everything. You might notice that you feel more generally pessimistic than you used to. While everybody experiences some negative emotions from time to time, it’s important to know when these are becoming unusual for you. You'll also become frustrated with the people you work with and start to detach and isolate yourself.

4. You can't concentrate or pay attention.

When you're stressed our attention narrows to focus on the negative element that we perceive as a threat and our 'fight or flight' instinct kicks in. This 'fight or flight' tunnel vision can negatively affect your ability to solve problems or make decisions. You might find that you’re more forgetful and have a harder time remembering things.

Food: Friend or Foe on The Well. 

5. You feel hopeless and apathetic.

You feel like nothing is going right and nothing matters. As the symptoms worsen, these feelings may become immobilising, making it seems like "what's the point?"

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms you could be on the road to burnout. It's important to stop and re-evaluate the stress in your life and reduce it before it's too late.