In order to catch burnout before it hits the point of exhaustion and all-too-frequent overwhelm, pay attention to the smaller triggers. Specifically, take note of when “everything and everyone feel irritating,” Duffy says.
If you find yourself dreading activities you previously enjoyed (or at least didn’t previously hate), you might be inching toward burnout. Does going to the grocery store feel like the ultimate chore? Are your closest friends bothering you, even if you can’t explain why? When another task gets tossed onto your daily list, does it automatically make you feel overwhelmed? You might be on the fast track to burnout, Duffy says.
As you head farther along this path, Duffy notes that many people secretly wish for a tangible reason to slow down, instead of taking the time they need for themselves. She frequently hears: “I’d really like to get a cold right now and be forced to shut down.” At this point, burnout has arrived. “That’s not a great, healthy mental space,” Duffy says.