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Burned out? 10 signs you are overdoing it at work

Woman looking tense at work - Overdoing it at work
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash 

If can feel you are overdoing it at work, you need to acknowledge the signs and take action. Don’t risk burnout as both your physical and mental well-being will suffer.

There are many professional resources out there if things are getting seriously out of hand, but here I want to help you identify the signs first, as you may be ignoring them and be close to burnout.

If you can feel it’s all becoming too much, it’s time to take a pause and evaluate what’s going on. It’s easy to lose perspective and let work take over your life. We are all juggling multiple priorities and it all becomes too much.

Whether you work for yourself, or an organisation, you must try to balance your workload and prioritise your self-care and personal time and be kind to yourself. Read on for the key signs that you are overdoing it at work.

1. You feel tired all the time

If you constantly feel tired that’s a clear indicator you’re not in good health. I find even when I’m super tired, I don’t necessarily sleep well though and that’s extra frustrating.

If you’re overdoing it at work, and both mentally and physically exhausted, take note. It’s time to take care of yourself. Read more about how to manage as a sleep-deprived mum.

2. Regularly working overtime

No doubt you feel there aren’t enough hours in the day and are working overtime to try and get on top of things. But how sustainable is that?

I start to feel quite resentful of losing my precious personal time when this happens too often. And it’s not like my organisation pays overtime! Sometimes there’s no avoiding it if you’ve got a tight deadline, but you do need to take action if it’s a common occurrence.

3. Missing deadlines

We all miss deadlines sometimes but when it’s happening all the time, you know things are out of control. You might find you are forgetting things generally too because you are stressed.

If you are regularly asking for deadline extensions or apologising for being late, you have too much on.

Burned out and overdoing it

4. You’re making mistakes

I know I’ve been overdoing it at work when I start to make mistakes, which is not normal for me. I take pride in being professional.

Yet when I’m overwhelmed I start mixing up my projects and who I should be contacting about what. When you are making lots of mistakes, you are clearly overwhelmed.

5. Getting snappy with those around you

If you start getting snappy and impatient with colleagues and/or those in your personal life, it’s a major red sign.

Take a breath and let people know you are overburdened but working on it so they don’t take it personally. You need to manage things before you affect your relationships further.

6. Avoiding talking to others & isolating yourself

Perhaps people have asked you if you are OK or feeling burned out and you find yourself getting defensive or brushing it off. It’s hard to admit when we aren’t managing our workload but if you have too much on your plate in the first place, you need to ask for help.

Don’t isolate yourself. Speak to your manager (if you have one), friends, family or colleagues. Or a doctor, if you feel anxious or depressed.

7. Feeling negative about most things

I know when I’m super tired and stressed from overdoing it at work, it impacts other areas of my life. I start to feel down in the dumps about everything.

Perhaps you can’t be bothered to do certain things and feel low on energy. If you are losing interest in things that you usually enjoy, that’s also indicative of stress or depression setting in.

Woman with head in hands over laptop - Overdoing it at work
Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

8. You’re losing or gaining weight

Perhaps you are too busy to eat or maybe you are comfort eating. Stress eating, or undereating is a clear sign you aren’t in a good place. You need to eat extra well when you are tired or run down.

Ensure you do a healthy shop so you have some good, filling food that will give you energy and build your strength up.

9. Regularly unwell or run down

When being overworked starts to take on physical symptoms, you know it’s bad. At my work, there have often been times when we are all taking turns being sick in my team, and it’s not like we work in the office together anymore!

There’s no spreading of germs when you work from home. It’s just pure overwork and it can make you physically ill.

10. Unable to relax

You may find you are so wired that even when you have a chance to relax, you just can’t. If you are so stressed about all the things you need to do, how can you relax and switch off? You still need to find me time, especially if you’re a work-from-home mum.

This also feeds into your sleep. If insomnia is setting in or even if it takes you ages to just get to sleep, your health is really being affected.

What to do when you feel you are overdoing it at work? Take action and seek help:

  • Speak with your manager or if you’re your own boss, reach out to a friend, peer or colleague
  • Take some annual leave and switch off during your time off
  • See what you can drop or deprioritise, focus on what needs to be done and assess what is actually not benefitting you or the company
  • Make time for socialising and activities you enjoy
  • Practice self-care, prioritise yourself and re-introduce things that make you feel good
  • Make sure you prioritise eating well, exercise and sleep
  • Speak with your GP or medical professional about counselling, or look for options yourself such as through Mind.

Ensure you recognise the signs of burn out and are kind to yourself…

Many of us are constantly trying to juggle everything: work, children, finances, household management, side hustles and more.

There’s a never ending to-do list but you need to ensure you aren’t overdoing it at work because it will impact on your health and other areas of your life. Seek out support and advice from friends and professionals.

If you are dedicated to your work and take on too much, then it is only a matter of time before you find yourself overdoing it at work. If your boss keeps adding more to your plate, you need to have a talk and explain your workload is unmanageable.

You need them to agree on what you can drop or handover to someone else. If you’re lucky, you might be able access to support in your workplace through HR or other services. Ask about flexible working.

If you work for yourself and can’t afford help, you need to take a serious look at what is manageable. Working for yourself is admirable and the ultimate dream for many.

But if you aren’t taking care of yourself and prioritising your personal life, family and time, you’ll not last long and will stop enjoying it. And you didn’t start working for yourself to feel as overworked as you did when you worked for someone else!

Do be sure to read my related posts for support such as how to sneak in exercise, how to be more productive while working from home and how to make positive changes at work for inspiration.

For professional help, reach out to your GP or medical professional or look at local or national options for counselling or talking therapies. In the UK, try Mind or other charities and organisations with expertise.

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Burned out and overdoing it at work

The information provided is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. This site is not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information.

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