Signs your Burnout Might Be Permanent

People are overworked, underpaid, and increasingly unhappy with their work situations these days. Is it any surprise, then, that employers are noting unusually high rates of burnout? A typical workplace seems to be designed to encourage burnout.

If you’ve ever said, “I can’t do this anymore,” you know how bad burnout can be. It’s not a light statement to make! Most of the time, it’s not permanent, but that’s not always the case. These signs suggest that the burnout you’re experiencing might be long-term or even permanent.

No Focus

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You were once known for your razor-sharp focus. These days, you literally can’t function in that department. The moment your eyes hit papers related to your work, they glaze over. You can barely read. When people tell you something, it doesn’t register.

Does this sound familiar? If so, you should be aware that it is a major sign of significant burnout. The worse your focus, the more likely you are to be permanently crispy.

Trauma Responses

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Have you burst into tears looking at a light workload recently? Do you have nightmares about going to work? Did you recently try to “drink away the stress?” Do you feel chest pains the moment work is mentioned? If so, your burnout might have triggered a trauma response.

Overworking yourself can lead to traumatization. Most of the time, you can overcome this. If it’s gotten to the point that you absolutely dread going to work, you might have permanent burnout.

Longer Than A Year

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Most cases of work (or relationship) burnout last several months. After some rest, therapy, and realigning, you should be able to regain your zest for work. However, this doesn’t always happen. It can take longer.

Not all burnout cases are curable. If you’ve been trying to overcome burnout for a year or more without success, you might have a case of permanent burnout.

Major Personality Changes

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Before you got burnt out, you were an upbeat, bubbly person. You saw the best in everyone. What happened to that sunny individual? Burnout can cause irritability, depression, and anxiety in everyone. However, getting help for these changes can usually cure it.

When you have a serious case of burnout, the person you were before is no longer there. Your personality changed. You don’t laugh as much. You’re cynical. And even when you’re rested, you don’t “snap back” to normal.

Major Priority Changes

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Burnout isn’t just a work issue. It’s also a dating issue. This sign tends to show itself more with dating burnout. When you have permanent dating burnout, you often stop trying to pursue a relationship. While you might have made dating a top priority in the past, the idea of walking down the aisle probably makes you queasy now.

Were you once passionate about a specific goal or industry? If your interest in it faded or turned to revulsion, you might have been burnt to a crisp.

No Care For Consequences

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A person who is burnt out might still go to work because their fear of being unable to pay their bills keeps them going. A person who is burnt to the point of being “perma-fried” probably won’t care if they get fired or not. It’s a sign that the juice isn’t worth the squeeze, no matter what the proverbial “juice” may be.

People who are permanently burnt out (particularly from a job) won’t care about the consequences of not continuing something anymore. They won’t care about a potential eviction, a job loss, or a breakup. They’re often so defeated that they can’t bring themselves to feel worry anymore.

“Just Can’t Anymore.”

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People who are burnt out will often say, “I can’t do this anymore.” That’s a normal feeling when you’re overworked, underappreciated, and not having a good time. The difference between short-term and permanent burnout is when you say it.

If you say this as you try to switch from one company to another, you’re probably just temporarily burnt out. If you say it when you’re given an opportunity on a silver platter that most others would kill for, it’s probably permanent.

No Convincing

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Speaking of golden opportunities, consider what it would take for you to return to work. Would a raise be enough? What if it was for $1 million? Would you continue to work if you were given a great team and a nice apartment?

In the world of dating burnout, ask yourself if you would be willing to go on a date if you knew the date would be fun. If you can’t find a way for people to convince you to “get back on the horse,” it’s likely permanent burnout.

Life Plan Changes

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A good sign that your burnout is permanent deals with the life decisions you’re starting to make. If you have always built your life around the idea of a specific career, ask yourself if you’re thinking about going to school to study something new.

If you always planned on being married but are now planning for a solo retirement with a Golden Girls setup, it’s likely a permanent burnout.

Physical Ailments

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Did you know that burnout can actually cause physical issues? Chronic fatigue, a decreased immune system, and sudden weight gain can all occur with burnout. The worse your symptoms, the more time it will take to overcome burnout.

Your burnout could lead to permanent damage in some cases (such as a physical labor job). For example, repetitive motion injuries could lead to a forced retirement, even if you like your job.

Not Sober

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In many cases, burnout causes sufferers to turn to addictions to “keep it together.” Think about your recent months. Do you turn to drugs, alcohol, or disordered eating to cope with your workload? Have your addictions gotten worse over the past couple of years?

If you’re at the point where you can’t do your job sober, you probably are permanently burnt out. Trying to go back into your industry will likely only put you at risk of self-destructive behaviors.

Others Warn You

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People are not blind. Your loved ones and coworkers can tell when you’re burnt out. If you have sought medical attention over your burnout, your doctor probably also knows how bad it is. When you talk to them about your issue, do they tell you that you need to walk away from it?

Have doctors advised you against continuing your pursuits? Have others pleaded with you to stop your career or permanently cease dating? If so, that’s a sign of permanent burnout. People are begging you to stop your work because you’re beyond the point of a possible recovery.

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