Signs You're Emotionally Burnt Out

Some people feel emotionally burned out due to an excess of challenges in their lives or an accumulation of difficult experiences. Others enter adulthood feeling that way due to their traumatic childhoods.
Signs You're Emotionally Burnt Out

Last update: 18 July, 2020

Psychological burnout is an anxious state that many people experience without even knowing it. A person can be emotionally burnt out and believe it’s just because they have an unfulfilling job or are in a difficult relationship. Although this can be true, it can also be the other way around. Emotional exhaustion can be the cause of their problems. 

Being emotionally burnt out means feeling powerless. This happens when you live your life on autopilot without thinking or feeling too much and acting as if everything was imposed on you. You live as if your life doesn’t belong to you and you don’t care.

“That’s the thing: You don’t understand burnout unless you’ve been burned out. And it’s something you can’t even explain. It’s just doing something you have absolutely no passion for.”

-Elena Delle Donne-

In certain cases, someone may enter adulthood already emotionally burnt out. If they grew up in a dysfunctional family, they most likely had to invest their energy in trying to understand and deal with their environment.

Here are some signs that may suggest you’re suffering from emotional exhaustion.

Constant tiredness

This tiredness is different from normal fatigue. You always feel tired even when you’ve had enough time to rest. It’s as if your body and mind weren’t able to work and the only thing you want to do is stay in bed and wake up the next month. But even if you did that, you’d still feel tired.

Burned out woman leaning on the couch.

Emotional fatigue is as strong as or even worse than physical fatigue. You might feel like you can’t be productive anymore.

When you’re emotionally burnt out, your problems outnumber your resources to deal with them. Thus, a long list of unresolved emotional difficulties results in a heavy burden that leads to burnout.

Cynicism: A sign that you’re emotionally burnt out

Contemporary cynicism is when a person feels proud of doing something morally wrong. It’s an attitude that can make people say things like “Yeah, I’m doing something bad, so what?”

Cynicism manifests in the form of self-destructive or reckless actions. Walking through a dangerous street late at night, driving faster than the speed limit, and other high-risk activities are signs of cynicism.


Detachment basically means being unable to make meaningful connections with people or your surroundings. This can be described as an invisible distance that keeps you from connecting with the world and life itself.

Hand with feather.

When a person is detached, they can feel lonely. However, a burnt out person may ignore these feelings and not give them too much importance. 

They assume they can’t change who they are or what happens around them. Some hide behind their thoughts about how useless affection is.

Feelings of worthlessness

When someone is emotionally burnt out, they also perceive themselves as worthless or incapable of doing anything.

They do everything in their power to convince themselves that they can’t achieve anything, no matter how hard they try. Also, they tend to belittle their achievements and say things like “Why do I set goals if nothing will change?”

The feeling of worthlessness nourishes the emotional fatigue they’re feeling. In their minds, any task is too hard for them because they don’t have the energy to do them. Thus, everything seems too far away and difficult to do. An emotionally burnt out person tends to be very passive. 

Frequent boredom

It’s really hard for a burnt out person to enjoy the little things. Almost anything seems too boring, monotonous, or unfunny. There’s no desire to make plans or start new projects. They simply let the circumstances carry them away without putting up a fight. This can turn into anhedonia.

If you think you’re emotionally burnt out, you must know that things can change. You probably need professional help. This isn’t because you’re lacking resources but because it’s easier for a specialist to help you identify and address issues that you may not be aware of. 

Man bored at work.

If you’re in such a state, your priority should be your well-being. Nothing’s more important than yourself. You may be surprised at the results if you start a process of transformation. All you need to do is make the decision of choosing a new path for your life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cárdenas, S., Lucas, M., Idoate García, V. M., & Llano Lagares, M. (2008). SOFI-SM: cuestionario para el análisis de la fatiga laboral física, mental y psíquica.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.