Professional women lead busy Professional women lead busy lives. From managing family obligations to perfecting PowerPoint presentations, some days it may seem like every minute of your time is booked.

Granted, there is a great deal of fulfillment to be found in balancing family life and a rewarding career—but overextending yourself can lead to burnout.

Are the things that bring you joy falling to the wayside?

Consider taking a step back if you no longer engage in the activities you love. It might not be obvious right away, but avoiding your favorite pastimes is a surefire sign of burnout.

Take this professional woman as an example—we’ll call her Sarah. Sarah is a public relations powerhouse with a demanding work schedule, extensive volunteer commitments, and three kids at home.

Until recently, Sarah loved to paint. She felt most at ease with a colorful palette by her side and a brush in hand. However, her latest promotion chipped away at her free time, with corporate events and late-night board meetings taking over her evenings.

And on weekends, rather than sitting down with a canvas, Sarah frantically caught up on emails and ran the errands she didn’t have time for during the week.

Is this all there is? she wondered.

Unbeknownst to her, Sarah was burned out. She felt defeated and overwhelmed. All the signs of chronic stress were there.

What are some common symptoms of burnout?

If you believe you’re too busy to focus on the activities and relationships that nourish you, then you are probably feeling burned out. Loss of enjoyment is a common symptom of burnout, and so are isolation and detachment. Even if all is seemingly well in your life, it can be challenging to feel energized when you believe there is simply too much going on.

Burnout is also linked to the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue & insomnia
  • Change in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Loss of productivity
  • A weakened immune system

Take note of these warning signs—if they resonate with you, you may be on the verge of burnout. Fortunately, like Sarah, you can address the problem and find happiness once again.

How can you overcome burnout and reclaim your joy?

While there are a number of meaningful solutions worth recommending, community was the answer for Sarah. This career woman knew she needed to connect with others in order to thrive.

When Sarah started socializing with her colleagues outside the office, she began to look forward to work each day. She also signed up for art classes at her local community center, and fell in with a crowd of inspiring women who could relate to the feelings of overwhelm and loneliness Sarah had, until then, mostly kept to herself.

These connections inspired Sarah to start painting again in her spare time. Community holds us accountable for the improvements we hope to make in our lives. It also reminds us that despite the stressors we face, we are only human, and we can work together to conquer burnout and forge a happier lifestyle.