This article was originally published in thegentlealbum.com, a holistic health blog about mindfulness, fitness, nutrition, and skincare.

Burning out is a topic that many people tend to ignore until it really hits them. You know it when you’re burnt out – you feel emotionally drained, your productivity declines, and you start to get frequent headaches. Signs of burning out is not always apparent because, at the moment, you feel like you’re doing the right thing by working hard to reach a certain goal. But this article is here to tell you what you cannot see so that you can best prevent yourself from getting burnt out.

1. You’re thinking about work all the time

One of the biggest signs of starting to get burnt out is when you find yourself unable to stop thinking about work. You think about your work responsibilities during meals, in the shower, and when you’re watching TV. Now, there’s a difference between being obsessed with work versus being abnormally obsessed with work. The former is completely normal and it happens to a lot of people. However, if it gets to the point where you’re so dependent on work that you cannot focus on anything else, you’re definitely getting burnt out.

The Harvard Business Review writes about a strategy that is extremely helpful to get over this. The plan is to step away from work and disconnect entirely for a period of time. That can be for a night, day, or even longer if you need it. You’re going to feel a lot of discomfort and even anxiety, but putting yourself through that will make you learn that it might not be so scary after all.

2. You start to experience abdominal pain

There’s a powerful connection between the brain and the gut. When you start getting burnt out, one feeling a lot of people get is experiencing a tight knot in their stomachs. When this happens, the body releases hormones and chemicals that can interfere with digestion when it enters the digestive tract. Some other symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and loss of appetite. 

To heal completely, you’ll need to fully immerse yourself in a few activities. The first activity to start off with is just to go for a walk. Every day, go outside and take breaths of fresh air to take your mind off of work. Next, give peppermint oil a try. You can mix it in lemon water, use a shampoo with peppermint oil, or put the essential oil in a diffuser. If the pain gets serious, consult a doctor about what you should do.

3. You think that every day is a bad day

One huge sign of starting to burn out is feeling unmotivated and having nothing to look forward to. You start feeling like every day is a bad day and there’s nothing you can do to think otherwise. This is a really toxic mental state to be in and it’s only going to spiral downwards. You’ll need to pick yourself up before it gets worse.

One of the best ways to shift your mindset is to take a weekend off. During that break, don’t think about work and just enjoy the moment. Take some time to think about what you’re grateful for and find the bigger meaning behind everything you’re doing. When you pull yourself out of the situation for a bit, you’ll start gaining more clarity.

4. You’re starting to eat more junk food than normal food

This means that you’re starting to use food as a coping mechanism. If stress persists for a long period of time, your cortisol levels rise which causes your appetite to increase. Stress also causes you to eat foods that are high in fat and sugar content.

If you find yourself constantly stress eating unhealthy foods, do some exercise. Exercise helps with reducing anxiety and stress. Another way to cope with overeating junk food is to try meditating. This helps you become more mindful of what you put in your body.

5. It’s hard to think of a reason to be proud of yourself 

When we’re in this kind of mental state, it’s hard to give ourselves credit for the accomplishments we’ve made, small or big. You might have gotten a salary raise, but you still don’t seem satisfied. You might have learned a new hobby, but you think you’re still not good enough. It’s one thing to have ambition, but another to be overly concentrated on why you’re not good enough. 

One of the best ways to deal with this mindset is to sit down and think about how far you’ve come to be where you are right now. Think about all the struggles you’ve overcome. Don’t avoid thinking about the failures you’ve made, but make sure to think about how you’ve learned and grown from them. Lastly, remind yourself that there’s no one else with your exact same qualities and because of that, you’re incredibly special.