How to tell the difference between depression and burnout

I’m laying in bed. I know I need to be getting up. I have meetings. I have things that need to be done around the house. I have laundry that needs to be washed and a pile of work on my desk that needs to be done.

But I’m laying in bed. And I’ll stay there for two hours longer than I should, before slowly making my way out of bed to sit in front of a computer screen trying to work.

This was me, three months ago.

I remember crying and thinking, “I can’t believe this is happening. Again.” My history of depression is something that will follow me around whether I like it or not.

But I couldn’t put my finger on this. This time it was different.

I was doing great. Life was going amazing. I LOVE my job. Things were working out. I had suffered a bit of loss earlier in the month, but I hit the ground running and didn’t let it slow me down.

Life was busy…

Too busy…

I was working crazy hours, staying up far too late and then dragging myself out of bed in the morning to start it all over again. I wasn’t eating healthy and exercise consisted of walking up and down the stairs to get more coffee. Although I loved my job, even that seemed to become dull and unattractive.

What I thought was depression was actually plain, old burnout.

Here’s how you can tell the difference:


Ask yourself these questions…

“Are you busier than usual?”

“Am I sleeping enough?”

“Is my work/life balance – – balanced?”

These three questions can help you determine if there’s a possibility you could be burnout.

Does leaving the office help?

If you perk up outside of the office when you’re doing other things, it’s likely burnout rather than depression. Depression will usually consistent.

Have you stopped trying… Or caring to try?

If your work performance has dropped rapidly and you suddenly feel a loss of desire to perform adequately within your job, this could be a symptom of burnout or depression. The difference is that with burnout, you’re likely to care about other things and be happy and excited for other activities outside of work.


So once you know you’re burnout, you can do your best to fix it.

Some resources say that a new career is required, depending on the severity.

Some say you can try to mix things up, change your office, mix up your routines.

Some say to get a hobby, something you can do to take your mind off work when you’re out of the office.


For me, I changed things up. I decided to do some exciting new training. I read books, listened to podcasts and I found myself things to do outside of work.

I made family time more important.

I watched more movies.

I went for coffee with more friends.


I changed up my boring day to day routine a bit and bounced right back. My burnout wasn’t as bad as others… Likely because I noticed it in the early stages and acted on it.

If you’re suffering from burnout or depression, I urge you to seek resources immediately. Don’t push it down and try to believe it will go away with time. It’ll likely grow and will become more difficult to deal with the longer you leave it.


Have you ever felt burnout? What do you to bounce back? Tell me in the comments below.

12987234_488101244732219_5840221814499897607_nNichole is a Social Media Marketing Manager, business owner, daughter and friend. She has a Marketing Diploma and a Certificate of Christian Theology. She is an avid coffee lover who enjoys a good movie or book. She takes great joy in organizing, scheduling, and volunteering. Her passion for volunteerism extends specifically to those who are hurting, whether it is emotionally, physically, or mentally.

Nichole is certified to provide Mental Health First Aid, which means she can provide immediate support and guidance in a safe environment, comfortably have a conversation about mental health related issues and offer professional and other supports. This does NOT make Nichole a psychologist, or a counselor. It simply gives her the tools to direct people to the help they need.

You can follow Nichole on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Linkedin and her Personal Blog.

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