Stress and Burnout

What is stress and burnout?

We may feel stressed when we feel under pressure. A small amount of stress can be motivating and help us to achieve our goals. However, too much stress, when it feels out of control, can impact our mood, our mental health and well-being, and our relationships.

Some people, when they go through long periods of stress, experience ‘burnout’ – a feeling of complete physical and emotional exhaustion. Fortunately, there are ways to stop stress getting out of control.


What are the symptoms?

People experience stress in a range of different ways. It can affect how we feel physically, emotionally and how we behave.

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches and headaches
  • Chest pains and high blood pressure
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick, dizzy or fainting
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Developing rashes or itchy skin
  • Sweating
  • Changes to your period or menstrual cycle
  • Existing physical health problems getting worse

Emotional symptoms can include feeling:

  • Irritable, angry, impatient or wound up
  • Over-burdened or overwhelmed
  • Anxious, nervous or afraid
  • Like your thoughts are racing and you can’t switch off
  • Unable to enjoy yourself
  • Depressed
  • Uninterested in life
  • Like you’ve lost your sense of humour
  • A sense of dread
  • Worried or tense
  • Neglected or lonely
  • Existing mental health problems getting worse

Behavioural symptoms can include:

  • Finding it hard to make decisions
  • Being unable to concentrate
  • Being unable to remember things, or your memory feeling slower than usual
  • Constant worrying or having feelings of dread
  • Snapping at people
  • Biting your nails
  • Picking at or itching your skin
  • Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Feeling restless, like you can’t sit still
  • Crying or feeling tearful
  • Not exercising as much as you usually would, or exercising too much
  • Withdrawing from people around you


What can help?





Supporting your child who is stressed

If your child is struggling with stress, click on the links to find out how you can support them and places you can get help.

General stress:

Exam stress:

You can also download this handy guide from












Further Information

  • Stress and Burnout, what can help?

    If your symptoms are too intense or last for too long, it could be a sign that you might need additional support. Talking about it can be really helpful and is often the first step to feeling better. Speak to a trusted friend or family member, or contact our Therapy Service on to talk […]

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