Real Estate Agent Burnout: Know the Signs and How to Prevent It

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About This Episode

You got into real estate partly so you could control your own schedule. Now you’ve got plenty of clients, and you’re happy about that. But, more recently, you’re working overtime just to keep up with the abundance of showings, texts, emails, calls and training sessions. You’ve started to feel like you just want to keep your head above the water. What you may be experiencing is agent burnout. This week on The Walkthrough™, we talk about the signs of burnout, what you can do to feel better, and how to prevent it.

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Links and Show Notes

Full Transcript

(SPEAKER: Lisa Johnson Smith, Host)

It’s been a hectic two years in the real estate industry. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. That means more money, more money, more money, right?!

[sound effect: cash register]

But let’s face it, making money has a cost of its own. For some, the biggest cost has been your work/life balance. [sound effect: phone ringing, typing on a keyboard, cell phone vibrating] Answering and responding to round-the-clock phone calls/texts/emails from clients to stay on top of all of those transactions that came flying your way.

I mean, when was the last time you decompressed? Took an actual break. Not just the 5-minute-breathing exercise break where you open an app, close your eyes and count, breathe, listen to yourself breathe, [sound effect: person taking deep breaths] and imagine yourself on some tropical island, and then scurry back to the madness in front of you on your desk.

No, I mean a real break. A rest. Something you did that took you away from it all that was selfishly just for you to recharge.

I’ll be honest with you. For me, it had been a while…until I realized I was burned out. Today, we’re talking about Agent Burnout. How to identify the signs and what you can do to prevent it.

This is The Walkthrough™.


Hey there! I know you’re used to hearing Matt’s voice! Right about now, you’re probably thinking, “ Who in the world is this?! My name is Lisa Johnson Smith–I’m a producer for our podcast, here at HomeLight, and so excited to be hosting my first solo episode!

Welcome to The Walkthrough™. This is a weekly podcast. New episodes come out every Monday.

This is the show where we learn what’s working RIGHT NOW from the best real estate agents and industry experts in the country.

At HomeLight, we believe in real estate agents. We’re here to explore how great agents grow their business…stand out from the crowd…and become irreplaceable.

Expecting to hear something about how to get more transactions and increase your bottom line? Well, you are.. Because if you’re burned out, it’s going to eventually affect your productivity and may be even your health.

Agent burnout is a real thing. How do I know? Because I’ve experienced it myself. I’m a divorced mom of three young men, a real estate agent for the past 18 years, a podcast producer (and sometimes a host), also a caretaker of elderly parents, and a church volunteer, and the list goes on. Trust me, I understand.

When I’m burned out, my brain gets a bit foggy, and my mind races when my head hits the pillow at night. I feel like I’m just doing too much. (Maybe because I am?!) Maybe you can relate? Or, you might be saying “Oh, I’m fine. I’m managing everything. This is what I do.” You know, you may not even realize you’re burned out.

This week we’re gonna talk about what the signs of burnout are and how to identify what type of burnout you may be suffering from. Some of the symptoms may surprise you. We’re also going to talk about what you can do to prevent and fix that feeling of being burned out.


Lisa: I like the way Naveed Ahmad, the founder of Flourish, a company that helps to cope with burnout puts it.

In an article on, he said, “Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder with a feather, sometimes it hits you with a brick, and sometimes it runs you over with a bus. Learn to listen when it’s just a feather.” Some great advice, if you ask me.

To help us dig a little deeper, we go to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith. She is the author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. She is also a physician and work-life integration researcher and founder of Restorasis. It’s a professional development agency dedicated to restoring well-being in the workplace. She helps high-achievers like you deal with their work-rest imbalance and find actionable answers so you can have a thriving lifestyle.

The first step is identifying what she calls your “rest deficits.” This is how you figure out not only if you are in fact burned out, but in what way you are burned out. Remember, sometimes you don’t even realize it.

So how did she do it? She created what she calls a “rest quiz.” It’s a free assessment you can take online that consists of a series of questions to help determine your level of rest, which in turn, will tell you the areas in which you are burned out. It takes about 5-10 minutes to complete, and at the end, you receive a complimentary rest deficit analysis to learn what type of rest you have been missing. And I bet you’ll be able to identify with at least one. I’ll be sure to attach a link to the “rest test” in the show notes.

According to Dr. Dalton-Smith, there are 7 types of rest that we all need. Who knew? And if you’re not getting enough of each of these, there will be signs. So it’s important to pay attention. Here are some signs to look out for to see if you have agent burnout. Remember, sometimes we may not even realize it.

1. You may have a physical rest deficit if you’re getting sick more than usual, or even you notice that you have some tension, neck pain, or swelling in your feet or legs.

2. If you find that you have brain fog like I mentioned earlier or you can’t concentrate well, you could have a mental rest deficit. Dr. Dalton-Smith likens this to what she calls “early dementia” without actually having dementia. Like a 30-year-old walking upstairs to grab a few items, and suddenly, can’t remember what you even came upstairs for? I can relate to this.

3. You may be experiencing a creative rest deficit, if you find you are struggling with writer’s block, thinking of new ideas, or you have less of an ability to brainstorm effectively.

4. Finding yourself getting irritated at the slightest noise? Like a baby crying– or God forbid you go to a concert because loud music makes you feel like you want to jump out of your skin? You may be experiencing a sensory rest deficit.

5. If you feel that you’re misunderstood and not appreciated, or feel like you’re being used and abused by others, you may be experiencing an emotional rest deficit.

6. A social rest deficit is when you just feel drained. You feel like you want to stay away from everyone because you have nothing more to give.

7. The signs of a spiritual rest deficit really depend on your own spiritual beliefs. This is when you feel that don’t have a sense of connectedness, belonging, or acceptance with a particular group of people, God, or a higher power.

Well, I took the rest quiz, and sure enough, I’m a bit burned out myself. I don’t mind sharing my personal results. Remember how I said I had some brain fog earlier? My results showed that I have somewhat of a deficit in the creative, mental, emotional, and physical areas of rest. So I have to make some changes in my life.

Well, once we figure out where our deficits are due to burnout, the big question is, how do we fix and prevent further burnout?

The answer is restorative rest. Dr. Dalton-Smith says there’s a difference between rest and sleep.

Rest isn’t just about just stopping work – or even going on a vacation. How many times have you gone away on vacation only to come back home and feel like you need to take another vacation? That’s because those things are usually filled with other activities that don’t necessarily leave you feeling restored – just more tired. She says that resting is about “pouring back” into whatever area you are depleted.

So, if you could identify with any of the symptoms I described earlier, here are some ways Dr. Dalton-Smith recommends to restore that rest and prevent yourself from becoming burned out in those areas again.

Feeling like you need more physical rest? There are two types of physical rest: Passive physical rest, which includes sleeping and napping. This is where you physically do nothing. You’re allowing your body to recover by a lack of movement and activity. And active physical rest – that helps improve circulation and relieve tension. This includes things like yoga, pilates, massage therapy, stretching, or even leisurely walks. These things even promote better quality sleep as well.

If you are in need of mental rest, she recommends taking short breaks throughout your day during work hours. Let technology work for you and set reminders to stop and slow down long enough to calm your mind. Another technique for mental rest is to keep a notepad next to your bed to write down those thoughts that keep you awake. I use this one a lot. It allows me to forget about those thoughts – at least until the next morning — so that I can get some good sleep.

In order to get more sensory rest – from your computer, cell phone, and the background noise of a busy office, or, if you work from home, multiple conversations with the kids — take a few minutes to close your eyes in the middle of the day. Turn off your radio on the way home. Just ride in silence. And turn off your devices altogether at the end of each day. I know this is a hard one, but these intentional times of sensory deprivation can start to undo the damage inflicted by the overstimulating world that we all live in.

I tried this on a recent road trip I took alone. I’m usually singing to the top of my lungs on solo road trips. Well, for the first time, no music and no phone calls…and it was lovely. I just rode in silence and by the time I reached my destination, I truly felt recharged.

Next is creative rest. If you’re lacking in this area, you’ve got to take in some beauty – and not only nature but also beauty by enjoying the arts. I find that taking daily walks in the park invigorates me and painting pieces of artwork on the weekends relaxes and inspires my creativity. But based on my rest quiz results, I need to be doing this more. Another thing you can do is to bring pictures of things that bring you happiness to the workplace.

If your emotional rest was lacking, you’re most likely that person who is the one everyone can depend upon – the people pleasers who have a hard time saying “no.” Well, do your best to be more authentic when asked to do something you don’t really want to do. And when someone asks how you are feeling, answer truthfully. It’s okay to admit that you’re tired or even a little stressed out.

To get more social rest — this goes hand-in-hand with emotional rest. Dr. Dalton-Smith suggests becoming more intentional about surrounding yourself with. You should be around positive people who uplift and affirm you and who want nothing from you.

Lastly, there’s spiritual rest. This is the ability to connect beyond the physical and mental. To have a deeper sense of acceptance and purpose, you should engage in something greater than yourself like regular prayer or meditation.


If you’ve been feeling some of the symptoms of burnout that we talked about today, I hope these tips have been helpful. Like anything, nothing happens overnight. But, I hope that gradually, you will begin to take notice of any signs of burnout that creep up in your life, and more importantly, begin to get some of the rest that you need in those areas you’ve discovered you’re lacking.

After all, Dr. Dalton-Smith says that rest is the safest, most underused, chemical-free and effective alternative therapy available to us.

Alright then! If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a voicemail or text us at 415-322-3328. You can also send an email to walkthrough[at] Or, you can find Matt and I in our Facebook mastermind group — just search “HomeLight Walkthrough.”

That’s all for this week. Thanks to Dr. Dalton-Smith for her valuable advice, and thank you for listening! Thanks to Matt for letting me sit in for him this week! We hope to have him back real soon.

My name’s Lisa Johnson Smith and you’ve been listening to The Walkthrough™. At HomeLight, we believe in real estate agents. We’re here to explore how great agents grow their business…stand out from the crowd…and become irreplaceable.

Like Matt always says, get out there and sell some homes! Talk to you soon!

Header Image source: (Engin Akyurt / Pixabay)