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Spotting the Signs of Burnout at Work

Spotting the Signs of Burnout at Work

Spotting the Signs of Burnout at Work

Burnout is the result of long-term stress in the workplace. However, the pressures of daily life can add to this and therefore leads to it impacting work life even more. The reason for that is that we spend most of our lives working. In other words, when we don’t enjoy our job, we can feel very down and unsatisfied with life.

What are the Signs of a Burnout at Work?

What are the signs of burnout at work? Work burnout symptoms vary from person to person. However, work exhaustion is a leading cause. It is essential to take a step back if you are experiencing work burnout symptoms because this can lead to various physical and mental health problems. If they are not dealt with appropriately, you could put your wellbeing at risk. However, work burnout is not a medical diagnosis. Nevertheless, it should be taken seriously as it is commonly the result of other mental illnesses. If you are experiencing increased stress at work, be careful as this is one of the leading signs of burnout at work.

What are Work Burnout Symptoms?

Some work burnout symptoms include:

  • Work exhaustion- feeling drained and demotivated about work. This can lead to a lack of concentration and energy, leading to less productivity.
  • Negative feelings around working life can lead to signs of burnout at work as work we do not enjoy the job.
  • Poor performance at work- When we feel demotivated, we are less focused to get the job done. Therefore, we care less about achieving high results and settle for less.
  • Poorer physical health- when we are stressed, our bodies may begin to suffer. Examples of physical symptoms of burnout are exhaustion, high blood pressure, digestive problems and aches and pains. One of the most common signs of burnout is frequent illness due to a lower immune system. A lowered immune system is the result of stress.

The signs of burnout at work are very similar to those of depression. In addition, those who are experiencing work burnout symptoms are at higher risk of developing depression. Therefore, if you are experiencing these symptoms and feel like your mental health is at risk, it is crucial to seek professional help.

Who can experience burnout at work?

We are all at risk of having signs of a burnout at work at some point in our lives. However, some people are at a higher risk of experiencing signs of burnout at work. For example:

  • If your work is repetitive and doesn’t allow much growth. Employees need to grow to maintain motivation.
  • You have too many or too few responsibilities at work. When you do not have enough responsibilities, you can become demotivated. The same can happen when you have too many as you may become overwhelmed.
  • Where your responsibilities aren’t made clear to you. For this reason, effective communication with your manager is so important. Employees given a good amount of support are much less likely to experience signs of a burnout at work.
  • Struggling to find a good balance between work and personal life
  • Having a highly stressful job, such as a healthcare worker who is under tight time restraints.
  • Not have good work relationships or feel as though you are being treated unfairly.

What are the Five Stages of Burnout?

  • Enthusiastic and motivated- Even though we are experiencing inevitable stress from work, we are committed and have a lot of energy to put into our role. At this state, we enjoy a high degree of job satisfaction.
  • Increased stress- will lead to a lesser feeling of optimism. We may become irritable and less productive than before. At this stage, we may experience physical symptoms, such as headaches and a change in appetite. In addition, we will start to show signs of burnout at work.
  • Chronic stress- our mood continues to worsen, and we may start to socialise less and begin to procrastinate.
  • Burnout- loss of ambition, leading us to experience poor self-confidence and increased poor health. We may isolate ourselves from others and have others begin to notice the changes in our mood.
  • Habitual burnout- if we continue not to make positive changes, this will become routine. Your mood will be very low, and you will experience a lot of negative feelings. The risk of developing a mental health illness is high, and professional help will likely be required.

How to Stop Signs of a Burnout at Work?

To stop signs of burnout at work, first, you must make changes to deal with the problem at hand.

Reduce Work Exhaustion

Speak to your Human Resources manager about how you are feeling and what you need. It can be challenging for managers to understand what each employee needs. Human Resources can approach your line manager to let them know about the issue and discuss what they can do to help. Together you can help combat the signs of burnout at work.

Don’t worry about talking to Human Resources. They are there to ensure that the wellbeing of employees remains supported. Moreover, you won’t have been the first person that has come to them with problems in the past. As a result, the negative feelings you have around your job may change. In addition, it helps you to adopt a positive attitude as your mental health and wellbeing are being supported. Consequently, you will help avoid signs of burnout at work.

Consider a Move in Your Job Role

However, it may be the case that you have outgrown your job or are no longer interested in it. In that case, the best way to stop signs of burnout at work is to change jobs. This may be a new position within your current business or a new role altogether. Therefore, you will be able to grow and have a fresh start. There are many benefits to changing job, for example:

  • You become more interested in what you are doing
  • You can develop new relationships
  • It can allow you to find a better work-life balance without the overwhelming emotions
  • You can challenge yourself and gain new skills

Remember Self-Care

Self-care is often something that many of us put off doing. However, we need to realise the importance of it. Without Self-care, we can quickly show signs of burnout at work. When we take care of ourselves, everything else in our lives will follow suit. For example:

  • Exercise regularly- When you exercise, there are chemicals in your brain that become stimulated. Therefore, you become happier and less stressed and anxious, as well as experiencing a boost of confidence from feeling better about yourself. Furthermore, you will have more energy and are therefore able to focus better.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet- similar to exercising, eating well improves your mood and boosts energy levels. Therefore, eat and drink water regularly, eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Have a good night’s sleep- Sleep allows us to recharge and gain energy for the next day. Without a good deep, we can lack motivation and become less productive. Therefore, we are more likely to experience signs of burnout a work.
  • Make “me time” part of your routine- When you feel good about yourself, others will enjoy your company. Therefore, make time for your hobbies and interests. Practise some meditation. Try gratitude journaling or keep a diary. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself, please do it!
  • Ask for support when needed- Everyone needs a little help now and then. Therefore, whether it be a friend, member of your family, co-worker or anyone else you feel comfortable talking to, confide in them. Sometimes it helps to be able to explain how we feel. However, you must note that if you feel that your mental health is at serious risk, you must seek professional help. This will prevent you from developing a mental illness such as depression and treat it if you already have a problem.

Written by Amy Bamford


What are the 5 stages of burnout?

  • Enthusiastic and motivated
  • Increases stress
  • Chronic stress
  • Burnout
  • Habitual burnout

What are the signs of burnout at work?

  • Work exhaustion
  • Negative feelings around working life
  • Poor performance
  • Poorer physical health

What are the warning signs of burnout?

Significant signs of burnout at work are increased stress levels.

How do I get over burnout at work?

  • Reduce work exhaustion
  • Consider getting a new job
  • Practise self-care

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