Three major signs of job burnout
March 29, 2017

A stressful lifestyle can put people under extreme pressure, to the point that they feel exhausted and empty. Occupational burnout often develops slowly and may not be recognized until it’s too late. Our bodies and minds do give us warnings, and if you know what to look for, you can recognize it before it’s too late.


Job burnout is used to describe the consequences of severe stress and high ideals in predominantly “helping” professions and managers. Doctors and nurses, for example, who sacrifice themselves for others, would often end up being “burned out” – exhausted, listless, and unable to cope. Nowadays, the term is not only used for these professions, it seems it can affect anyone.

There is no clear definition of what job burnout really is. It is considered to have a wide range of symptoms. But all definitions given so far share the idea that the symptoms are thought to be caused by work-related or other kinds of stress. In general, it is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place. It significantly reduces your productivity and your energy, leaving you feeling helpless, hopeless and resentful.


There are three main areas of symptoms that are considered to most common signs job burnout:

  • Exhaustion: People affected feel drained and emotionally exhausted, unable to cope, tired and down, and do not have enough energy. Physical symptoms include things like pain and stomach or bowel problems.
  • Alienation: People who have burnout find their jobs increasingly stressful and frustrating. They may start to distance themselves emotionally from their co-workers or loved ones, and start feeling numb about their work.
  • Reduced performance: Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work, at home or when caring for family members. People with burnout are very negative about their tasks, find it hard to concentrate, are listless and lack creativity.
Causes of burnout

Burnout is often associated with your job description. But anyone who feels overworked and undervalued is at risk for burnout—from the hardworking office worker who hasn’t had a vacation in years, to the stay-at-home moms struggling to care for kids, housework, and an aging parent. Your lifestyle and personality traits can also contribute. What you do in your free time and how you look at the world can play just as big of a role in causing burnout as work or home demands.

When we speak about job-related causes few are very common. Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment. Unclear or overly demanding job expectations. Doing work that’s monotonous or unchallenging. Feeling like you have little or no control over your work. Lack of recognition or reward for good work.

Personality traits which contribute are perfectionistic tendencies when nothing is ever good enough. The need to be in control; reluctance to delegate to others. The pessimistic view of yourself and the world. High-achieving types of personality.

Lifestyle causes are commonly working too much, without enough time for socializing or relaxing. Lack of close, supportive relationships and lack of sleep.

How to deal with it

Recovery from job burnout is a slow journey and it doesn’t go away on its own. If you ignore it, it will only cause you further harm down the line, so it’s important that you begin recovery as soon as possible. But you have a lot more control over stress than you may think. There are positive steps you can take to get your life back into balance and overcome burnout. One of the most effective is to reach out to others.

Invest in your closest relationships, such as those with your partner, children or friends. Try to put aside what’s burning you out and make the time you spend with loved ones positive and enjoyable. If you hate your job, look for meaning and satisfaction elsewhere in your life. Focus on the parts of your life that bring you joy.

Take time off. If burnout seems inevitable, try to take a complete break from work. Go on vacation, use up your sick days, ask for a temporary leave-of-absence—anything to remove yourself from the situation. Use the time away to recharge your batteries and pursue other burnout recovery steps.

Set boundaries. Don’t overextend yourself. Learn how to say “no” to requests on your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the things that you truly want to do. Take a daily break from technology. Set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Put away your laptop, turn off your phone, and stop checking email.

Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress and burnout and is also something you can do to boost your mood. Set aside relaxation time. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response. Get plenty of sleep. Feeling tired can exacerbate burnout by causing you to think irrationally. Keep your cool in stressful situations by getting a good night’s sleep.





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