Work Balance


Five Signs That May Indicate Workplace Burnout

Work advice

Workplace burnout is a common condition caused by our hectic modern lives. We refer to mental, physical and emotional exhaustion caused by intense and prolonged stress as burnout. As the stress persists, your motivation, focus, and interest in your role and workplace will begin to diminish. Burnout can lead to a decrease in productivity and energy, and may evoke feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, cynicism, and resentfulness.

Burnout not only has a detrimental impact on your work life, but it can also take a toll on your home and social life, and have severe consequences for your health, such as high blood pressure (which can lead to heart attacks), weight gain (which can cause various problems, including diabetes), and insomnia. Burnout that is excessive and prolonged can even result in suicide.

Recently, I had a bout of burnout. After six months that had been emotionally taxing, it arrived. Whilst my Mum was fighting cancer, I was trying to juggle a forty-hour work week, a three-hour commute every day, a university degree, volunteering, and the establishment of a business. Initially, I felt exceedingly fatigued. I found myself dozing off on the bus and train to and from work, as well as during work meetings and even in client's homes. It was difficult for me to concentrate on small and mundane tasks, so I was only doing the bare minimum before my mind completely shut down. I ended up not wanting to go to work anymore and searching for alternative possibilities. Management had noticed my lacklustre performance and I was placed on a performance improvement plan.

After explaining to my supervisor that I was feeling burnt-out, I was supported to get back on track and re-evaluate my goals. After taking two weeks leave and catching up on plenty of extra sleep, I returned feeling refreshed and revitalised, and soon resumed working at full capacity.

Recognising my burnout in the first place was the most important aspect in overcoming it. It is essential to recognize burnout as soon as possible, as it can be prevented before it becomes unmanageable. Here are the top 5 signs that you're burning out:

A lack of motivation.

I was loving the job I was doing. The team I was working with was great, the clients were wonderful, and the managers were extremely supportive. I looked forward to going to work every day. When I started to become overwhelmed, I lacked the motivation to go to work. The clients frustrated me, I disengaged from my co-workers and I avoided my supervisors.

I am often feeling tired and drained.

I was completely worn out. I would often doze off on buses, trains, during meetings, and while in training. Due to a lack of energy, I was unable to participate in many physical activities and would become exhausted immediately after arriving home. My energy levels never peaked at any point during the day.

Not coming to work on time or leaving early.

I took 0 sick days the year before I burnt-out. I would come to work 15 minutes early and stay until I had completed all of my work. Despite not having finished my work and being healthy, I began taking breaks by leaving 15 minutes early and taking sick days. One of the earliest signs of burnout is often this one, the most common.

Alterations in eating and sleeping patterns.

I used to not have any trouble sleeping all night long. I woke several times during the night while burning out. I was having several half sleeps instead of one constant sleep. When it came time to wake up, it was difficult for me to drag myself out of bed. I would often sneak in an additional 15 minutes of sleep before leaving for work without having breakfast.

Coping with food, drugs, or alcohol.

Another sign that is very common is this. In many cases, people increase their drinking after work, and in some extreme cases, even during work. Illegal and prescribed drugs are also very commonly used. I found myself trying to cope with food for me. I found myself consuming more of the "unhealthy" foods. My self-esteem decreased when I put on weight.

Burnout occurs gradually. Although it takes time, the feeling gradually intensifies until people become unaware of it until it is too late. Hopefully, by recognizing some of the most common signs, you will be able to identify burnout in time.


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