Avoiding Burnout

April 04, 2020

Avoiding Burnout

There are many “outs” in life.  We can be stressed out, worn out, and experience burnout.  As passionate as we may feel about our work, we are all susceptible to burnout if we fail to exercise good self-care and relaxation techniques.  Burnout is a constant feeling of physical, mental, and/or emotional exhaustion and pessimism in the workplace.  This usually results in a decline in performance and passion.  You may experience doubt over your job competence and value in the workforce.    

Early Signs of Burnout

There are several early warning signs of burnout.  Do you dread coming back from vacation?  Are you experiencing interpersonal problems at work and home, growing irritable and impatient?  Do tasks you once enjoyed no longer excite you?  Can you concentrate easily on assignments?  Is your overall attitude pessimistic toward your coworkers and your performance?  These questions are all indicators of a burnout.  There are also several health problems that may arise from chronic stress in the workplace.  Burnout symptoms have been linked to anxiety, depression, digestive problems, weight fluctuations, and changes in sleep patterns. 


Triggers of Burnout

What ultimately leads to workplace burnout?  It’s different for everyone and could be a variety of items or one major one.  Here are some possibilities:

  • Limited or no control- Perhaps your schedule or job requirements are determined for you- without your input. Lacking sufficient resources to do your job effectively may also trigger burnout.  
  • Expectations- If an employer anticipates a higher performance than possible, this could cause an increase in stress. Also, when expectations are unwritten or unclear, this brings confusion and interpersonal turmoil. 
  • Job mismatch- Are you currently in a position not suited for your skillset or interests? Boredom, frustration, and long term stress may occur. 
  • Social dynamics- It’s no secret there are introverts and extroverts. Some people work best in solitude; while others would not.  Isolation could lead to internal and/or external stress. 
  • Clashing values- Differences in values or convictions can be deeply felt. Situations resulting from a clash in business ethics may produce emotional stress.
  • Out of balance- When work begins to eat up your energy and time for family or social events resentment may appear and accelerate to burnout.

Preventing Burnout

Far from being inevitable, burnout is actually preventable.  Consider putting these practices in place to help in avoiding workplace burnout:

  • Take small breaks- Your overall performance can be impacted negatively by failing to take (short) breaks. Concentration wanes after a long, laborious stretch; so take a quick five or ten minutes.  Your brain will thank you. 
  • Evaluate- Take a step back to see how you are using your time. Where and when are you most productive?  How is the quality of your work?  Being efficient does not equal being effective.  Take inventory and prioritize your time. 
  • Set vacations in stone- If you are financially able, plan that trip today. It will give you something to anticipate.  Or consider doing a “staycation,” and treat yourself to some rest and relaxation. 
  • Reward yourself weekly- Establish a routine that invests in you. Perhaps, schedule a dinner out with the family or coffee with a friend.  You will be more motivated to complete a task when you have something fun to look forward to each week.
  • Determine what’s urgent- We are easily distracted by items we label as urgent. Whether that’s email, phone calls, or administrative work, set less-urgent tasks aside for later. This will increase your productivity and help you feel more organized.
  • Build community with coworkers- Relationships with positive people who inspire and motivate you are important. Negativity breeds exponentially, so look for coworkers who can empathize with your challenges and encourage you.   
  • Note your negative feelings- Pay attention to your negative thoughts and jot them down. Which of these situations can you control?  Focus on what you can change about your work and environment.  This mindset allows you to control more choices in your career.
  • Engage new passions- Look for a new hobby to catch your interest during the week. Often, new activities reignite passions for forgotten interests.
  • Unplug your devices- Avoid checking your office email, voicemail, and logging in to do work when you’re not in the office. Maintaining a clear distinction between work and home allows you to be fully present and enjoy whichever one you choose.
  • Practice self-care- Taking care of yourself with proper rest, exercise, and nutrition is essential to reducing your risk for or managing existing burnout.  Research shows that less than six hours of sleep nightly speeds your chance of burning out.  Good self-care, conversely, will bring you more energy and increase your productivity. 

If you think you may be experiencing signs of job burnout, ignoring the symptoms is never the best decision.  Ask your doctor or schedule an appointment with a mental health professional before you feel worse.  Implementing these strategies, as well as healthy self-care, will help restore the passion for what you enjoy most.  


Want to talk to a counselor today about this? 

Call Amplified Life at 800-453-7733 and ask for your “Free 15 Minute Phone Consultation" with one of our licensed counselors. We’ll listen, answer questions you may have, and help you plan next steps.








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