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Burnout: 5 Signs and Ways to Prevent It

As we continue our Workplace Wellness series, let’s talk about Burnout. Every day, we hear more and more stories of personal and professional connections experiencing burnout. Many of you reading this are likely to have experienced or are on the brink of burnout, considering a Deloitte survey revealed that 77 percent of respondents have experienced burnout at their current job. With numbers that high, it’s concerning that 70 percent also felt that their employer isn’t doing enough to alleviate burnout in the workplace. Burnout can look and feel different to everyone, but there’s no denying how debilitating it can be and that it impacts more than just our quality of work. That’s why, in this blog, we’ll be sharing five ways you can better detect and prevent burnout. 

What is Burnout?

We mentioned that the experience of burnout could be unique to each of us, but it is generally characterized by mental, physical, and/or social exhaustion due to prolonged stress. The World Health Organization classifies burnout as a syndrome with three main symptoms:

  • Feelings of exhaustion or energy depletion
  • Decreased professional efficacy
  • Increased negativity related to your job

These feelings can also manifest physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches, just to name a few.  A common myth about burnout is that its only cause is an excessive workload. However, boredom, lack of job control, and lack of support can all be potential leads to burnout. 

Signs of Burnout

Are you unsure of whether you may be experiencing or on the brink of burnout? Here are the five most common signs of burnout:

  1. You feel a sense of dread toward work or life
  2. You experience frequent feelings of irritability, anger, or cynicism
  3. You feel disconnected from work
  4. You notice diminishing compassion toward others
  5. You feel empty or hopeless

If you resonate with any of the statements above, we highly encourage you to speak to someone. This blog only provides tips to help you prevent burnout, not recover. So, please reach out to your boss, a colleague, family member, friend, or licensed professional for more support and resources for burnout recovery. 

Our team had the privilege of hearing Nataly Kogan speak at Workhuman Live 2022 and found her tactical advice on emotional fitness incredibly helpful and inspiring. 

5 Tips for Preventing Burnout

Feeling balanced and working sustainably often requires being proactive and creating thoughtful well-being habits. Here are five tips (or habits) that can help you prevent burnout:

1. Recover and recover well 

Engaging in proper recovery is crucial to preventing burnout! Check out this blog for more detailed and tackle ways of recovering from workplace stress.

2. Prioritize yourself and your self-care 

The truth is, it’s ok to be a little selfish sometimes! Well-being is a personal journey. It’s all about you. So, make sure you prioritize your health throughout the work day by taking frequent breaks (including snack breaks!).

After work, make sure to indulge in the things you enjoy. Take time to really think about what self-care means to you. It’s different for everyone! Perhaps it’s having a glass of wine and reading a good book. It could even be playing a round of video games with your buddies!

Most importantly, sleep! Sleep is vital to both physical and mental health. If you’re carrying thoughts and pressures of work with you to bed, your quality of sleep is likely to leave much to be desired. Poor sleep can create a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. If you don’t sleep well, you’ll likely wake up the next day feeling tired and carry feelings of fatigue or lack of focus into your work day. Those feelings can lead to more feelings of unproductivity and stress. If you’re stressed, you likely won’t sleep well. You get the picture, right?

3. Seek out connections 

Connecting with others gives you the opportunity to communicate your feelings of stress and find support from those around you. It can even be mutual support!

For our work-from-home readers…

4. Get ready for work 

This may sound like a no-brainer, but getting dressed for the day and having a dedicated work area can help promote stronger barriers between work and nonwork. It can really help shift your mindset from being ready and involved in work to being relaxed.

5. Value your rest ethic as highly as your work ethic 

As a society, we tend to emphasize a strong work ethic without thinking of much else. In reality, a strong work ethic typically stems from your rest ethic. Without proper rest, you wouldn’t have the energy to fully engage in your work ethic. Building a rest ethic can look like creating set morning and evening routines, actually using your PTO, and taking microbreaks. 

More on Well-being

We know the thought of feeling at peace when it comes to balancing all of your work and nonwork responsibilities and stressors can seem impossible. That’s why we’ve committed to sharing as many tips and resources as we can (for employees and employers alike) throughout our Workplace Well-being Blog series!

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