Workplace Burnout 101: How to identify the signs and avoid the stress

Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed by the thought of work? Have you spent the weekend dreading going into the office on a Monday instead of enjoying your personal time? You may even find yourself starting the day well but quickly finding your motivation diminishes. These are all signs that you’re experiencing burnout at work, but you’re not alone, most of us will experience these feelings at least once in our professional careers.While it’s normal to experience the occasional stressful day at work or even a minor setback here and there, extreme levels of stress can have serious long-term effects on your overall health and wellbeing.

In this article we are going to look at the warning signs of burnout so that you can identify them before it becomes a burden, as well as ways you can actively work to avoid burnout at work.

Identifying the warning signs of burnout

Burnout is a stage of complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion and is characterised by three main indicators;

  • Lack of motivation

  • Lack of pleasure in your job

  • A sense of your own inefficiency

However, this sense of exhaustion isn’t just limited to your office hours. It also encroaches on your personal life, your relationships, and your ability or desire to take part in activities that you would usually find enjoyable. Look for these signs as a warning of burnout approaching;

Physical symptoms of burnout

  • Headache

  • Stomach pains

  • Frequent illness

  • Change to sleeping habits

  • Change in eating habits

  • Fatigue

Behavioural symptoms of burnout

  • Withdrawal or isolation

  • Unusual emotional outbursts

  • Procrastination

  • Reduced ability to perform everyday tasks

  • Using substances to cope

Emotional symptoms of burnout

  • Sense of failure

  • Cynicism

  • Loss of motivation

  • Feeling alone or detached

  • Hopelessness

  • Decreased satisfaction

What to do when the symptoms show

Take time to yourself

Schedule some time away from work to rest, relax and recharge. Looking after your mental health is a valid reason to use your sick leave.

Seek support

Friends, family, colleagues, or a mental health support service are all great options to help you find some support while you’re going through a tough time. Reaching our to any employee assistance programs is also a good option.

Get some sleep

Sleep really does help prevent illness and restore your peace of mind. Ensure you’re prioritising getting enough sleep.

Take breaks

Leave your desk! Go for a walk, grab a coffee, or sit outside during your lunchbreak. Nothing good comes from sitting at a desk and staring at a computer all day.

Get some exercise

Regular exercise helps your body handle stress better. It’s also a nice way to take your mind off things.

Try relaxing

Sometimes we need to force ourselves to take time out. Yoga, meditation, and tai chi are great activities designed to rest your mind and de-stress your body. Mindfulness apps are also great ways to help you focus and become aware of how you feel in the moment.

Evaluate your options

Talk to your manager or supervisor about the situation. There may be a way to work together to make the workload or situation easier to manage.

Stress and burnout benefits no one and it’s not simply a case of being able to push through until things get better. Not addressing the root causes or acting in ways to overcome stress and burnout can lead to further health complications including Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, substance and alcohol abuse, insomnia, and make you more susceptible and vulnerable to other illnesses and viruses by weakening your immune system. Keep this guide in mind and be wary of the signs of burnout in yourself, loved ones, and colleagues, with these proactive steps in place, burnout can be averted or managed in its early stages to limit the fallout and impact,

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