How to Recognise Burnout at Work and How to Fix it

According to Wikipedia’s definition of burn out, it is ‘long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work’.  People who suffer from burn out are often those who become extremely stressed due to their job, and as a consequence, can sometimes suffer from depression.  The road to burn out is a vicious one and can severely affect a person’s life in the long term; not only could it lose you your job, but it can quickly escalate into depression and affect your home life too. It is therefore important that you know how to recognise burn out and how to recover from it.

Recognising the emotional signs of burn out

Burn out is a disorder, but it can be hard to diagnose when the side effects are not physical. You need to be able to spot the signs early on. The following list signals that you may be suffering from work related burn out…

1.     You dread Monday and begin worrying about it from early Sunday evening.

2.     You cannot prioritise your workload and feel swamped with tasks and deadlines.

3.     You begin to take little care about your appearance and hygiene.

4.     You contemplate calling in sick so you can avoid the stress of your workday.

5.     You become extremely negative; you talk only about work and in a negative light.

6.     You truly believe every day is a bad day.

7.     You feel overwhelmed.

8.     You become restless and unable to sleep throughout the night.

9.     Your mind wanders throughout the day and you dream of being anywhere but work.

10.  You sink into your chair at work and hope you can avoid people all day until home time.

11.  You lose your motivation and experience decreased satisfaction.

Recognising the physical signs of burn out

Burn out has many emotional side effects and as such can be difficult to self-diagnose because differentiating between stress, depression and burn out is complex. However, there are many physical side effects of burn out; check out the list below of red flags that may indicate that you are suffering from burn out.

1.     You feel tired even when you have had a full night’s sleep.

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2.     Your hair and skin looks dull.

3.     Your face becomes gaunt and you have a look of permanent worry on your face.

4.     You eat carb filled meals when you can snatch a moment to eat, meaning you put on weight.

5.     You get a feeling of sheer dread in the pit of your stomach before work each morning.

6.     You begin to lose your hair or you get grey hairs.

7.     You are overly emotional and feel that you want to cry when you become anxious.

8.     You sweat in stressful situations and feel sick.

How to ‘fix’ burn out

There is no such thing as ‘fixing’ burn out, however, there are many ways you can both prevent it and recover from it. To prevent burn out you need to slow down. As easy that it is to say that, it can be difficult in a demanding job; as such, you need to speak to your senior/manager and let them know if you are struggling to cope and have them re-evaluate your current workload. You should also take a break from technology as research tells us that constant use of screens (whether that is your mobile, laptop, work pc) can be terribly bad for our health. You need to set aside time both during the week and at weekends to do things that you enjoy. The key is to achieve ultimate work-life balance.

If you believe you are already suffering from burn out, you can take several measures to help yourself overcome this difficult time. If your health is deteriorating you should seek immediate professional guidance from a doctor or therapist. If you believe that you are not in need of seeking professional help, you should still confide in a trusted work colleague, manager, family or friends. In addition, you should set yourself daily goals and give yourself reasonable timeframes to achieve these goals. This will give you a sense of achievement without the pressure of meeting tight deadlines.

Do you suffer from burn out? Have you recovered from burn out? If you would like to share your experiences, then please do comment in the section below. 

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