How to recognise and manage work burnout

How to recognise and manage work burnout

Burnout is a state of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion usually caused by underlying stress. Work burnout is brought about by work-related stress, mostly in demanding and extreme job occupations. Unfortunately, a large number of people suffering from work burnout fail to recognise and act on the symptoms, and without proper help, work burnout can descend into a crippling depression.
What are the symptoms of work burnout?

It’s never easy to run self-diagnosis, especially when it comes to mental and emotional health issues. However, there are a few tell-tale signs of work burnout.

• No longer excited by work

The very first sign of burnout is the utter lack of interest in your work. This is characterised by the dread of going to work or performing specific duties. Negativity towards the job causes your performance and productivity to plummet since there is no motivation to work.

• Always exhausted

Feeling excessively exhausted is a common sign of burnout. You may feel depleted and drained, lacking the energy to work or even do anything at all. The exhaustion reduces concentration, focus and competence.

• Relationship issues

Burnout may lead to detachment and lifestyle changes that may be toxic to your work and personal relationships. You might find yourself resenting your co-workers and family members over meaningless scuffles.
Dealing with work burnout

Once you realise that you might be on the path to work burnout, it’s time to take action and mitigate the problem before it develops further.

• Find the root of the problem

The first step is understanding what is causing the burnout in the first place. It could be overworking, under-appreciation, work-life imbalance, wrong career choice, or a stressful work environment. Equally, you may find that it is the symptom of a much bigger problem, such as low self-confidence or self-esteem issues, or that the weight of external pressures (such as family or health problems) is contributing to your work burnout. Only once you discover the root can you come up with a solution for the burnout.

• Consider your options

Having worked out what the problem is, find out what options are available to you. Do you quit your job, request for changes in the workplace, or find coping mechanisms? Quitting is not always a viable option, so it’s best to try and work out a solution with your employer and co-workers. It also helps to find an escape from work or some free time for wellness practices such as meditation, therapy and physical exercises.

• Seek professional help

Don’t go at it alone; talk to an expert about your condition. Work burnout is a serious emotional and mental health condition that could lead to chronic anxiety and depression. Even if your burnout is a combination of factors or a symptom of low self-confidence or stress related to other lifestyle issues, then it’s important to speak to a health psychologist. As a health psychologist, I will help you address the problem by facilitating health behaviour changes and analysing and implementing practical solutions such as CBT for burnout and virtual reality therapy for relaxation techniques.

written by Joanna Konstantopoulou