Burnout At Work: 3 Expert Tips To Reclaim Your Energy

Dealing with burnout at work

Stress is a natural part of life, and to some extent, it’s actually good for you. But what happens when workplace stress begins to push you past your limits? That’s when you might start succumbing to burnout at work.

Do you feel tired, disinterested, and frustrated as you start your workday every morning? Are you struggling to fall asleep at night? Or, maybe you’ve lost interest in your favorite activities, like hanging out with friends?

Whatever the case may be, these could be signs of job burnout.

So how can we recognize burnout at work and learn to avoid it in the first place?

What is Burnout?

Most experts agree that burnout is a condition that results from chronic stress while on the job. The three main signs of burnout at work include cynicism, exhaustion, and inefficacy. 

As burnout increases in intensity, it may trigger additional issues like:

  • Depression
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Anger
  • Insomnia
  • Increased likelihood for respiratory issues, fatigue, and other long-term problems 

The 5 Stages of Burnout

The following stages will help you assess your potential risk of burnout. 

Stage 1 – The “Honeymoon Period”

In this stage, you’ll have high job satisfaction and won’t think of anything as being wrong at all. In fact, you’ll probably be quite happy with your current position. The problem arises when you keep taking on more and more work. 

Stage 2 – Job Dissatisfaction

You’ll start recognizing that some days are clearly better than others. This is about how you handle stress on the job. You might start noticing burnout symptoms like exhaustion and job dissatisfaction. 

Stage 3 – Chronic Burnout at Work

By the time you reach stage 3, the signs of burnout will have become chronic. You may notice them manifesting into more serious physical illnesses. You could even experience anger and depression.

Stage 4 – Intense Frustration

In the next stage, your physical and emotional symptoms will become critical. Many of the symptoms will be the same as what you experienced in Stage 3. However, they will be much more intense and frequent. You may develop an escapist mentality and turn to drugs, alcohol, or other destructive habits. This is all done to get away from your feelings.

Stage 5 – The Breaking Point

By this stage, symptoms of burnout will become embedded in your daily life. It may be hard to pinpoint the cause behind your physical and mental exhaustion. While recovery may take longer here, the good news is that is still possible by following the tips below. 

3 Expert Tips to Stop Burnout in its Tracks

To avoid a prolonged recovery process, it’s best to be proactive and tackle your burnout in the earlier stages. Here are a few simple tips you can follow to stop burnout at work – before it turns into a serious problem. 

1. Focus on Self-Care

The most important thing you can do to prevent and address burnout at work is to make self-care a priority.

This will look different for everyone. Maybe it’s taking time to exercise each day or booking a massage. Each week, schedule a slot of time for yourself to assess exactly how you’re feeling. 

Make space for positive and restful time away from work. Do things that fill up your personal cup before it’s completely drained. 

2. Change Your Perspective 

Rest and relaxation can ease exhaustion but they don’t always address the root causes of burnout. It doesn’t matter how many vacation days you use. Once you’re back at the office, you may get consumed by your original burnout triggers. It might be the same challenging workload or limited resources, causing you undue stress.

Take inventory of how you can influence your work situation. If possible, try changing your work hours. Take frequent breaks to give yourself recovery time throughout the day. Enforce your boundaries and disconnect from work at the end of a workday. By giving yourself space, you’ll help reduce the likelihood of burnout at work. 

3. Seek Out Human Connection

Finally, find ways to get support through difficult times. Get a coach or mentor to help you balance your work responsibilities with your wellness needs. If your burnout is more intense, find a therapist to help you cope with your heightened emotions.

To prevent burnout in the first place, take the time to bring human connection into your day. If you’re having a bad day, share with co-workers, friends or family. Break away from intense tasks to have a chat with your teammates. Walk over to your boss’s office to ask a question rather than sending an email. 

These steps are small, but interacting with people face to face can make a huge difference.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from Burnout? 

Recovering from burnout can take anywhere from a few days to several years. It depends on the severity of your symptoms and when you take steps to address them.

So what’s the best thing to do? Start by acknowledging that you’re only human – and nobody is perfect! Feeling burned out at work is not a sign of weakness or failure at your job. Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to prioritize your wellbeing. 

Then, turn the focus to yourself and use the tips above to restore balance in your life. Seek out support and give yourself time to recover. Life’s too short to spend it hating your job and suffering in silence.

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