Workplace stress is just as real as physical strain, if not more. Recent studies have shown that stress, especially the psychological kind, can cause more damning damage to the body than physical strain. In a competitive world where people are pitched against one another and companies fight for the top spot, getting stressed out at the workplace is a common occurrence. While stress in regular quantities is not very bad, and unhealthy amount can lead to more severe results. One such severe result of workplace stress is a burnout.


What is Burnout?

The word Burnout, as such was first used by Herbert Freudenberger who called it “the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results.”

To make it simpler to understand, when your work stress starts to change your physical and mental health negatively, you may be approaching a point of burnout. The most basic signs of burnout are:

  • Physical and mental exhaustion at your workplace or at the idea of working.
  • A sudden sense of detesting or hating your job.
  • Feeling like you are not performing well enough at your job or are lesser capable.

While burnout is usually caused by workplace stress, sometimes it can even be stress from your day to day life pouring into your work and causing the stress. A few personality traits that can contribute to burnout are pessimism and perfectionism.

Watch out for these Signs and Symptoms of a Burnout

  • Physical Symptoms: All stress, whether work-related to otherwise, can cause physical symptoms. There’s only so much anxiety your body can take before the strain starts to wear you down. The same is the case with a burnout since these can be extremely draining for the body. Common physical symptoms of burnout include headaches, soreness of the body, trouble with digestion and sometimes even stomachaches. 
  • Emotional Exhaustion: Have you been feeling a sense of helplessness? An overwhelming feeling of helplessness and doubt can be one of the biggest signs of emotional exhaustion. If the prospect of working makes you feel drained and leaves you questioning your ability to cope with the workload, you’re probably approaching a point of burnout. Another sign of emotional exhaustion that could indicate a burnout is feeling like you don’t have the energy to complete your work or professional tasks.
  • Reduced Performance: Analyze your performance and determine if it has reduced recently. In fact, if you think that your motivation levels related to performance are lowered, that could also be a sign, even if the performance as such hasn’t gotten worse. One of the earliest signs of burnout is the effects that it has on your day to day tasks. So if you’re feeling under-motivated, but are still able to get that work presentation done, it still means you’re approaching a burnout. The inability to concentrate is one of the first things.
  • Alienation from Work: Is your work making you feel more stressed out than joyful? Do you suddenly find yourself looking forward to breaks and day end much more than before? Have you suddenly developed up a hateful feeling towards your job? That’s the biggest sign of burnout.


How to Handle a Burnout

  • Try doing something that relaxes you or relieves stress. Include it in your daily routine.
  • Make sure you get sufficient sleep since sleeping properly restores your mental faculties.
  • Try mindfulness. This is the act of focusing on your breathing and the thoughts in your mind in an objective manner.
  • On the work front, you can consider a change of profession altogether. Another option is to discuss options or ways to make things easier at your workplace. A frank conversation with your boss can help.

Remember to never let things get too far. Mental health is something that can always be helped and improved.