Occupational burnout is a type of psychological stress. Employees who are burned out feel exhausted and worn out by their jobs, and burnout leads to employees being disengaged and unproductive at work. Jobs that come with high levels of stress and few rewards are prime candidates for burnout. However, even if your job is relatively rewarding and free of extreme stress, it doesn’t mean that you are immune from burnout. We’ve compiled a list of the warning signs of burnout as well as some tips for preventing it.
- Absenteeism – Burnout can cause you to call in sick on a regular basis, even when you aren’t ill.
- Isolation from Coworkers – Have you noticed yourself pulling away from your coworkers and staying secluded? An unusual level of isolation is another warning sign to watch.
- Overreaction – Do even little irritations send you over the edge? Burnout often leads to extreme responses to everyday situations, which may show up as overreaction or extreme apathy.
- General Exhaustion – Burnout makes you feel drained and exhausted. This exhaustion can be both physical and mental.
- Extreme or Irrational Thinking – Thinking in absolutes (e.g. “Nothing I do matters” or “None of this will make any difference”) is a common sign of burnout.
- Repeatedly Making Mistakes – We all make mistakes from time to time, but employees who are burned out often make the same mistakes over and over again, even when they’re aware of the error.
- Diminished Passion or Low Innovation – Remember when you first started your job and loved coming into work or were constantly looking for new ways to do things? Employees who lose that passion for their work are on the road to burnout.
- Pointing Fingers – Do you find yourself constantly blaming others for your mistakes? If you do, then it’s time to reevaluate your job—and work on your ability to be accountable for your own mistakes.
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- Do a “job audit” – Ask yourself what drew you to your job in the first place. Evaluate the best parts of your job, what you like and dislike about your role or employer, and what you see yourself doing in the future. Then, create a plan to get there.
- Exercise – Try working out for a short stint first thing in the morning. Working out has been shown to improve your career, as well as your health.
- Take a stress-management class – Stress can quickly kill morale and motivation on the job. Learning how to manage stress in a healthy way can help prevent you from impulsively quitting your job.
- Recharge your batteries – It might be time to take a few days off to decompress. Turn off your phone, forward your email, and give yourself some room to breathe.
- Establish professional goals – To help motivate you in your career, set some personal goals. Try to learn a new skill or reach a new personal record. Make your goals things you’ll feel proud of achieving and worthy of celebration.
- Break your responsibilities into manageable chunks – It might be time to break down your projects and assignments into bite-size portions. Give yourself smaller tasks that are easier to accomplish rather than large tasks that can be overwhelming.
- Talk it out – Don’t be afraid to approach your boss and let him or her know that you’re feeling burned out. Some companies have employee-assistance programs that are designed to help with this exact problem.
- Evaluate your diet – Studies have shown that burnout can be affected by your diet. If you’re feeling burned out, try mixing up your diet and eating a bit healthier.