How to Overcome Feeling Burnt Out at Work


There are many ways to describe burnout but it usually refers to a situation when you find yourself exhausted, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. You may also feel a lack of motivation and overwhelmed by even the simplest of tasks.

Most of us have gone through some of these symptoms without going to the bottom of the burnout barrel, which usually means medical intervention or even hospitalization.

The first step in preventing burnout from taking over your life is to know the signs of burnout. The second is dealing with these symptoms before they develop into real medical problems.

The long list of burnout signs, according to Forbe’s magazine, are: exhaustion, lack of motivation, negative emotions, cognitive problems, poor job performance, interpersonal problems, lack of self-care, preoccupation with work, general dissatisfaction, and health problems.

Just because you have some, or even all of these symptoms, doesn’t mean you are on the way to burnout. But if they appear in combination with each other and persist for any period of time, you should consider job burnout as a possible cause.

This is particularly true when dissatisfaction at work creeps over into your personal life, or if you find it hard to get enough motivation to get to work on time in the morning.

So what can you do about burnout? Lots

Get Enough Sleep

If you are burning out, you may always feel tired and have a constant, nagging sense of never being able to get enough sleep. This may come in the form of insomnia, or hyposomnia, which means wanting to sleep all the time.

The solution is to develop a healthy sleep pattern in which you mentally get ready for sleep by winding down and you have a comfortable place to sleep.

Deal With Your Issues

We all have issues in our lives, at home and at work. You have to find a way to deal with any issues in your home life, because they will eventually follow you to work.

If you have issues that bother you at work you have to deal with them. The longer you leave problems unresolved the more they fester like sores and the more they will affect you and your work performance.

Develop Healthy Boundaries

Too many of us have become depositories for other people’s problems and issues. If you want to be healthy and resist burnout then you have to re-learn an important word: “no.”

Having healthy boundaries is not being selfish, it is being sane. Give work what it is due and not what it demands from you. Be at work fully and 100% when you are there. When you turn off the office lights, turn off your work brain too.

Focus on Your Health

It is important to remind ourselves on regularly, before we get sick, that we are responsible for our own health and wellness. The number one, best way to prevent burnout from happening in the first place is to take care of your own physical, mental and emotional health.

This should include a program of self-care that promotes healthy eating, sleeping and daily exercise. You should have social and recreational activities that suit your lifestyle and abilities. And you should find ways that you can relax without abusing alcohol or using drugs or tobacco.

Rekindle Your Passion

The final way to avoid burnout is to stay passionate about life, especially about your work and career. If you are not happy in your current job then start looking around for another one. You don’t have to quit right away, just open your mind to the possibility and see what’s out there. You may even consider a transfer to another department.

Maybe you can find a way to recharge your batteries by taking a sabbatical or leave from work. Sometimes a little time away will make you realize that you haven’t got it so bad, and that you actually like what you’re doing. If you want to avoid burnout you have to find a way to rekindle your passion.


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Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of Change the Things You Can (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit: Change the Things You Can

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