burnout in the workplace.
Updated: Jun 25
There’s a significant difference between working hard and overworking.
It’s good to work hard for your goals or at your job, it’s healthy to have targets to aim for in life as it serves as a motivator to keep going. But, when overworking consumes our time and energy, burnout is inevitable.
what is burnout?
Burnout is a syndrome which results from stress that hasn’t been managed properly or addressed. Stress is a common occurrence, a regular emotion that we face daily, but the difference lies between managing that stress or ignoring the stress and letting it stack up like a pile of unopened mail.
The best way to imagine how the brain processes stress is to envision a ‘stress bucket’ which collects different kinds of stresses throughout the day. These stresses can be released through physical exercise or dedicating time for escapism, like taking out a plug to release water from an overflowing sink. But, when these stressors aren’t dealt with or aren’t released, they begin to overflow our ‘stress bucket’, leaving us overwhelmed and exhausted. For the sake of our mental wellbeing, it matters that we build healthy habits for releasing and managing stress.
signs of burnout.
Perhaps this article is the first time you’ve come across the term ‘Burnout’, so what exactly are the signs? According to This is Calmer, these may be some of the general signs to look out for:
Demotivation and detachment from your work or hobbies
Depleted energy levels
Detachment in personal relationships
Lower resistance to illness
Pessimistic outlook on work or life
Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion
If you think you may be experiencing signs of burnout, it’s important that you take some time to care for your needs and recognise them. Self-care is more than just long soaks in bubble baths and refreshing face masks, it is often addressing and acknowledging what you need in that moment.
3 important ways to care for yourself.
1. Make time for escapism
Whether it’s delving into the latest craze of ‘Bridgerton’, immersing yourself in a fictional world or getting out for some exercise, escapism is a fundamental need for each individual. Escapism holds a different meaning for everybody and so it’s important that you make time to do the things that help you relax and forget any worries for a couple of hours. More often than not, emotions are temporary and so when participating in an activity that enables you to forget your troubles, you will find that you are able to bounce back from self-doubting, questionable thoughts.
2. Don’t be afraid to talk about it with a trusted person
When we bottle up thoughts and feelings they can easily grow to be a mountain that we feel we have to face on our own. Bottling up your emotions isn’t an act of bravery, it’s an act that causes more damage to yourself than unbottling. It is through unscrewing the lid and talking it all out that we can start the healing process. It is also a way of rationalising what’s circling in your head and cutting the vicious cycle. Reach out to a friend or family member to talk it through with them.
3. Take a break
When we reach burnout point, it’s crucial that we actually take time away from the source of burnout. This isn’t to be confused with giving up. There is a clear difference between taking a break and giving up. Taking a break guarantees you can return to work, a project or school with a clear and focused head. Giving up is often what results from trying to work through burnout without taking time away from it all. You have time, so take a couple of days off. Take an actual break from it. Future you will thank yourself for it!
If you are concerned about any of your symptoms and want to seek medical help, please do contact your GP.
Samaritans - 116 123
Anxiety UK - 03444 775 774 (helpline)
07537 416 905 (text)
YoungMinds - 85258 (crisis messenger service, text YM)