How to Prevent Job Burnout

Stress is a big part of life, but when work stress starts to take over the rest of our life then it's time to treat job burnout and learn how to prevent job burnout in the future.

65% of employees experience workplace stress that causes issues in their personal and professional lives. Over 10% of these cases said that this burnout stress was actually causing major issues in their lives.

In the article below we're going to go over what burnout is, how you can prevent it from happening, and how to treat burnout if you're already in the thick of it. 

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What is Job Burnout?

Burnout is a form of mental and physical exhaustion and is caused by prolonged exposure to excessive stress.  In fact, 85% of employees with burnout state they felt drained of physical or emotional energy.

Workplace burnout most often occurs when you are overwhelmed or when you are doing the same thing on repeat and you've reached your limit. 

Even if you like the task, if you are doing the same thing over and over again then you might start feeling unable to get any joy out of it anymore. It might feel like everything has become painfully boring. Burnout is when you've reached your max stress levels and need a serious break from it all. 

Anyone can experience burnout. You don't have to be a busy doctor or cop in order to be stressed enough to experience burnout. Burnout can also be experienced by parents or students who feel overworked and have gone too long without a break. 

a person burned out at work

What Causes Burnout?

Burnout is mostly caused by stress or becoming overworked. 

It can also occur from too much repetition in your everyday life. You might experience burnout if you have a very repetitive job, even if that job isn't very strenuous. 

Sometimes you can experience acute burnout after a spurt of productivity. You work yourself too hard over a short period of time. This overexerts yourself in the same way you might overexert yourself if you suddenly decide to run 5 miles when you've never run a day in your life. 

But mostly, burnout occurs when you aren't taking care of yourself, when you're working on the weekends, not giving yourself your own down time or your own life outside of work. 

How to Spot Burnout

If you're wondering if you, or someone you know, is suffering from burnout, take a look at this list. Here are a couple of common burnout symptoms that you can recognize: 

  • Don't want to get out of bed in the morning 
  • Feel tired without doing physical activity  
  • Want to sleep more than 8 hours  
  • Want to be alone  
  • Dream about a vacation
  • Irritable  
  • Low immune system
  • Feel empty inside  
  • Depressed
  • Painfully bored  
  • Find yourself becoming more cynical
  • More critical of your work  
  • Impatient
  • Hard to focus  
  • Headaches, upset stomach, and other aches and pains in the body  
  • Irregular appetite, whether you're more hungry than usual or experience a loss of appetite  
  • Anxious, worrying  
  • Lose interest in things  
  • Lose your motivation, your drive  
  • Feel emotionally or physically drained
  • Have negative thoughts about your job
  • Feel underappreciated at work
person with a cloud above him going to work graphic

But the most common symptom of burnout is feeling physically or emotionally drained. You might also feel both physically and emotionally drained at the same time. Those who suffer from burnout feel an intense fatigue and desire for rest and change. 

How to Prevent Burnout

We've already established that burnout is no fun, so how can we prevent burnout from happening in the first place? Here are the ways you can prevent burnout before it becomes a problem. 

  • Exercise  
  • Eat right  
  • Get quality sleep  
  • Have both physical and creative outlets  
  • Build a support network for yourself  
  • Keep positivity in your life, through funny shows, fun people, or fun times
  • Go on one long vacation each year  
  • Go on a short weekend vacation once every quarter
  • Recharge throughout the day, take breaks from work and from your screen throughout the day
  • Incorporate recharging routines and rituals through the week, like yoga, 5 minutes of meditation, or a long warm bath
  • Socialize  
  • Set boundaries, learn to respectfully decline, and learn what your breaking points are
  • Don't overextend yourself, know how much work you can and can't take on
  • Schedule personal time into your calendar each day  
  • Change your environment, spend some time outside each day, or go to a lookout point 
  • Find variance in the work you do at work

The key to preventing workplace burnout, is to take good care of yourself. It can be easy to forget yourself and give everything to your job, but you won't be able to give your best at work if you start suffering from severe burnout. 

Take time each day to think about yourself and make your personal life just as rich and fulfilling as your work life. Go on regular vacations to get away from your everyday life and help reset your brain to keep giving your best when you get back. 

A woman meditating

How to Treat Burnout

You may be reading this article because you already have burnout and want to know how to fix it and get life back to normal again. First of all, if you're already suffering from burnout, it helps to talk to your therapist, or a friend or family member, so that you can be heard and feel their love and support. 

There are also a few other things you can do to treat your workplace burnout and get back on track again. 

Take Back Control

Many of the people who suffer from burnout feel like they don't have enough control of their own life. So gain back control of your life somehow. Maybe you need to talk to your boss about your workload and have more of a say in how much you take on. Or maybe you need to take back control of your home or desk space by organizing and getting rid of the clutter that is subconsciously overwhelming you. 

Change Things Up

Sometimes a routine is really nice and other times the routine can really get us down. Make a change to help diversify your life. Change something in your morning or evening routine, or do something you've never done before this weekend. 

Take a Real Break

Some of us feel the need to always be busy and productive. But there is virtue in sometimes doing nothing at all. Take some time to do nothing but relax, take a nap, or write in a journal. 

a women napping

Fix Your Work-Life Balance

Get a healthy work-life balance into your life again. You might need to talk to your boss about your workload, about problems with the culture at work, or about your schedule, so that you can dedicate a healthier amount of time to your personal life. 

Plan a Vacation! 

Sometimes the best cure for burnout is going on a real vacation. You might even just need one long weekend to feel better again. Plan a getaway for yourself and take a few days off. You'll come back from your trip feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back into the swing of things after taking a real step back from it all.