5 Ways To Avoid Burnout at Work


Share on LinkedIn

Source: iamYiam

Burnout is a severe stress condition that leads to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It can affect anyone but there are a number of ways you can reduce the risk of suffering burnout at work.

Key Takeaways

> Burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion

> Symptoms of burnout include having a negative attitude at work, insomnia, having low energy and being emotionally distant from colleagues

> Burnout can lead to reduced productivity and can have a negative impact on your wellbeing and personal relationships

> You need to focus on long term strategies that can create lasting change to avoid burnout

What Is Burnout?

Burnout can take many forms. Common symptoms of burnout could be feeling physically exhausted at the end of the workday, being dissatisfied with your work, loss of personal happiness or feeling detachment form co-workers.

Burnout at your job is specific work-related chronic stress. It can be a combination of emotional and physical exhaustion and will often creep in subtly over time making it easy to miss.

Signs of burnout include insomnia, chronic fatigue, headaches, depression and more.

What Causes Burnout?

The causes of burnout can differ for each individual but there are common factors that can be identified as reasons behind burnout.

> A lack of work-life balance. An issue in the spotlight at the moment with more of us working from home. It can be difficult to see the cut off between your work life and your home life and if you are putting in a lot of effort at work, your home life can start to suffer.

> Feeling a lack of control. If you are finding it hard to make decisions about your workload or your schedule or perhaps are unsure about what is expected of you, it can lead to feelings of frustration.

> Poor culture. The moral and attitude of the people around you can have a big impact on your personal job satisfaction.

> Being over-engaged. Being highly engaged with your job can also have a negative impact. You might feel a constant need to overwork or be involved in projects outside your scope. This can lead to exhaustion and ultimately burnout.

Consequences of Burnout

Workplace burnout can have a big impact and lead to many negative consequences in all areas of your life. It can lead to physical health issues such as increased likelihood for heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. It can lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and irritability.

The consequences can be both personal and professional such as alcohol or substance abuse, anger towards family members, job dissatisfaction and inability to perform your job well.

Dealing With Burnout

If you are suffering with burnout at the moment it is important that you look to address this as quickly as possible. Seek help and support from friends, family, co-workers or wherever you can. Take regular breaks while you are at work to help you reset your emotions and if you feel yourself getting stressed then take a walk to clear your head.

Sometimes it can help to take a vacation to fully unplug from work but try to ensure you don’t fall back into the same habits when you return.

5 Ways To Avoid Burnout

The best way to deal with burnout is to try and prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are 5 simple ways you can change your approach to work to reduce the risk of burnout occurring.

1. Exercise. Working out, going for a run or any regular exercise can help recharge your brain and your enthusiasm. Exercise provides a natural high that can help reduce your stress levels and increase your concentration.

2. Be Mindful. Some activities can help avoid burnout in the short term but an ongoing focus on mindfulness can really help you learn to detach and recentre. Practicing meditation can help keep you fresh and sharp.

3. Sleep well. Healthy sleep habits are essential for your wellbeing. Try avoiding caffeine before bed and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine.

4. Change things up. Sitting in the same office staring at the same screen day after day is enough to get anyone a little stressed. Everything lives in the cloud these days so there is no reason that you can pick up your laptop and find a new environment for a few days. A change in environment can spark creativity and can help you bring a new energy to work.

5. Schedule some ‘me’ time. You will no doubt have a calendar full of meetings so why not block out some free time and make sure you stick to it. Giving yourself time for yourself, even if it is just 30 minutes a day, can help you return to work recharged and inspired. You could even take a nap. Who said naps just had to be for babies? A quick 20 minutes of shut eye can help you refresh the brain.


Maquet, Pierre, et al. “Be caught napping: you’re doing more than resting your eyes.” nature neuroscience 5.7 (2002): 618-619.

Ploughman, Michelle. “Exercise is brain food: the effects of physical activity on cognitive function.” Developmental neurorehabilitation 11.3 (2008): 236-240.

Cherniss, Cary. “Long‐term consequences of burnout: An exploratory study.” Journal of Organizational behavior 13.1 (1992): 1-11.

Burke, Ronald J., Esther R. Greenglass, and Ralf Schwarzer. “Predicting teacher burnout over time: Effects of work stress, social support, and self-doubts on burnout and its consequences.” Anxiety, stress, and coping 9.3 (1996): 261-275.

Martin Powton
I have over 13 years' experience in digital marketing and am interested in all areas of marketing, customer experience and employee wellbeing.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here