10 signs of burnout at work you need to take seriously

“I’m feeling a burnout”! These words have become way too common in office environments, more so in the post-pandemic world. Typically, burnout is a term used to describe a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It may be a result of long-term stress in your career, or prolonged working in a physically or emotionally draining role. However, it is worth noting that ‘burnout’ is not merely a by-product of work-related pressures. It can happen because you may be unable to keep pace with the demands of various aspects of your life. A burnout may be different for different people.

According to UK-based psychologist Dr. Lalitaa Suglani, people can feel burnt out when stress leaves them feeling lost, depressed, and fully exhausted.

In an Instagram post, she highlighted some burnout warning signs that people should be aware of. She cites the World Health Organization (WHO) in sharing that 1 in 4 adults will be affected by burnout at some point in life.

In fact, WHO recently included burnout in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), describing it as ‘chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’.

Its three main areas of symptoms include lack of energy and exhaustion, feeling detached, negative or cynical about one’s job, and reduced work performance.

Stress and burnout
Don’t let stress crumble you. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

10 signs of burnout you should be aware of:

1. Compassion fatigue

Compassion fatigue refers to the negative effects of fatigue on one’s body, mind and spirit frequently, as a result of stress or traumatic events. It’s a unique feeling that may be triggered by a demanding job or environment, lack of resources or working long hours.

2. Feeling deeply dissatisfied

You may frequently have a loss of self-confidence during burnout, and the thought “Am I good enough?” will constantly cross your mind. Feeling deeply dissatisfied is also a sign of burnout.

3. Fatigue, brain fog or lack of focus

Confusion, forgetfulness and a loss of concentration and mental clarity are indicators of brain fog. Overworking, insufficient sleep, stress and excessive internet use can all lead to this. Burnout often makes it difficult for you to concentrate on your work and you’ll feel more fatigued.

4. Making careless mistakes

Careless mistakes at work can include forgetting what needs to be done or the deadline. These mistakes can often bring you in a risky situation. If you think you’re frequently doing some careless mistakes that you don’t notice, it can also be a sign of burnout.

5. Increased cynicism

Cynicism is the perception that something won’t turn out well, or inspires mistrust. Cynicism is a convenient escape when we lack the mental tools to deal with a situation. It’s not surprising that cynicism is a key component of burnout because it’s much simpler to be pessimistic than to mobilize and make a difference when under constant stress.

Also read: On the verge of burnout? An expert tells you how to stay cool

Are you being a pessimist
Are you being a pessimist? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Lack of energy and motivation

No matter how well you perform that particular task, you won’t be able to match your level of excellence. This can be due to lack of motivation in you and feeling of unworthiness.

7. Reduced tolerance to other people’s behaviour

During burnout, you will feel more frustrated and small things would make you irritated. By misinterpreting another person’s words or actions, you’ll feel angry and let down. This may make you aggressive and aggression can never be good.

8. Sleep problems

Burnout frequently affects your sleep cycle, either making it difficult for you to fall asleep or make you sleep in excess. Both can be bad for physical and mental health. It is therefore preferable to get at least 7 hours of sleep.

9. Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated

You can feel trapped in your life where you don’t have time for yourself. This can make you anxious at times and would make you less productive. Feeling helpless, trapped and defeated is a big warning signal for those who are going through burnout.

Burnout signs
Loneliness may be a sign of burnout. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

10. Detachment or feeling alone in the world

Burnout can make you feel that you’re alone and nobody’s there to support you. This feeling of loneliness can go only if you talk to more people and try socializing. Detachment is never an easy task, thus if you feel detached with the people you love, you should try talking to them and communicate what you feel.

The main signs of burnout are all of the aforementioned things. If you see them in yourself, it’s best to work on them or seek therapy right away because burnout needs to be treated as soon as possible.

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