What to Know About Work Burnout

What to Know About Work Burnout

January 31, 2022

Work burnout affects all of us at one point or another. A recent Indeed study found that “more than half (52%) of respondents are feeling burned out, and more than two-thirds (67%) believe the feeling has worsened over the course of the pandemic.” Some of the classic signs of burnout include exhaustion, lack of motivation, inability to stay focused, and irritability. Here are some additional insights about burnout you may find interesting and some actionable steps on how to deal with it.

Burnout is different than stress

Stress and burnout may sound like the same thing, but they have different characteristics. Stress is brought on by a certain circumstance and only lasts for a short duration. Burnout is the feeling of being overwhelmed for a long period of time and feeling like you're never able to take a break and recharge. Psychology Today says that “under stress, you still struggle to cope with pressures. But once burnout takes hold, you’re out of gas and you’ve given up all hope of surmounting your obstacles. When you’re suffering from burnout, it’s more than just fatigue.” Work stress will come and go, but burnout is something you can’t easily shake.

Burnout can affect even those that love their jobs

Interestingly, in an article on Thrive Global, they found that “employees driven by purpose are significantly more stressed compared to those who aren’t”. Those that are trying to do their best work and are passionate about their job and company mission try to give their all even at the possible detriment of their wellbeing. If you find yourself burning the candle at both ends, exhausted and feeling burnout, this can be a sign you need to take care of yourself first. See if you can delegate some of your workload or talk to your manager about creating a better work-life balance and more manageable work schedule.

Burnout can affect everyone on the team

Burnout tends not to be an individual issue but usually affects the team as a whole. In the same Thrive Global article, they explain that “studies on doctors and nurses demonstrate that when one person in a work environment is experiencing emotional exhaustion and burnout, more of their colleagues are likely to experience burnout, too.” Burnout it seems is contagious, but the flip side is that when one person starts to create a better work-life balance others follow suit. Lead by example and take a lunch break away from your desk, be diligent about setting boundaries and not working off-hours; manage others’ expectations and your schedule realistically so you’re not having to work around the clock. Be the spark in your office culture to inspire others to make their work-life balance a priority. 

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