Job Burnout and How to Get Unstuck at Work

It takes realizing that you’re not a machine, you’re a human. And it’s ok for humans to have an inbox full of emails you forget to reply to, miss a few deadlines. Learn how to deal with job burnout and bring purpose back to your job.

If you are facing a case of blues all week long and not only on Mondays, it is time to reconsider your working schedule. If you dread the thought of another workday and cannot drum up any enthusiasm for your job, meetings bore you to tears, and you have no interest in the proceedings or any inclination to contribute to the discussion, then it is time to reconnaissance and take a breather.

Burnout has been recognized by the World Health Organization in its international classification of diseases as a widespread “occupational phenomenon” characterized by feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;  increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy, depletion or exhaustion, negative feelings or cynicism about one’s job, and reduced effectiveness at work. It is yet to be recognized as a medical condition by WHO.

The job burnout phenomenon is more prevalent in the present generation of workers than the older one as the work-life balance has become more skewed with the advent of digital technology, which blurs the line between and home life and work.

Job Burnout – Signs you have reached the point of burnout

In a survey of more than 2000 people between the ages of 23 and 38 on how burnout affects them in the workplace, 96 per cent revealed that they had undergone some kind of workplace burn out.

53 per cent said they had missed work due to work stress and burnout. Recently, a Gallup study of around 7,500 full-time workers found that 23% were often in “burnout mode.” And about 44 per cent “sometimes” entered a burnout mode.

Job burnout is a serious medical condition that can lead to depression and stroke. If you are already feeling fatigued and exhausted at/after work, you’ may be exhibiting burnout symptoms. Read on to spot if you are burned out.

Signs of job burnout at work

Signs of Burnout at Work


1. You are tired of feeling sick and tired.

You suffer from low energy and exhaustion throughout the day. You feel psychologically weak and cannot drum up enthusiasm for any task.

2. Tasks take longer to finish.

Your mind takes longer to process things and execute decisions. A small job that took you an hour takes a whole day to finish.

3. Feeling of inadequacy.

You think that you cannot achieve anything and will not be able to do it well. The more you worry about this inability to handle things, the less you are able to complete a task, and it becomes a vicious cycle.

4. Simple instructions overwhelm you.

If your manager asks you to finish anything in a given time frame, you are unable to do it, and you get worried and panic about keeping time.

5. Bouts of procrastination.

There are small periods when you indulge in frenetic activity but are unable to achieve anything concrete. Or you procrastinate.

If you are undergoing any of the above-stated symptoms, it is time you took time off from this stress.

So how do you handle this burned-out state?

The first step is to acknowledge that you have reached the tipping point of your work capacity reserves and need to disconnect. Here’s how to deal with a case of job burnout.

How to handle job burnout?1. Share the burden

Talk to people about your experience and ask for help. Workplaces now acknowledge the phenomenon and are more open towards it. Workplace HR can help by reducing your work burden, responding with positive feedback, and allowing you flexitime to work it out.

2. Take a vacation

Allow some me time and take a vacation. An environment away from work worries refuels the cells in the body.

3. Find a relaxing hobby

It can be exercising, going for runs or joining a yoga class. Getting the feel-good hormones going will suffuse the body with better energy.

4. Set boundaries at the workplace

It is good to be competitive and pushy but not at the risk of your health. Learn to say no to work you cannot handle. It will not reflect poorly on you. On the contrary, taking up only that much work which you can handle produces better results. Too much work burden results in a hurried job and mistakes.

Organization’s role in burnout

Systems should be in place to encourage employee well-being. Encourage employees to take vacations. Allow a flex-time schedule when workers report some emergency or home commitments.

“At an organizational level, one top tip is for the business to accept that burnout happens and that a culture that fosters well-being and good mental health is a must-have. A foundation building block is to conduct regular stress risk assessments (and act on the output),” advised Kat Hounsell, mental health and well-being coach who runs and organization, Everyday people. A happy culture at the workplace where the workers are contented and satisfied is essential.

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Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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