These Are the Signs of Burnout at Work

There's still time to prevent it.

December 22, 2015

Are you feeling burned out? If you are, chances are that you haven’t  had time to notice it. But don’t freak out. There’s probably still time to pull yourself back from the edge before things get really bad.

Here are the signs:

You feel dismissive or snarky about your office, the people you work with or the work itself

If you find yourself reacting badly to things that you’d normally brush off and you’re getting bitter about how the office functions, then you have one of the early signs of burnout.

It’s normal to be sarcastic when your boss uses unintelligible jargon and annoying buzzwords like “synergy,” but if it’s happening all the time that’s a sign of something more serious, according to a report in Psychology Today.

You’re tired all the time

You feel dog-tired from the moment you see the office in the distance. If the whole day feels like a slog and you just can’t seem to get into your groove, that’s another sign you might be getting burned out.

Procrastination

Everyone procrastinates sometimes. In fact, it’s actually good for you. But if you do it too much it can mean that you’re trying to run away from your work because its lost meaning.

Mysterious illnesses and chronic, high stress

If you’re always coming down with weird, hard-to-shake anxiety-related illnesses, that’s another sign that you’re getting burned out. If you recently started getting stomach aches, insomnia and headaches, that’s a sign that your body might be reacting to stress or bummed-out feelings about your job.

You realize you’ve never taken time off

If you’ve never taken a vacation from your job or have a bunch of leave time in the bank, that’s also a likely sign of burnout. Even if you think you feel fine, not taking breaks is a great way to crash and burn. And once that happens, it’ll take a lot more time off to get you back on track.

Ignoring your body’s needs

Skipping lunch and feeling sleep-deprived is a quick way to burn yourself out. Pounding coffee and Red Bulls is fine on occasion, but you can’t do that forever. It’s far easier to take some time each day to eat, work out and sleep that extra hour than it is to wake up one day and discover that you’re really sick.

Time to make a change

If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter, a psychologist for Psychology Today recommends that you leave work early on Friday and have a relaxing, work-free weekend. If you still feel the same way on Monday, it’s probably a sign that you’re really burned out and you need to make some lifestyle changes to prevent things from getting worse.

Here are some simple ways to start making things better:

Have creative outlets

These can be anything you enjoy. Do these past-times without putting pressure on yourself to have a perfect — or even a “good” outcome. So if you take up painting, for example, give yourself permission to look like a 5-year-old did it. This will help you remember what lights you up and inspire a sense of joy and possibility.

Get real with yourself

Take some time to sit and think about what your needs are – and be super honest with yourself. Go over, in the most basic terms, what you really value and what you want. This might involve therapy, long conversations with friends and family, or just sitting down in front of the mirror and having a long conversation with yourself.

Take care of yourself

This can mean different things to different people. It might mean taking that vacation or eating lunch regularly, like I mentioned above. Or it might mean going on a negativity diet. If you’ve been getting frustrated at work, there’s a likelihood that you’ve been doing a lot of negative talking in your head. Try to ease up on that. When angry phrases come up in your head, experiment with letting them go. Just drop them. Then replace them with the sentence, “I’m feeling bad about X right now, so I’m going to do X as a way to change what I don’t like.” That will remind you that the options and the power are yours.

Everyone gets burned out sometimes. Just remember, this isn’t about being perfect.

Good luck, you got this.


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Breena KerrBreena Kerr // The Hustle
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