Career burnout can happen to anyone, and it’s becoming an increasingly prevalent problem in the United States due to the high demands of people’s jobs. People are being overworked, getting more stressed out, and are unable to turn work off, even after they’ve left the office.
Over time, these issues will continue to grow and may eventually lead to burnout. Burnout happens in all career fields and has negative health effects on the person suffering. If burnout isn’t dealt with, it often leads to a need for a career change.
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However, there are ways to avoid and overcome burnout. It’s important to catch burnout in the early stages before it gets out of hand.
Here are 8 common symptoms of burnout that you should watch out for.
Lack of Motivation
Adopting a lack of motivation is one of the biggest signs of burnout, especially if you’re normally hard-working and determined to go above and beyond. When someone is burning out, they feel so overwhelmed that they just start to mentally shut down. When this happens, people will lose motivation and be unable to focus on their work as they used to.
Cynicism Towards the Job
When you are experiencing burnout, you will often have negative thoughts and feelings about your job. You will feel as though you’re not making any difference, or that all the work you’re doing isn’t helping anyone. This is a big reason people start feeling unmotivated. They simply don’t see the point in trying anymore.
Inability to Focus on Work
Even the smallest amounts of stress can contribute to cognition problems such as the inability to focus or concentrate. People experiencing burnout have extremely high levels of stress that they are unable to deal with, leading to even worse cognitive issues. If you are finding it increasingly difficult to focus on your work throughout the day, you may be experiencing the beginning stages of burnout.
It’s normal to feel tired after a long day at work, but if you feel exhausted the minute you start working, there’s a good chance you’re burning out. Burnout doesn’t occur until you’ve reached peak levels of stress. This stress will constantly be with you, making you both physically and mentally exhausted. Even the smallest task at work can take up all of your energy when you’re burned out.
Poor Job Performance
It’s easy to understand how someone experiencing burnout can start slacking on the job when you consider the cognitive symptoms we’ve already discussed. When your job performance starts to slip, this is tangible evidence that something isn’t quite right. This should be a wake-up call that it’s time to start making changes if you hope to keep your job.
Interpersonal Issues Outside of Work
If you start experiencing abnormal symptoms even when you’re at home, this is a major sign you are experiencing burnout. Frustration, cynicism, exhaustion and inability to focus can all pour over into your home life and affect your personal relationships. Your work has become so overwhelming that you can no longer leave it at the office, and you’re now suffering the consequences at home.
Mental Health Problems
When burnout becomes extreme, people can start to experience serious mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. This occurs because you are so overwhelmed with your job and do not see things getting better in the future. You start to feel very hopeless which leads to serious depression and issues with anxiety.
Using Negative Coping Mechanisms
It can be difficult to know how to deal with burnout, and most people don’t have the luxury to simply quit their job and make a career change. This means people are forced to stay at their job that is mentally draining them, leading them to start coping in destructive ways. This includes drinking alcohol after work, using prescription or illicit drugs, or anything else that can temporarily ease the pain of burnout.
How to Deal With Burnout?
Most people don’t understand the mental and physical health problems that are associated with burnout. As burnout becomes worse, it becomes more and more difficult to overcome. However, there are effective ways to avoid and overcome burnout if you’re determined enough.
Catch it Early
Burnout can be easy to ignore in the early stages. It may only affect you at certain times, so you can easily push it aside and continue working. However, if you don’t deal with the burnout it can quickly grow into a serious problem. When you notice any of the signs of burnout, you should acknowledge them and start using positive coping mechanisms to overcome the feelings of burnout.
Don’t Add Fuel to the Flame
If you are already overwhelmed with your current workload, don’t say yes to new assignments until you feel ready for them. Let your boss know that you are overwhelmed and starting to feel burned out, so they know why you aren’t able to take on new tasks. If you are already being overworked, the worst thing you can do is add even more work to your towering pile of responsibility.
Burnout occurs when people have chronic and severe stress that they are unable to cope with. If you are able to cope and release this stress, you can avoid burnout. The best way to deal with stress is by practicing mindfulness. This technique helps one to live in the moment, and only focus on what is currently happening. By living in the moment and being mindful of the present, people can avoid worrying about future issues and avoid high levels of stress.
Treat Yourself at Home
People often experience burnout when they feel their life is completely consumed by their job. You need to avoid this by giving yourself time every day at home to relax and do something for yourself. This can be anything that brings you joy and peace. Take a bath, read a book, or eat a nice meal. These are positive ways you can feel satisfied outside of your work and it also gives you something to look forward to each day.
Avoid Negative People
Negativity breeds negativity. If you’re surrounded by people who constantly complain, you’ll find yourself stuck in negative thinking patterns that can lead to burnout at work and other health issues. Try to surround yourself with positive, happy people who inspire you to have an optimistic outlook on life. In those times you are forced to be around negative people, try to make note of their negativity so you are aware of it and can avoid adopting those behaviors.
By taking control of yourself and your circumstances, you can avoid or overcome burnout and be happy in your career again. It’s never too late to change your behavior in a way that serves you and your overall mental health.
Haley is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in mental health counseling and hopes to become a mental health therapist. She enjoys writing, traveling, holistic health, and learning new things. You can follow her on Instagram & Facebook