Workplace Burnout: Recognising the Signs and Taking Action

In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environments, burnout has become a prevalent issue affecting employees across industries. Burnout is more than just feeling tired or stressed; it’s a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged or excessive stress. Recognizing the signs of burnout is crucial for preventing further harm and taking proactive steps to address it. Here’s what you need to know about workplace burnout and how to spot the symptoms:

What is Workplace Burnout?

Workplace burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment from work, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. It can result from a variety of factors, including high workload, lack of control over work, unclear job expectations, and dysfunctional work dynamics.

Common Symptoms of Workplace Burnout

  1. Physical Symptoms: Chronic fatigue, insomnia, headaches, muscle tension, and stomach problems.
  2. Emotional Symptoms: Feelings of emptiness, detachment, irritability, and a sense of being overwhelmed.
  3. Cognitive Symptoms: Difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and a negative outlook on work and life.
  4. Behavioural Symptoms: Withdrawal from responsibilities, increased use of alcohol or drugs, and changes in eating habits.

How to Spot the Symptoms

  1. Monitor Your Physical Health: Pay attention to any changes in your physical well-being, such as increased fatigue or frequent headaches.
  2. Check Your Emotions: Notice if you’re feeling more cynical, detached, or irritable than usual.
  3. Assess Your Cognitive Function: Keep track of any changes in your ability to concentrate or remember things.
  4. Observe Your Behaviour: Be aware of any changes in your work habits or social interactions.

What to Do if You Suspect Burnout

  1. Talk to Your Manager or HR: Discuss your concerns and explore possible solutions, such as workload adjustments or additional support.
  2. Seek Support: Consider talking to a counsellor or therapist to help you cope with stress and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
  3. Practice Self-Care: Prioritise activities that promote relaxation and well-being, such as exercise, meditation, and spending time with loved ones.
  4. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life to prevent burnout from recurring.


Workplace burnout is a serious issue that can have long-term consequences on your health and well-being. By being aware of the symptoms and taking proactive steps to address them, you can protect yourself from burnout and cultivate a healthier work-life balance. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help and take care of yourself. Your well-being is worth prioritising.

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