What are Some of the Top Signs of Burnout at Work?

top signs of burnout at work

If you feel stressed out and are struggling to stay on task during work, you may be close to work burnout or could be experiencing full blown work burnout. 

Work burnout is not uncommon. In fact, many people struggle with workplace stress and end up burning themselves out. Others work a multitude of jobs or mentally and physically demanding jobs at which they eventually succumb to some sort of burnout.

Take the healthcare professional right now for instance. Not only are they trying to deal with there everyday run of the mill sick people, but now there is a worldwide pandemic and the stressors from COVID-19.  

Nurses and medical staff are seeing a whole new type of infectious process that they have to deal with on a daily basis. On top of that, fearing for there own well-being and safety as just recently we have started to vaccinate them.

On top of all of that, they are working overtime, longer rotations (then the already long 12-hr shifts), experiencing unit and hospital shortages due to staff going out with COVID themselves. It's a real struggle!

In this post, we'll be going over the top signs of burnout at work. Knowing these signs will help you stay aware, and prevent you from pushing yourself too far in the workplace, if possible.

In truth, burnout may not only have consequences for your career, but also your overall health. The symptoms of work burnout can affect your mental well-being and your physical health. You'll want to identify these symptoms and address them sooner, rather then later!

Learn how to manage and deal with stress in the workplace, for it's up to you to improve your health!

What is Burnout?

what is work burnout

Before we talk about the signs of burnout, let’s define what burnout at work is. Burnout is a relatively new term, 1970's and is not an actual diagnoses. 

However even the Word Health Organization (WHO), states it as an occupational phenomenon and it's included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Disease (ICD-11). Many experts define it as a loss of motivation and energy that results in a failure to achieve your work goals.

In addition, people with burnout typically experience exhaustion, diminished working skills/capacity, and negative thinking patterns. These three signs usually appear with work burnout, but other signs become evident, as well. We'll talk more about those signs in the next section.

On the whole, when discussing work burnout (in the short term) is usually not critical to our health and job. However, if this condition progresses for long periods of time, it can be damaging to your health, well-being, and job status.


Top Signs You Are Burned Out From Work:


1. It’s Hard For You to go to Work in The Morning

hard to wake up in the morning

One of the biggest signs of work burnout is difficulty getting to your job. Someone who has trouble getting to work could experience a host of challenges during the morning. You might have a hard time waking up when your alarm clock rings. You could also have trouble doing simple tasks like brushing your teeth, getting dressed, or preparing breakfast.

In short, mornings are a challenge and you might even dread going to your job. This is pretty typical for people with work burnout. In fact, you might think about how much you don’t want to go to your job the whole time you are preparing to leave.

As a result, your mornings become a source of frustration. You might even end up getting to work late as you ruminate over how much you don’t want to work. You may start experience or wanting to call-out more then usual. 

It then becomes even more vital for you to get this under control, whether that be with relaxation techniques or other physical or mental preparation, and interventions!

2. You Have Trouble Concentrating on Work-Related Tasks

having trouble completing tasks

Workplace burnout does not stop once you go to work, though. Typically, people with burnout will experience their burnout most intensely at the place they are employed. At work, you will probably have a hard time concentrating on work related tasks. Instead of doing your work, you might look at your watch or phone to check the time, and likely worry more about when your shift is done then the tasks before you!

You may find yourself overly stressed out and frustrated with your job, even on a not so busy day. You will likely have issues concentrating on even small tasks, from answering emails to following ordinary instructions from a boss. This can lead to further frustration until it starts to spin out of control even further, effecting your health.

Again, more signs it's time to take a step back. Maybe try your hand in alternative stress reducing techniques, like yoga, massage, and/or meditation. Try alternative medicine like aromatherapy or essential oils. The goal is to try and knock you out of this rhythm, so you can find a way of coping better.


3. You Feel Sickly or Low Energy Most Days

low energy at work

Having work burnout is exhausting. Thinking about how much you hate your job or how much you don’t want to work tomorrow is draining. When someone hates their job or is really stressed out by it, this takes up a lot of time and mental energy. So, it becomes harder and harder to stay upbeat and feel healthy.

Burnout often leads to more stress, and this can cause you to feel weak and sick. Stress is not just a mental force, though. Stress releases potent chemicals in the bloodstream. When you're stressed out for days on end, your body starts to break down and fatigue more easily.

So, it is likely that you will feel sickly or low energy most days of the week when you are burned out. On your days off you may find yourself exhausted as well, sleeping in and then even having difficulty getting things done you would normally do on days off, leading to more stress. It's a viscous cycle. 

The first step is to recognize it, then try and manage workplace burnout symptoms.


4. You Experience Emotional Exhaustion

emotional exhaustion at work

Exhaustion from burnout is not just physical, it can also be experienced emotionally. At work and at home, you might feel emotionally exhausted and empty and because burnout leaves you tired, you might be unable to cope with life circumstances.

Relationships at home and at work might suffer. For instance, your temper could be shorter and you might get angry at coworkers and family members. In addition, your ability to experience happiness and pleasure will diminish during burnout. In short, it is harder to experience normal and healthy emotional states.

This is just another reason it's imperative you cope and manage these stressors at work in whatever ways your can!

5. You Are Not Getting Along With Co-Workers

have trouble getting along with co-workers

Another burnout indicator is related to the last sign, when you are emotionally and physically exhausted, your ability to be friendly and connect with co-workers won’t be as strong. With less of an ability to control your emotions, it is easier to get annoyed with your peers and isolate yourself.

People in your office might not realize that you are burned out. Even if they do know that you are struggling at work, they might not be happy with your new attitude. In fact, some of your fellow workers might get mad, especially if they have had to pick up your slack.

So, if you notice that you're not getting along with your co-workers, as well, consider taking a step back. You could be experiencing work burnout.


6. You Aren’t Working to The Same Standards

your standards of work decline

This next sign is one of the most obvious signs of work burnout. When you aren’t motivated to work and don’t want to be at your workplace, the quality of your work will suffer. This is just inevitable with any type of burnout.

People who are exhausted and tired of their job just won’t perform to the same standards as people who are excited and happy to be at work.

So, if you notice a big drop off in the quality of your work, there could be something wrong. Again, low quality work is one of the easiest ways to spot your own burnout, even if you don’t notice this sign yourself, someone is likely to let you know that you are not performing well in your job. 

One survey of 1,000 US professionals found that 9/10 of those professionals stated stress negatively impacts there quality of work and over 80%, said answered that burnout effects their personal relationships.

Again, these signs can cause your symptoms to spiral even faster, so it's important to work on yourself, and take a step back. Reach out to support groups if need be. Let someone close to you know that you need help or seek expert medical advice on your situation

It's okay to talk to someone, getting out your emotions can actually help relieve stress and frustration. 


7. You Hate Your Job or Your Start Thinking Negatively About It

Finally, the last sign of work burnout, that you want to be on the lookout for, is negative thoughts surrounding your job. Some people with work burnout will flat out hate their job. They might spend minutes if not hours of their day thinking about how much they want to leave their job, and may even try and do so.

However, not everyone may react this way. In fact, some people may want to find passion again about what they do, but find it unbelievably difficult to motivate themselves again. Negative thoughts might include, thinking about how stressed out you are, wishing that your job wasn’t so hard, or thinking that you have no purpose in your current position.

Final Thoughts!

Our final thoughts today is a tough one. Work burnout is hard and it's a hard process to not only spot sometimes, but it's a hard process to get through for many people. One of the hardest fact's is that if you let yourself go, you may jeopardize a job you actually like or co-workers that your enjoy, and even worse personal family relationships.

Don't just take the advice "suck it up" or "you'll get through it". Do something about it! Reach out to people and ask for help or join online support groups and talk. Help you by helping yourself. 

Please feel free to share thoughts and ways your have managed or coped with workplace burnout here, through comments in our blog section below!



- https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642

- https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-signs-of-burnout


- https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/burnout-survey.html

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