Signs and Symptoms of Workplace Burnout

Are you feeling unmotivated, disillusioned or embittered about your job? Do you suffer frequent headaches or insomnia? If so, you may be burning out

Credit: qousqous

To avoid burnout on the job, be sure to eat well, exercise, and practise good sleep habits

Exhaustion. Disconnection. Days of tedium with no reward. These are symptoms of burnout – a serious workplace issue

More than half of Canadians report feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities, and up to 20 per cent report full-fledged burnout.

Statistics Canada reports that workers who experience constant stress have triple the risk of major depression.

Recent Finnish studies tied burnout to cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders and increased long-term sick leaves.

Burnout is rarely the result of any one thing. It’s more commonly the cumulative effect of many factors and stressors in your life, at work and at home, and over which you may have varying degrees of control.

Emotional Symptoms of Burnout

  • Pervasive guilt or worry
  • Feeling like you have lost control of your work life
  • Feeling unmotivated, disillusioned or embittered
  • Increased anxiety over social interactions
  • Inability to concentrate on or finish a task
  • Lack of pleasure in activities you used to like
  • Severe irritation over minor issues
  • Inability to recognize or enjoy accomplishment

Physical Symptoms of Burnout

  • Changes in eating habits or appetite
  • Exhaustion and/or insomnia
  • Persistent muscle tension in the back and shoulders
  • Frequent illness and missed work days
  • Frequent headaches
  • Stress-related symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or nausea

Tips for Dealing with Burnout on the Job

  • Concentrate on finding your own perfect balance between staying challenged and feeling stressed.
  • Find a mentor who can give you direction, and request regular performance reviews.
  • Be careful of perfectionism. Consider outside benchmarks of success and reasonable goals. 
  • Be wary of situations with heavy responsibility but no authority. Reach out to peers and supervisors to assess your workload, expectations, recognition, opportunities and empowerment. Keep communication constructive, and avoid griping. 
  • Continuously develop yourself through professional training.
  • Make a conscious effort to eat well, exercise, be social and relax, and practise good sleep habits. Never cut corners in these areas.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.