Avoiding Work Burnout

by Kahlia Meeuwsen, Lifestyle Columnist

Published in Lifestyle and Health on 14th January, 2019

From time to time, we can all feel stressed by our jobs. However, it's extremely important to keep tabs on that stress and know when to give yourself a break. Otherwise, overworking yourself can result in something known as burnout, which can quickly lead to exhaustion and dread.

In time, this feeling can make it much harder to do your job, which effects not only your frame of mind and productivity, but also your health. It goes to show why balance is such an important thing in our daily lives. It keeps us from succumbing to complete exhaustion.

how to avoid burnout

Here, we're going to take a look at what signs may be worth considering when you think you might be burning out at your job. We'll then also provide a few tips on keeping burnout from overcoming you. That way, you can stay productive and live a well-balanced, healthy life overall!

What Is Work Burnout?

When you've been working hard for hours or days on end, you can start to become extremely worn down.

If it goes on long enough, the idea of doing your work can become something that is dreaded and mentally painful. Essentially, absolutely anything other than work can begin to feel more appealing. You know when you'd rather do a deep clean on your home than work, that you're feeling a bit burnt out!

There are several signs of burnout, as well as methods you can use to avoid running into the problem as often. Using them, you can keep yourself from feeling the pressure, exhaustion and other effects that can result from too much work, or work that has become too tedious.

Signs Of Work Burnout

The following are signs that may indicate that you're experiencing some burnout. Some may be quite obvious, while others may be wrongly attributed to a bad mood or other circumstances going on. Take a close look and think about what symptoms of burnout you might experience.

You're Lacking Focus

When you're burning out, you may be feeling unfocused, unmotivated and like you're running into a wall. You might even notice that you have a shorter attention span, which can make it really hard to get through your workday. When it's gone on long enough, you may even start to dread doing the work you need to.

You're Often Anxious Or Stressed

If you're starting to feel stressed, anxious or irritable more of the time, then it may be due to work burnout. Even the most meaningful jobs can stress you out or become tedious over time, so it's important to look out for these symptoms and connect them to the correct source. When you can do that, you can start to look for solutions to whatever the cause may be.


You Aren't Sleeping Enough

Lacking sleep effects your health and can increase the intensity of any burnout you're feeling. If you're not getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, it can cause you to wear out much more quickly. This is especially true if your lack of sleep is due to work to begin with. So make sure that your time is balanced enough that you can get at least the minimal amount of sleep needed.

You're Exhausted All The Time

Frequent exhaustion is a surefire sign of burnout. When you're left feeling like you just can't move forward due to a tired, unwilling brain then it's time to find some way to recharge. Continuing to push yourself when you're already exhausted is only going to make the situation worse, so make sure to listen to what your body is telling you!

You've Become Critical

When you're worn down, your thoughts can start to become negative, harsh and critical of yourself and others. If you notice that these thoughts are starting to bog you down, it's a good idea to hit the pause button and figure out why you're feeling so negatively. It may very well be that you're burn out and in need of a break.

You Aren't Giving Yourself Breaks

As we burn out, we can also experience anxiety and stress that keeps us from taking the breaks we need. This is something that is important to avoid. A lack of breaks will make burnout happen more quickly and to a greater extent. Make sure that you're balancing your time well to get a few breaks in throughout the workday.

Ways You Can Avoid Burnout

Burnout is something that can be avoided and healed. It's just a matter of aligning your work with your body, whether that means making some adjustments to your schedule or finding a new path. The following tips can help you to keep your productivity rolling without becoming burnt out!

Find Balance

Sometimes, it can be really easy to allow work to take up the entirety of your life. This is especially true for those who are self-employed, or who have exceptionally demanding jobs. However, it's really important that you make sure you're balancing out work time with your other needs. While setting aside time to relax might feel like a waste, it's key to keeping yourself functioning well.

find balance

Look For Small Joys

Even in the most tedious jobs, there are often small joys we can find in our day to day experiences. Things like pleasant coworkers and customers, a peaceful space, or work that is meaningful to you in some way. When the negative aspects of the job are effecting you, try to look for the positive ones, no matter how small they may be.

Consider A New Path

If you've reached a point where you just can't find anything positive about your current job, it might be time to start considering making a career change. Take some time to think about what you would rather be doing. If you have the qualifications to do it, then start looking for a new job! Otherwise, you can always get started on doing what you need to in order to become qualified.

Enjoy A Nap!

For those who can manage it, a brief nap can help you to recharge quickly and get back on your feet. Many say that about a 20 minute nap is an ideal amount, and you're likely to feel much better after the fact. That said, not everyone can manage to fall asleep quickly enough to attain enough rest, but it's a great option for those who can!

Get Some Exercise

Exercise can be a great way to take a break from work, accomplish something productive and give yourself a boost of energy. It can also be as simple as taking a short walk during your break time. You'll be able to get away from your workspace, clear your head a little and enjoy the world around you. It's a great way to help with avoiding burnout!

Discover A Hobby

Doing something meaningful in your free time can help to remind you that there's a lot more to your life than just work. This is a great way to keep work concerns from overflowing into the rest of your life, and to do something that you can take pride in. It could be as simple as enjoying some books or video games, creating something, or learning to play an instrument. Whatever makes you happy!

discover a new hobby


If you can't get a nap in during your breaks, then meditation is also a fantastic option. All you need area few minutes and you can build up the skill of sitting quietly with your thoughts and emotions. Some prefer to use guided imagery, which can help to soothe you in a louder space, while others simply find a quiet area to enjoy.

Take A Vacation

If you can, taking a vacation is a fantastic way to relieve the pressure of work and recharge from serious burnout. You don't even have to go anywhere, if you can't afford it or would simply rather be at home. Just getting some time away from work can be very helpful, and it can give you some time to think about how you can avoid burnout going forward.

Understand Your Limits

Sometimes you just need to know when to call it a day. Remember, we aren't robots and it's unhealthy for us to sacrifice too much of our free time for the sake of work. Though it is an admirable pursuit, your life is much more than the job you do, so make sure you're enjoying all of it! Get rest when you need it, and spend some time away from work when it's driving you crazy.

Have Free Time Scheduled

Time spent watching TV, playing games or doing other activities just for fun is time that can often be put down because it isn't a "productive" way to spend time. However. It is necessary to have downtime in order to continue functioning in an effective way. We all need a little fun from time to time, and there's nothing wrong with adding it to the schedule!

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