5 Most Obvious Signs You’re Burning Out at Work, and How To Recover

Shot of a stressed out young woman working in a demanding career.
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Are you suffering from fatigue, stress or having an off day? It can be difficult to fully determine if you are grappling with burnout in the workplace if you are unsure what burnout is or unaware of signs that it is impacting your work performance.

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To help you out, here are some clear physical and psychological signs you may be experiencing burnout at work.

5 Physical and Psychological Burnout Symptoms

According to global health company Ada, burnout is defined as a condition where professionals and workers start to develop depression-like symptoms due to aspects of their jobs. The professional will start to show signs of physical, mental or emotional exhaustion resulting from on the job or workplace stressors. 

While the symptoms look different for each individual, Ada writes there are five common signs of workplace burnout. They are defined below: 

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Lack of sleep 
  • Fatigue
  • An increasing cynical outlook on life and work
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Burnout may include physical and psychological symptoms. One may struggle physically with the aforementioned fatigue and headaches. Their sleep cycle may become disrupted, they may experience muscle tension or gastrointestinal disorders and they may be more susceptible to getting sick easily. 

Some examples of psychological symptoms include a lack of creativity or reduced performance and productivity. The professional may struggle to concentrate and feel detachment from their role, leading them to call out sick frequently. They may also have a negative attitude toward their job or their coworkers and be quick to anger or feelings of frustration.

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Three Burnout Subtypes

Did you know there are three burnout subtypes? An Ada blog post on the topic highlights frenetic, underchallenged and worn-out burnout. 

  • Frenetic burnout: This is defined by Ada as occurring when a professional works intensely in their role and puts too much energy and effort into it. In this situation, a professional quite literally works themselves to exhaustion. 
  • Underchallenged burnout: Someone struggling with underchallenged burnout does not feel challenged or motivated by the work they do. They may be bored or have a difficult time finding career satisfaction in their role. The longer someone remains in an underchallenged subtype of burnout, their mood will continue to lower and they will feel underappreciated about the lack of growth or learning opportunities available to them. 
  • Worn-out burnout: Simply put, those experiencing this subtype are surrendering to burnout. They have long been in a role and/or workplace which has made their life stressful or does not reward or appreciate them. They have given up — and they need help and guidance moving forward.
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How To Recover From Burnout

Recovery from burnout shares similarities with symptoms in that there is no one set method or treatment that can course-correct this condition. 

Individuals experiencing burnout, as Ada writes, may find it helpful to leave their jobs. They might decide to leave on a temporary basis or permanently leave for a role where they feel more motivated, appreciated and fulfilled by the work they do.

Others have experienced success in altering their work environment and attitudes toward it, often with the help of therapy and proactive decision-making. Those successful in doing this may be able to reduce or even fully remove factors responsible for causing burnout.

If you are struggling with burnout, tell your family doctor, primary care physician or therapist to see which treatment option may work best for you and your specific situation.

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

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