5 Causes of Workplace Stress and How To Deal With Them, According To a Ramsey Expert

Asian woman student or businesswoman work late at night.
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You might know or have experienced a few causes of workplace stress, but are you familiar with the most widely recognized ones? Stressors left unchecked may begin to show up as physical, mental and/or emotional illnesses and result in burnout.

Can anything be done to manage these causes? Career coach and Ramsey expert Ken Coleman joins GOBankingRates to share the exact definition of burnout, its five causes and the cures to focus on your wellness. These are the most common causes of workplace stressors and how working professionals can deal with them.

What Is Burnout?

Coleman often hears burnout in the voices of working professionals when they call “The Ken Coleman Show.” These individuals are mentally and emotionally exhausted. Coleman often refers to them as “zombies” because it feels like they are trapped in a soulless cycle of wandering through the workweek. They are sleep deprived and over-caffeinated and just want to get to the weekend.

To describe this spiritless state, society has adopted the term burnout. What does it mean? Coleman said burnout is when you get overwhelmed by a feeling of frustration and exhaustion when stress and toxicity build up in your heart. People struggle to keep up with everything at work without rest, recognition or results. 

“Burnout can make us feel disconnected, lost and hopeless,” Coleman said. “In extreme cases, people can even feel worthless because of the lack of real meaning.”

5 Causes of Workplace Stress and Burnout

Workplace stressors share several similarities with burnout. Here are the most common causes, according to Coleman.


Do you ever feel as though you are drowning in work the minute you start the day? Coleman said it won’t be long before your survival instincts take over. “This level of stress affects your mental, emotional and physical health quickly and adversely.”

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Toxic Workplace

Even employees who have the greatest, most positive attitudes can feel the negative impacts of a toxic workplace. This includes bully bosses, gossipy coworkers, workplace surveillance and a cutthroat culture.

Being Underappreciated

“We all need to be recognized for our unique contribution,” Coleman said. “To be seen is to be valued. If you never hear words of encouragement or praise, this can lead to burnout.”

Having No Clear Meaning or Purpose

A common workplace stressor is lacking purpose in the work you do. You don’t enjoy the work. The results don’t motivate you or connect to your values. 

Coleman said this is dangerous. “When people believe their work doesn’t matter, they may soon believe that they don’t matter.”


If you’re spending more time scrolling social media apps than engaging with the team, you may gradually start to experience burnout. The human condition, Coleman said, craves challenges and new opportunities. 

Ken’s Cures for Workplace Stress

There are five ways — also known as Ken’s cures — to combat stressors leading to burnout in the workplace.

Speak Up

Do not feel like you should go it alone. Ask for help. Tell your leader or manager how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling this way. As you explain how you’re feeling, Coleman recommends bringing possible solutions to this conversation. 

Rediscover Your Why

“This is a time to reset what you want to be doing, why you want to be doing it and how you want to be doing it,” Coleman said. 

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By answering these questions, you’ll be better able to determine where you need to be and how you can best do what you love. This allows you to produce results that matter to you.

Explore New Roles in the Company

Are there other departments in the business that may better utilize your talents and remove the source of your burnout? Consider giving these areas a look.


If there are no roles in the company that may be a better fit, it may be time to look for a new job. Start prepping your resume and application materials and window shopping for better roles now. 

Change Your Habits

Create healthy habits like eating better, exercising on a regular basis, praying, meditating or journaling. You can also reevaluate who you spend time with as part of making positive changes to your life and well-being. 

Remember: Healing Takes Time

Once you identify workplace stressors and follow the cures to combat burnout, keep in mind the healing process will not happen overnight. Coleman said there is no quick fix, like 10 hours of sleep or a vacation, that can resolve problems built up over months. Healing is a process. 

As we head into the new year, Coleman said people need you to be at your best — and burnout stands in the way of you being the best version of yourself. “Maybe this is the right time to be more intentional about bringing balance, purpose and wellness back to your life.”

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