If you are feeling completely overwhelmed, lacking motivation and feeling physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted in the workplace, it is likely you are suffering from a common mental health condition referred to as workplace burnout.
Left untreated, workplace burnout can have a detrimental affect on a person’s physical and mental health, and it is therefore vital that burnout is recognised as soon as possible so the right treatment program can begin.
In Part One of our ‘Workplace Burnout’ series, we discussed what workplace burnout is and highlighted a number of its causes. To view this article, please click here.
In order to identify when a person is suffering from burnout, the signs and symptoms of this mental health condition must be understood. In this article, we will discuss eleven key signs and symptoms of workplace burnout that may be experienced by employees suffering from this condition.
11 Key Signs And Symptoms That Indicate You May Be Suffering From Workplace Burnout
There is a reason ‘exhaustion’ sits at the top of our list of key signs and symptoms of workplace burnout, as it is what specifically defines burnout. If you are suffering from workplace burnout, you are likely to often be feeling very tired and lacking energy physically, mentally and emotionally.
You may find getting out of bed in the morning (or afternoon/evening, if you are a shift worker) completely exhausting and a real struggle. Simply thinking about getting ready for work, travelling to the workplace and completing the tasks your role requires of you may be exhausting in itself and may make you feel flat, anxious or otherwise unwell.
2: Reduced Motivation
If you are lacking in motivation to get up in the morning in order to go to work or to efficiently and effectively complete the tasks necessary in your job, it is likely you may be suffering from workplace burnout. Preparing for and attending and completing work may become more and more difficult, as you become burnt out.
Even tasks unrelated to work, such as family responsibilities, household chores or social activities can seem like far too much effort when you are feeling exhausted in every way.
3: Difficulty Concentrating
When we are feeling exhausted and burnt out, it can be very difficult to concentrate on or pay attention to the task at hand. This is particularly the case when we have an excessive workload and feel overwhelmed just thinking about all we need to achieve. The stress of an enormous workload can further interrupt our concentration, as our concentration is pulled in all different directions, rather than us being comfortably able to concentrate on one task at a time.
Additionally, you may find yourself struggling to remember key information or to problem-solve as efficiently as you would when you are feeling rested, as opposed to exhausted and burnt out. You may discover you make more errors than you did prior to experiencing burnout.
4: Excessive Workload And/Or A Lack Of Control
When more and more work gets added to our pile and we simply cannot keep on top of it, this can lead to workplace burnout. There are only a certain number of hours in the day dedicated to work, and while some overtime is considered acceptable depending on your workplace, we as humans simply cannot achieve more than is reasonable within a set number of working hours.
An excessive workload increases our stress levels and often leads to mental, physical and emotional exhaustion as a result. It may also cause us to sacrifice other activities that are essential to our wellbeing (such as cutting down on sleep, a reduction in exercise or increased consumption of processed foods lacking the nutrition we need to perform at our best).
Feeling like you lack control over what needs to be done at work, how, by whom and when may also increase the likelihood of experiencing workplace burnout, as a lack of control can heighten our stress levels and simultaneously reduce our energy levels. A lack of balance between (i) an appropriate level of autonomy and (ii) a supportive and productive team, can lead to dissatisfied, overloaded and exhausted employees.
5: Negative Thinking And Emotions
Do you find yourself constantly feeling cynical, pessimistic and frustrated about your job and/or workplace? You may be feeling or headed for burnout. When you are feeling overworked, underpaid, dissatisfied (or other) in your job, you may experience more negative thoughts towards your job and employer than when you are feeling satisfied and happy in the workplace. Burnout may leave you feeling hopeless and thinking things such as “what’s the point?” regarding certain tasks or your job as a whole.
6: A Drop In Productivity And Job Performance
It is not uncommon to witness a reduction in productivity and performance in an employee who is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted (i.e. suffering from workplace burnout), as they lack the energy to perform as efficiently or effectively as they would normally do.
This exhaustion and lack of ability to complete tasks at the rate you normally would only further increases your to-do list, adding further stress to your situation and exacerbating your feelings of exhaustion. You may find yourself working more hours in order to get on top of your ever-growing task list, and in fact be accomplishing less than you did previously.
When you are experiencing workplace burnout, you may also lack self-belief and the same confidence in your skills and ability that you had in the past, and find yourself disengaging from your job.
7: Conflicts With And/Or Withdrawal From Others
When we are feeling really burnt out, we may have a “short fuse” and be more jumpy and flighty when having a difficult conversation with a co-worker, which may land us in more conflict situations than normal. Sometimes, we have the tendency to go the other way when burnt out – that is, we withdraw from other people in the workplace, and sometimes even in our personal lives with regards to our family and friends.
8: Ruminating Over Work
When we are feeling burnt out in our jobs, we often “take work home”, as the saying goes. Chronic stress related to our work leads us to feel mentally and/or emotionally preoccupied with work once we have left the premises or finished up for the day.
9: Not Looking After Yourself Properly And/Or Health Issues
Whether a person is suffering workplace-induced burnout or burnout related to other stresses in their life, it is often the case that we feel too exhausted to take proper care of our physical and mental health. We can find ourselves making poor choices when it comes to food and beverages (i.e. consuming more processed and high fat/sugar/salt foods over nutritious wholesome foods), drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, not engaging in enough physical exercise and not getting sufficient, quality sleep each night.
Chronic stress and exhaustion can lead to a wide array of different health issues, including fatigue, regular headaches, anxiety, depression, significant weight loss or gain, digestive problems, high blood pressure and heart disease, to name a few. If you are feeling physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted and experiencing health problems as a result, it is vital you seek professional help as soon as possible.
10: Reduced Satisfaction
When we are under chronic stress and subject to burnout, we are likely to experience less satisfaction in our role and the workplace as a whole. This dissatisfaction that begins at work can also filter into our home and personal lives.
11: Increased Absenteeism
In addition to feeling exhausted, a number of other signs of burnout such as lack of motivation, excessive workload, reduced confidence, conflicts with others and particularly, health problems induced by workplace burnout can lead to more sick days and increased absenteeism from the workplace.
A person fighting workplace burnout may experience any number of these signs and symptoms, and these signs and symptoms of workplace burnout may differ from person to person. Different factors such as an individual’s particular role, industry, and/or personality type may affect which of the above symptoms are most prevalent.
In Part Three of our ‘Workplace Burnout’ series, we discuss different techniques you can implement as part of your recovery from burnout. If you are struggling with workplace burnout, be sure to read this article by clicking here (in addition to seeking professional help).
Having a solid understanding of the signs and symptoms of workplace burnout can assist you to identify if you or someone you know are experiencing workplace burnout. Once workplace burnout is recognised, it is vital you seek professional help, in order to avoid any potential detrimental damage to both your physical and mental health. Contact Brain Wellness Spa today for professional help and support with your burnout.