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Workplace burnout: What it is, how to spot it, and how to help it

Within the workplace, there are times where we feel under more pressure than normal. Many feel like they are under pressure for long periods, and admit to it leading to what we call ‘workplace burnout.’

A recent study by Gallup found that out of the 7,500 full-time workers tested, 23% were often in “full burnout mode” and about 44% were “sometimes” in burnout mode.

Workplace burnout is not healthy or sustainable for anyone.

In this article, we discuss what workplace burnout is, how to know if you or someone else is suffering from it, and the steps you can take to overcome it.

What is workplace burnout?

Workplace burnout is summarised as a syndrome brought on by chronic workplace stress that hasn’t been successfully managed.

Workplace burnout is more than everyday stress. As we know, a small amount of workplace stress can provide positive outcomes.

The difference between workplace stress and workplace burnout

Studies have shown that a small amount of stress in the workplace can boost motivation and productivity in the short run. It pushes people to an optimal level of alertness and cognitive performance.

These positive effects are not found in workplace burnout. You can think of burnout as stress pushed to a point where it becomes a serious health issue for the sufferer. Long term chronic stress can impair our cognitive skills and lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.

What are the symptoms of workplace burnout?

Those suffering from this syndrome will have feelings of exhaustion, low energy, negative feelings towards their job and an increasing mental distance from their work. They may lose meaning in their work or be underperforming.

How do you help workplace burnout? 

If you or someone else is suffering from workplace burnout, the first thing that must be achieved is recognising it. Many often do not realise they are suffering from it, simply that they are stressed or under pressure.

Discussing your symptoms with friends or family will help you understand what you are experiencing and help come to terms with the feelings you have been having.

Once understood, the next step is to ask for help. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of, it is the first step in getting back on track. Many workplaces have support in place should you need it, although many do not make it obvious.

Simply talking to someone will help uncover ways to improve your situation and alleviate some of the stress that leads to burnout in the first place. 

Another step is to take time off for yourself. Do something you enjoy. You will be able to escape the negative feelings.

At Healthcare International, our medical insurance policies, designed specifically for the expat community, can provide cover for mental health expenses as well as physical, wherever you decide to make your life. Get a quote now.