4 Signs You’re Burnt Out, Not Lazy

Nearly half of workers (49%) said their employer doesn’t have a plan to spot the signs of chronic stress.

As much as it is now spoken about, burnout is still often misunderstood and heavily stigmatised. The effects of burnout can touch on every aspect of your life, creating difficulties in the present and future.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress, for example, working a stressful job. Common signs of burnout include;

  • Feeling tired or drained most of the time
  • Feeling helpless, trapped and/or defeated
  • Feeling detached/alone in the world
  • Having a cynical/negative outlook
  • Self-doubt
  • Procrastinating and taking longer to get things done
  • Feeling overwhelmed

How to tackle some common burnout symptoms

Burnout isn’t something that will just go away on its own. If you don’t address the underlying issues and treat the symptoms you are experiencing, it will continue to get worse.

Feeling overwhelmed by day-to-day activities

Where possible, try to take on one task at a time. Simplify tasks into smaller, easier-to-process chunks to avoid feeling overwhelmed. It can be helpful to create a timeline for yourself of where to start and keep track of the progress you have made so far.

It can also be beneficial to complete smaller tasks or ‘easy wins’ in between larger tasks to split them up and feel a sense of achievement and purpose.

And most importantly, ensure you are taking regular breaks.

Finding yourself becoming more easily irritated

Be honest with yourself and acknowledge how you are feeling. Ignoring your emotions will not help. If you feel able to, try and reach out to someone you trust to discuss the source of your irritation. A lot of the time we will lash out at people who are not causing the issue.

Feeling exhausted all the time

If you are struggling with your sleep, take steps to create your best sleep environment. Avoid working from bed, keep your phone in another room and set up a proper bedtime routine to prepare you for a good night sleep.

Ensure you are giving yourself enough downtime during the day also. Make time for the things you enjoy or find relax you and try to do at least one of these every day.

If you can and feel it is necessary, speak to a GP or therapist. There may be more they can offer you to prevent full-blown burnout from over-exhaustion.

Feeling like you’re losing joy or motivation

Intentionally acknowledge and savour the small things. We often overlook the things that make us smile on a daily basis, but focusing on these can help to feel more balanced.

Try not to judge yourself so harshly. You are probably doing a lot better than you think and deserve to feel accomplished.

Stressed worker at desk suffering from burnout.

I’m an employer, what can I do about burnout in my team?

All employers have a duty of care towards their team, extending to both their physical and mental health. According to Mental Health UK

Leadership and Managers should provide:

  • a strategy, policy or plan for employee mental health to prevent chronic stress or burnout.
  • regular assessments of workplace stressors or burnout risks.
  • employees with a Wellbeing Plan to identify when and how to offer support.
  • regular check-ins to discuss workload and current challenges.
  • confidential access to resources such as counselling services or Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs)
  • training promoting the importance of maintaining good mental health.
  • acknowledgements of hard work.

Managers should promote:

  • open communication between employees and management.
  • regular breaks and a healthy work-life balance.
  • a culture of care and collaboration, encouraging team-building activities and social interactions.

Managers should avoid and discourage:

  • stigmatising language around mental health and mental illness.
  • unreasonable workloads and deadlines.
  • the use of excessive overtime.

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