Most of us use the term burnout when we feel exhausted, stressed out, and unfulfilled after exerting a lot of effort into our work day. But what exactly is burnout, what do we need to look out for, and how do we prevent it?

What is burnout?

According to the World Health Organization, burnout is “an occupational phenomenon rather than a disease”. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It basically defines our state when we’re overworked, giving truth to the saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

How do we get burned out?

When we are new to a job, we tend to be wide-eyed optimists. We are usually very open to meeting our co-workers and sometimes, we can’t even wait to start on a project or task. But as we stay and work longer in that specific workplace, that’s when we discover that it’s not all rainbows, butterflies, and lattes. 

There are times when we feel we are working extra hard, yet still unappreciated or under-compensated. Sometimes even our co-workers become a stressor in the workplace. The tendency is for us to feel exhausted, negative, cynical, and even too lazy to get up in the morning and get ready for work.

What can we do about it?

You’re probably thinking, “Oh, why don’t I just quit and look for another job with a better work environment, better people, better everything?” That’s probably easier, right? But before you make this decision, try everything you can to make your environment better.

Then, leaving your current work environment might be a good decision once you’ve exhausted all your efforts, including the list we have for you below:

Establish more friendly relationships at the office

No one said it’s bad to have office friends. Like I said earlier, some co-workers make office life a little bit better. Just make sure that you’re not crossing any office rules or boundaries.

Talk to your boss

Tell him or her what you’re feeling toward your job. Whether it’s the workload, pay, or other things around the office, you can be open in a professional way. You can even talk about a salary raise, promotion, or extra compensation, but make sure this comes from a place of abundance. What we mean by that is that if a lack of financial compensation is leading to burnout, present this to your boss in professional manner.

From there, you’d also know how he or she feels toward your work ethic and productivity. There is no harm in communicating with your boss, especially in a professional manner. Some bosses even appreciate the honesty and take it as constructive criticism.

Try looking at the bright side

There are people who would do anything just to have your job, or even just to have any paying work. Because it’s much easier for us to think negative thoughts rather than positive ones, we can get really caught up in feeling sorry for ourselves in the work place.

Maybe as you wake up in the morning, try reflecting on what you’re thankful for before typing that resignation letter and passing it to your boss.

Work within the 9-5

I’ve always hated the idea of working overtime. I used to have office friends who clock-in on time and leave far beyond the normal clock-out time, even without overtime pay. For me, it’s not a sign of efficiency, but instead feels like you have not maximized your work hours in a day.

That’s why working within the designated hours and clock-out on time can be the most beneficial to preventing burnout. We want to be with family and friends, unwind, and relax after a long day at work. Work will always be there. When you clock-out on a Monday evening, work will still be there on a Tuesday morning and so on. 

They say working beyond the usual schedule is one of the biggest burnout factors, for almost everyone. But this can look different if you have a job that is not confined within the 9-5 schedule. But regardless, find boundaries that work for you and maintain a life outside of work. Have dinner with family, go out with friends, stay in and take a long bath. Do whatever you think will help you unwind and lessen the feeling of burnout.

But when all else fails…

After you’ve exhausted all possible efforts and you feel like it really is time to say goodbye to your current job, then by all means, go ahead! At the end of the day, it’s not the company or your boss or your colleague that you need to take care of, it’s you. You and your health are more important than any job, and there’s no shame in saying goodbye.

If you want to know more about burnout or any other work-induced stress, don’t hesitate to ask a professional about it. The things mentioned above are just summarized details and quick-fix recommendations. If you think that what you’re feeling is beyond burnout, seek help 🙂


What about you? Have you experienced burnout, something at least close to or more than it? What did you do to overcome it? Tell us in the comments section and help out another person that’s currently experiencing burnout!

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