How to Determine and Recover From Work Burnout

We all start out going into careers or stumbling across a career bright eyed and bushy tailed. We went to school and college for years followed by internships, to finally get into our "dream" job only to face utter burn out later on. If you have a stress driven job, or become an workaholic. And yes, for a time you will pride yourself in it but at some point you just can't handle doing that anymore, whether emotionally, physically, or mentally. As this lifestyle of stressing about job performance and every detail even after you leave work for the day is not sustainable. 

Signs of Burnout

Many people burn out from their jobs and it's not the end of the world. The American Psychological Association’s David Ballard, PsyD describes job burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.”

“A lot of burnout really has to do with experiencing chronic stress,” says Dr. Ballard, who is the head of the APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. “In those situations, the demands being placed on you exceed the resources you have available to deal with the stressors.”

The signs that your are burnt out are the following:

  1. Exhaustion
  2. Lack of motivation
  3. Frustration, Cynicism and Other Negative Emotions
  4. Cognitive Problems
  5. Slipping Job Performance
  6. Interpersonal Problems at Home and at Work
  7. Not Taking Care of Yourself
  8. Being preoccupied with work, when you’re not at work
  9. Generally Decreased Satisfaction
  10. Health Problems

Recovering from Burnout

So how do you recover after you realize that you are burnt out from your job or career. First you have to determine why you are burnt out. Is it something going on at your job? Like unclear job expectations, dysfunctional work dynamics, or extremes of activities. Or is it do to something outside of work? Are you not balancing work and home life? Once that's identified then you can get on the road of recovery. Some of the things that you can do are the following:

  1. Evaluate your opinions. If you're burnt out by something at work, talk to your supervisor to see if anything can be changed. Can you telecommute or change your hours? Do you need help handling projects as you are overwhelmed?
  2. Get some sleep. I have been burnt out in the past because I was getting no sleep. You need to get 7-8 hours a day. So try to adjust your schedule to ensure you get that much.
  3. Say 'No' politely. There are sometimes where you just can't say no, but if you talk to your manager about it. You might be able to say no to new responsibilities while you are recovering.
  4. Take a break or vacation. Use those vacation days that you haven't used and just regain your focus.
  5. Unplug from work. This is more for when you're not at work or on a vacation. You need to just separate yourself from work at some point in time.
  6. Know when enough is enough. Some times that is no regaining your ground after a burn out with a job. Especially if your manager isn't willing to work with you and it's just time to move on.

What are some of your tips for recovering from burn out?