How to Tell If You’re Experiencing Job Burnout

Full-time employees often experience occasional burnout. Some report it is frequent or constant. Wanting to be motivated, productive, and succeed at work may conflict with the need for time with family and desire for a full life outside of work. Most workers today say that work is more demanding than it was a generation ago. Americans have higher burnout rates than people living in other countries. Indeed, burnout is becoming a widespread cultural problem.

The basics of job burnout

Burnout syndrome is now recognized clinically by the World Health Organization. An individual’s burnout is often closely related to their working conditions. However, burnout may not improve until the individual changes jobs or somehow lightens their workload. Therapy can help an individual identify burnout and work toward practical solutions. However, his or her distress may continue until the working environment improves.

Five factors that may predict burnout include:

  1. A workload that seems unmanageable
  2. Unfair treatment on-the-job
  3. Poor communication and lacking support from management
  4. Insufficient clarity about one’s job tasks or role 
  5. Unreasonable deadlines and time pressure

When people experience job burnout, they may worry that the problem is their failing. However, evidence suggests otherwise, as management and employer practices are a leading predictor of job burnout. Still, what feels like burnout is actually something else at times.

Is it burnout or depression?

Distinguishing whether the problem is depression or burnout can be challenging. Both of them can lead to low motivation, emotional exhaustion, and loss of pleasure. Job burnout is a significant risk factor for depression, though. So you could be both depressed and burnt out.

Is it burnout or anxiety?

Burnout can cause a substantial amount of anxiety, especially when the work piles up, deadlines must be met, or an individual feels poorly equipped to handle it. If anxiety extends beyond work or fails to improve when working conditions change, the person may be suffering from generalized anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

What does job burnout look like?

Job burnout goes over and above frustration with work. It’s a concerning affliction that can affect an individual’s mental and physical health. Potential physical health effects of job burnout can include:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Chronic exhaustion
  • Insomnia
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure

These are symptoms that can also compound the stress of job burnout and may even worsen mental health symptoms. Individuals who are burnt out should be aware that there is also a significant overlap between a mental health diagnosis and job burnout. An individual with a mental health condition is more susceptible to job burnout, and one with job burnout is more likely to have a mental health condition.

When to seek help

It may not be possible for you to leave a bad job. That doesn’t mean you have to struggle with burnout forever, though. Self-care strategies include:

  • Using vacation time
  • Separating your identity from work
  • Getting quality rest
  • Doing enjoyable hobbies
  • Spending time with family and friends

Moreover, a therapy professional can provide support, brainstorm solutions, and offer helpful strategies that could help to mitigate job burnout. A therapist can also support an individual during a job search, helping with job search challenges such as anxiety, low self-esteem, and low self-confidence. Reach out to a therapist in Palatine, IL to get help with job burnout.

Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into counseling and help for job burnout.