Signs of workplace burnout: how to tell if you're suffering from it

Friday, 31st May 2019, 14:56 pm
Updated Friday, 31st May 2019, 16:38 pm
Burnout can be the cause of your feelings of exhaustion (Photo: Shutterstock)

On Monday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised burnout as an "occupational phenomenon" at the World Health Assembly.

Other health conditions such as gaming addiction were also made official.

What is burnout?

The WHO categorises burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

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It can produce the following symptoms:

Feeling exhaustedHaving no energyFeeling negatively about your jobReduced productivity

Burnout is specifically related to feelings within the workplace and the WHO states it “should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

It’s a separate condition from other types of stress disorders, which all have their own individual classifications.

What are the signs?

In addition to the signs outlined by the WHO, there are a multitude of symptoms that could indicate that you’re suffering from burnout.

The Mayo Clinic recommends asking yourself these ten questions to find out if you’re suffering from workplace burnout.

Have you become cynical or overly critical at work?Do you have to force yourself into work and find it difficult to get started?Are you irritable or have a short fuse with your co-workers/customers/clients?Have you lost the energy required to be productive?Do you find it difficult to concentrate?Do you no longer feel satisfaction about your achievements?Do you feel disillusioned about your job?Are you relying on food, drugs or alcohol to get yourself through the day?Have your sleep habits changed?Do you have unexplained physical problems like headaches or stomach pains?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, the answer might be that you’re experiencing burnout.

What causes burnout?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to feeling burnt-out.

One of these is feeling like you have no control over your work. When you feel like you have no say over the decisions that affect your job (such as your schedule, your assignments or workload), or if you lack the resources you need to do your job, can lead to burnout.

If you’re not getting recognised for the good work that you produce, this can lead you to feel isolated and contribute to stress.

Similarly, if your workplace dynamics are dysfunctional, such as working with the office bully or dealing with a manager that undermines your work, this can cause burnout.

Not feeling clear about your job expectations is a factor as well. If you don’t feel like you’re on the same page as your boss with regards to the level of work expected from you, this can cause stress levels to rise.

And it’s not just being busy and stressed that leads to burnout. People working in boring, monotonous jobs can also become cynical and low in energy.

Is there any treatment for burnout?

If you think you are experiencing burnout, there are things you can do to make things better.

Firstly, you should set a meeting with your supervisor and talk to them about what’s going on and try and figure out a solution that works for both parties.

Prioritise your workload and set goals for what needs to be done and what can realistically wait.

Seek support from the people around you - one symptom of burnout can be feeling hopeless, so relying on a network of people can be helpful.

Exercise is a great stress reliever, as well as activities like meditation or yoga which can help you deal with stress.

You should also make sure to get a good night’s sleep, which will help you tackle stress more effectively.

Schedule yourself to go to bed at a set time and avoid electronics before going to sleep as these can interfere with your sleep quality.

This article originally appeared on our sister site Edinburgh Evening News