Feeling lost at work? Signs of office burnout and how to get back in the zone

Recognising the signs of office burnout is the first step towards reclaiming a sense of balance and well-being


Shireen Shahnas

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Published: Wed 18 Oct 2023, 3:30 PM

In the relentless pursuit of professional success, the workplace often becomes a breeding ground for burnout, a silent enemy that can impact both individuals and the collective spirit of an organisation. Recognising the signs of office burnout is essential for safeguarding employee well-being and fostering a culture of resilience.

Here are the signs:

1. Persistent fatigue: Feeling persistently tired, even after a full night's sleep, can be a clear sign of burnout. If the energy tank constantly hovers near empty, burnout may be lurking.

2. Decreased job performance: A noticeable decline in work quality, increased errors, and a lack of enthusiasm for tasks that once brought satisfaction are indicative of burnout's impact on job performance.

3. Emotional detachment: Burnout can lead to emotional distancing from work, colleagues, and even personal life. A sense of cynicism and detachment may replace the once vibrant engagement.

4. Increased irritability: A shorter fuse and heightened irritability are common manifestations of burnout. Everyday challenges that were once manageable become stressors.

5. Insomnia or sleep disturbances: Burnout often disrupts sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or restless nights. An inability to unwind and relax contributes to the cycle of exhaustion.

6. Loss of enthusiasm: The enthusiasm and passion that initially fuelled work may dwindle, leaving a void where motivation once thrived.

7. Physical symptoms: Chronic headaches, muscle tension, and gastrointestinal issues can manifest physically when burnout takes hold.

Tips for rejuvenation:

1. Prioritise self-care: Make self-care non-negotiable. Prioritise activities that bring joy and relaxation, whether it's exercise, a hobby, or simply spending time with loved ones.

2. Set realistic boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Learn to say no to additional responsibilities when your plate is already full.

3. Take breaks: Regular breaks during the workday are crucial for maintaining focus and preventing burnout. Step away from your desk, stretch, and recharge.

4. Seek support: Don't hesitate to reach out to colleagues, friends, or a professional counsellor for support. Sharing your feelings and experiences can provide emotional relief.

5. Address workload: Communicate with supervisors about workload concerns. Collaboratively explore ways to manage tasks effectively without sacrificing well-being.

6. Practise mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, into your routine. These techniques can help manage stress and promote mental clarity.

7. Plan regular check-ins: Schedule regular check-ins with yourself to assess stress levels and well-being. This self-reflection can help you proactively address burnout.


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