We all experience stress in our work lives. Overtime evening and weekend work are practically inevitable for some employees, as resources are stretched thin and more work needs to get done. The demands that are placed on employees often exceed what they can handle in the long-term: not because they aren’t trained well for their jobs, but because it is simply too much. When chronic stress builds up over time, life gets out of balance and burnout can result.

What exactly is burnout? It’s described in the medical literature as a period of time in which a person becomes exhausted and loses interest in things that would normally drive them, leading to a decline in work performance. If you don’t catch burnout early, it can start to eat away at your career, as well as your health and personal life. Look for these signs to see if you might be suffering from burnout.



Long hours and compounded stress can leave you feeling tired at the end of every workday and when you wake up every morning. When that happens long enough, you become exhausted, feeling like you have little energy to push through each day. You might feel like you need more sleep, and need to keep refueling on coffee to keep going. When we’re overworked, we can feel constantly run down because we’re so exhausted.


Lack of Motivation

Your work and career goals were once enough to stay motivated, but now there’s little driving you other than adrenaline. We all have our off days, but if every day you wake up dreading going to work, it may be time to regroup.


Negative Emotions

At work, we’re told to not take things personally – and most of the time, we don’t, because we know it’s just a job. Did you snap at your coworker for forgetting a minor detail in a meeting? Cry because your boss asked you to edit your proposal? Have you felt like everyone is just irritating, no matter what they’re doing? Being overworked can lead to oversensitivity and expressing negative emotions, which is not good for your relationships at work or at home.


Forgetfulness and Trouble Concentrating

A little mistake here or there happens to all of us. However, making regular snafus is a sign that your mind is elsewhere. If you’re burning out, you might be constantly worrying about all the things you have to get done, or you may be checked out all together. Finding it hard to concentrate on your work and being prone to errors are symptoms of burnout.


Not Taking Care of Yourself

Junk food, excess drinking, retail therapy, and other vices are often a means of escape when you’re burnt out. Have you noticed you’re indulging more often in your cookie stash? Are you going out every night after work to the bar down the street? Did you look at your last credit card statement and wonder what happened? A classic burnout trend is doing a little more of what’s bad for us because it makes us feel good – at least in the short term. Let it go too long and the seven deadly sins will have you – and your health – firmly in their grasp.


Health Issues

In addition to general malaise, unchecked stress can lead to acute sickness like the flu or a sinus infection. But it can also result in chronic health problems like migraines, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. If your doctor is giving you new warnings to watch your weight or you find yourself in the pharmacy aisle too often, it’s time to chill out before you burn out.


How to Bounce Back

If you see yourself falling into these patterns, you need to come to your own rescue. You can change your behaviors in the following ways to get back on track and recover from burnout:


Take Time to Relax

Separate your work life from your home life. When you’re home, try not to do work. Instead, do things that are relaxing, like taking a bath, yoga, and listening to music. When you’re at work, take short breaks every once in awhile to Zen out.


Prioritize Sleep

Get the rest you need to recover from burnout, perform well at your job, and keep up with home responsibilities.


Focus on Your Non-Work Life

When you’re not on the job, spend time cultivating your interests, nurturing friendships and relationships with family, and everything else in your non-work life that makes you feel good.



Spend less time in front of the computer and smartphone checking e-mail and refrain from using the Internet too much. Too much computer time can remind you of work.


Set Limits

Learn to say no when you’re already stretched thin, or ask to reprioritize projects and responsibilities. You can only do so much – and when it’s too much, you could burn out.

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Posted by Agnes Jozwiak

Agnes is the Brand & Communication Director at ClickMeeting.

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