7 Mental Health Signs of Burnout at Work

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Does the thought of going into work make you feel stressed, worn out, exhausted, or even scared? Are you anxious at the thought of spending one more day, hour, or minute at the place where you work? Are you beginning to hate your job? If so, you may be suffering from work-related burnout.

This type of burnout can turn your work into a tortuous chore that you must struggle through each week so that you can make it to the weekends. You want to quit, but you need your job! If any of this sounds like you, but you’re still a little unsure whether or not you’ve been affected by work-related burnout, it’s best to seek professional help. A counselling session with a registered psychotherapist may be exactly what you need to rejuvenate your mental health.

If you are feeling emotionally drained, check if you are suffering from these seven mental health signs of burnout at work:

Sign #1: You lack concentration

One of the most common signs of burnout at work is a lack of concentration. If your mind often bounces from thought to thought with very little focus or helpfulness, then you could be suffering from work-related burnout. Do you find it hard to concentrate on even the smallest task that your boss sets out for you? Do you burn food at home because you can’t stay focused on what’s happening in the kitchen? Loss of the ability to concentrate is a sign of burnout.

Sign #2: You have little (or no) motivation

When you lose your motivation, life can become dull, boring, and frustrating very quickly. You don’t want to do anything, not even typically enjoyable activities. And work? Forget it! If you’re not motivated to read a new novel or join your friends for a game of tennis, then why would you want to finish all those tasks piling up at work? Lack of motivation can (and often does) lead to procrastination, which just makes the problem worse.

Sign #3: You feel ill more frequently

Now, we’re not saying that every time you get a cold or a fever you’re suffering from work-related burnout. But if you’re experiencing other signs of stress/burnout and you’ve also been feeling not so great, the two things could be related. Have there been persistent headaches? Chest pains? More colds, flus, fevers, etc? It may be an indication that your body is reacting physically to the mental stress of burnout.

Sign #4: You’re more easily annoyed and irritable

We don’t know you; you could be someone who–admit it–has a bit of a problem with their temper. Maybe you’re something of a perfectionist, so when people don’t do a job the right way, you get annoyed and frustrated with them. Maybe your personality is the reason for your irritability. We all struggle with this to some degree or another, after all.

Or maybe your annoyance and irritation are caused by burnout. If you’ve found yourself becoming more impatient and frustrated than usual, especially at work, though that isn’t always where it manifests, there’s at least some cause for concern.

Sign #5: You’re engaging in addictive behaviors and habits

Has work-related stress/burnout caused you to default to an addiction, something to help you cope? Drugs? Alcohol? Food? There are any number of substances and behaviors that people use to try to defuse the stress of work-related burnout. This is a clear warning sign that something is wrong (whether it’s burnout or something else). Thankfully, there is help available–you don’t have to stay in that place of addiction.

Sign #6: You’re always thinking about work

One bad thing about work-related burnout is that it can actually cause your mind to dwell more deeply on work itself–the tasks you have to do, the stress of the workday, the thought of having to go back tomorrow. Obsessive thoughts about work, thoughts that you can’t seem to switch off when you’re supposed to be relaxing…it’s a sign of burnout.

Sign #7: You’re tired all (or most) of the time

A general feeling of tiredness can be caused by many, many different things but it does happen to be one of the signs of burnout. Do you feel as though you just want to nap throughout the whole day? Do you struggle to not sleep in (since you need to get to work)? Do you have a hard time staying awake, alert, and focused on the job site? Do you go to sleep almost as soon as you get home from work? Then you could definitely be experiencing some burnout.

Alternately, because burnout causes stress, you could be very tired but find it extremely hard to fall asleep–even when you desperately want to. This, of course, contributes to the vicious cycle of burnout-induced exhaustion. If either of these scenarios sounds familiar, then try to fall asleep to relaxing music and make sure that the quality of your sleep is on part (or higher) than the quantity of your sleep.

Both factors are necessary, but if you ‘sleep’ restlessly for ten hours, chances are you won’t feel as rested as if you had a solid, deep sleep for six or seven hours.

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