How To Avoid Burn-out At Work

There is a common line between working in a Nigerian bank/consulting firm and working in a Space Research facility, Rocket Engine Design Center or a Nuclear Power-plant in the US – the stress level. The insanely high-stress level can trigger burn-out – dissatisfaction with work, low morale, lack of creativity or constant anger at colleagues and family. Burn-out is the leading cause of high staff turnover among creative work teams.

Like the high stress is not enough, the bank’s management even pile ‘targets’ on top of everything – similar to the proverbial load breaking the camel’s back. The reason, most folks that leave the bank never want to go back!

Stress can make people look for a new job, but there are better ways to deal with this without quitting your job – the lawn might not necessarily be green on the other side. Every lawn has its baggage!


It is a known plague among high-performance teams – and thus, it is important it is properly tamed.

Common Work Stressors

  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Frequent scheduling conflicts or interruptions
  • Unpredictable schedules
  • Overcoming challenges associated with new computer software, changing atmospheres or different processes
  • Physical demands like exposure to weather or heavy lifting
  • Added responsibility beyond the initial scope of one’s role while not being compensated for the supervision
  • Interpersonal demands such as interactions with colleagues or customers

These stressors can manifest in outbursts of co-workers, violence or anger toward loved ones at home, loss of appetite and passion for things once loved, or being unable to find motivation for things that you were able to accomplish with ease.

Signs of Burnout to Watch For

According to a recent study, common signs of burnout are:

  • Feeling emotionally drained and mentally unwell. Nausea. Being unable to sleep or constantly fighting sicknesses like head colds.
  • Feeling alienated by your colleagues and bosses, feeling constantly underappreciated, or feeling ostracized by them.
  • Feeling you are not personally achieving your best, or regularly “phoning it in.”

“There are a lot of things that can happen when people begin to have this problem at work,” The study showed. “There are things like absenteeism, turnover, but also things in terms of errors, not being careful about the work they’re doing. We see a lot of difficulty with people getting along with each other — angry, aggressive.”

“Stress phenomenon can take a toll in terms of physical health, which can then get tied into absenteeism. There are a number of ways in which the quality of the work goes down as a result of burnout,”

You don’t want to be seen as always complaining about stress, you will be labelled as weak.

Ways to Combat Burnout at Work

If you’re suffering from burnout at work, or if any of those symptoms sound familiar to you, there are a few things you can do now, before you get some time off to recover. Although you should definitely consider some time off to recover if you can.

  • Focused breathing, which can tap into your parasympathetic nervous system to help you reduce or manage stress.
  • Frequent breaks, preferably five-minute breaks for every 20 minutes spent on a single task or sitting at your desk.
  • Ergonomic chairs and desks, like a sit-stand arrangement, or even a small plant in your office space.
  • A trusted mentor at work with whom you can discuss and strategize other ways to deal with work-related issues.
  • A hobby outside of work through which you can decompress, de-stress and dissociate from work. It doesn’t have to be anything specific, but regular exercise or another fitness activity works wonders here and has benefits beyond stress relief.

If you have the ability to work remotely, that’s another great way to add stress-reducers to your life. Periodically working out of the office enables you to try working from a quiet and contemplative space in which creativity may grow. It could also allow for more time outdoors. But broadly speaking, according to the research, it is the human connection that’s most effective at combating burnout.

Now that you have learnt few things, go out there and conquer the world. Till another time, we like to read from you, please drop your comment below.

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