As Americans in the workforce, we tend to carry our job stress as a badge of honor. A lot of us view having a stressful job as a rite of passage or as a sign we’re doing something right. But the reality is that consistent workplace stress can take an immense toll on us, many times in the form of a complete breakdown. The signs of job burnout aren’t always easy to spot, particularly if your occupation already comes with certain stressors or you don’t particularly enjoy your line of work. But if the following sounds all-too familiar to you, you may be on the verge of burnout and need to take action for the sake of your well-being.
Common Signs Of Job Burnout Include:
Physical And Emotional Exhaustion
You might not realize it, but an overly stressful work environment can have a colossal impact on your physical and emotional health. You might feel perpetually exhausted and zapped of energy or have trouble sleeping. Your stress may cause you to be forgetful or have poor concentration. Some people will even experience respiratory issues, chest pains, dizziness, headaches, or weakened immune systems (which can make you prone to infections). Prolonged anxiety can lead to weight loss, depression, or debilitating mental and emotional issues that interfere with your ability to maintain a balanced life. Don’t discount your physical and emotional symptoms. While these issues may not always be work-related, they can often be symptomatic of workplace stress and impending burnout.
Lack Of Motivation And Enjoyment
Those who experience decreasing levels of enthusiasm, waning motivation and drive, or a general loss of enjoyment pertaining to their job might be on the edge of burnout. If you generally have a strong work ethic and internal desire to go above and beyond, this may be among one of the more obvious signs of job burnout for you. That said, there are some people who don’t find pleasure in their work under normal circumstances, which can make burnout tougher to recognize. For those who generally enjoy their job, new feelings of detachment or wanting to escape work altogether should set off some alarm bells. These new feelings could be due to overwhelming stress and a lack of work/life balance, or they could be indicative of other changes in your personal life or at work. It’s important to discover the cause and address it, rather than try to escape these feelings (and your job).
Presence Of Negative Emotions (Cynicism, Anger, Hopelessness)
When you feel like nothing you do at work has a purpose or makes a difference, you may start to feel irritable, disillusioned, or even apathetic when you’re there. Everyone wants to feel like they’re appreciated and effective at their jobs. If you don’t feel that way, there’s likely something wrong. Pessimism and frustration can be toxic in a work environment. If these concerns are shared by other employees but go unaddressed, this often results in higher levels of turnover and decreased job satisfaction. Negative emotions will occur occasionally in almost any workplace, but if they come up on a regular basis, they can be signs of job burnout or an unsatisfactory workplace culture.
Poor Performance And Productivity
Ultimately, all the anxiety, negative emotions, and physical manifestations related to burnout can cause your performance and productivity to suffer. You may feel like you can never keep your head above water or you may be confused as to why you aren’t as efficient as you used to be. Your inability to concentrate combined with your feelings of frustration can serve as a real distraction and can cause you to become even more detached from your work. Plus, you may worry about losing your job as a result (which is stress-inducing in and of itself).
If you are experiencing any of these signs of burnout, realize that you are not alone. However, you should take these symptoms seriously and take action. Making smaller life changes now, like keeping your work life and home life separate or taking some time to recharge by yourself, can allow you to overcome these feelings and regain control.