How to Recognize Job Burnout (And Take a Step Back)
By now you have probably heard about “quiet quitting,” a popular trend touted on social media. Depending on whom you ask, “quiet quitting” means anything from a lack of motivation to setting healthy boundaries. In any event, the conversation has broadened the discussion of job burnout.
Is working harder always better than working enough?
According to the American Psychology Association’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey, 59% of participants said they recognize the consequences of their work stress. (apa.org) Unfortunately, it can be hard to know when and where to draw the line. How do we recognize when we are taking on too much? When is it okay to give ourselves the green light to take a step back?
Here are 5 ways to recognize job burnout:
1. Dreading going to work.
Not all of us are morning people, but if the thought of dragging yourself out of bed to start work is akin to going to the dentist, it may be a warning sign that you are overworked.
2. Physical changes or new health issues.
Work burnout can cause or exacerbate depression, anxiety, and sleep issues. Job stress can be a risk factor for high blood pressure and even type 2 diabetes. Listen to what your body is telling you.
3. Trouble concentrating.
Beware of too much juggling. Multi-tasking is a great skill to have in the workplace, but it has its limits. If you find yourself unable to focus on the tasks at hand and balls start dropping, it might indicate that you have taken on too much.
Everyone has a bad day. However, if the bad days turn into bad weeks and months? Alarm bells should start going off. Snapping at co-workers or family members on the regular? It’s a safe bet that workplace stress is the culprit.
5. Avoiding social situations.
Granted, we aren’t all extroverts. If you notice that you are favoring seclusion over your usual social activities, however, that can be a big sign of burnout.
Mentally checking “yes” to any of those 5 signs? Now let’s see how you can mitigate them.
Advocate for yourself.
Communicate with your co-workers, project managers, and supervisors. If you keep the same pace without complaint, the work will continue to appear. This is a good time to be a “squeaky wheel”.
Maybe the problem is you. Take charge of your own schedule and create a work-life balance that suits your needs. Recognize when you have volunteered yourself for too much of a workload. Don’t shy away from setting boundaries.
Finally? Take care of yourself.
Exercise regularly, eat well, and get some good sleep. Take walks, do some yoga, and meditate. Whatever works to help get you on the right track. Listen to what your body is telling you. While the definition of “quiet quitting” may vary, the benefits of recognizing and preventing job burnout do not.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021, June 5). Job burnout: How to Spot It and Take Action. (mayoclinic.org)
Fraga, Juli. (2019, May 18) How to Identify and Prevent Burnout . (healthline.com)