Mental Health

Stages of Burnout: What to Know and Look Out For

Stages of Burnout: Woman Tired at her Desk

The physical and emotional effects of burnout can happen to anyone, and being aware of the stages of burnout can significantly help in preventing the condition from arising. Burnout at work can quickly lead to problems at home, and it’s best to address these situations sooner than later as to avoid the unwanted consequences it can bring. Here’s a detailed look at the stages of burnout, as well as what to look out for in the workplace.

Stages of Burnout at Work

Nothing feels more laborious than experiencing burnout at work. When we let unresolved stress negatively affect our work lives, this fatigue can quickly zap any enjoyment out of what we do, and cause tedium to set in. As opposed to ordinary fatigue, burnout threatens our ability to perform day-to-day responsibilities, and can lead to severe physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Let’s take a look at the stages of burnout at work.

  • Excessive Drive & Ambition – The first stage of burnout is often regarded as the “honeymoon phase”, where a person feels intense drive and motivation to succeed in a position, and to ensure employee satisfaction. In this stage, most people are aware of predicted stresses that may come with the position, but can be uncertain of unforeseen challenges that may await.
  • Onset of Stress – With this ambition is a fueled desire to work your hardest for an extended period, and initial stress may set in. Symptoms of this stress may be anxiety, general fatigue, irritability, change in diets and routines, and lack of sleep, among others.
  • Neglecting Needs – A major sign that burnout may be setting in is when a person begins to neglect their needs. If work becomes a more pressing matter than normal daily routines and responsibilities, this burden can quickly accumulate and go unnoticed, as well as affect other areas such as social endeavors and family relations.
  • Denial & Withdrawal – Denial can be a sign of chronic stress setting in, especially when someone fails to accept responsibility and starts to blame others for their situation. This may soon be followed by a withdrawal from friends and family, where once enjoyable social interactions now feel like a burden.
  • Chronic Stress & Depression– When a person begins to experience stress on a daily basis, the symptoms may also grow more intense. Signs of chronic stress include depression, anger or behavioral changes, chronic exhaustion, apathy, lack of interest, decreased drive, resentfulness, and physical illness. 

Signs of Employee Burnout

It can be difficult to pinpoint the signs of employee burnout, but here are some ways you can familiarize yourself with the symptoms, as well as some general signs you’re overwhelmed:

  • Exhaustion
  • Anxiety and/or Depression
  • Change in Appetite
  • Heart palpitations
  • Inability to focus
  • Lack of sleep
  • Productivity issues
  • Lack of social activity

It’s important to note that many of these symptoms and issues can arise from other factors that may not be the result of burnout. However, understanding the signs you’re overwhelmed in any given circumstance can go a long way in making healthy and productive changes to your lifestyle.

How to Come Back from Burnout

Acknowledgement is perhaps the first step in knowing how to come back from burnout. Once you understand that the situation is dire, only then can you find the help needed to get you back on track. In these instances, it’s important to talk with your employer and be honest about the situation. Take time off, and know your limits when going forward.

Other general ways to overcome fatigue and stress include fitness, setting a schedule, a balanced sleep routine, a healthy diet, and considering counseling.

Synergy Health Programs is providing leading comprehensive mental health services for anyone dealing with depression, anxiety, or burnout. We offer outpatient behavioral health services uniquely tailored to individual needs, with all of the necessary resources needed for a successful treatment.

Contact us today for any questions or comments regarding our mental health services.

January 26th, 2022