Burnout is a state of chronic stress that generally leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, doubt, frustration, and a lack of motivation. When people are burnt out at work they might feel that they have no control over the situation and eventually start dreading being at the workplace. Burnout is not something that happens suddenly, but it is a gradual, insidious process that may eventually lead to physical and mental health illnesses. Job stress does not only happen if you are overworked and can’t keep up, but also if you have little to no work, or work that is mundane and repetitive.

How can you prevent burnout? It is very important to know what signs to look out for so that you can start taking care of yourself before you start experiencing health difficulties such as having a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression and other difficulties. Some signs of job burnout are:

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • A short attention span
  • Pessimism
  • Poor job performance
  • Conflicts
  • Unhealthy coping strategies
  • Constant thoughts about work
  • Health problems
  • A desire to quit

If you feel that you are experiencing job burnout, it is important to take immediate action. This might mean speaking to your boss or HR manager about how you are feeling, or speaking to a health care professional. It may also mean taking some days off, delegating certain tasks to your colleagues or being involved in new tasks. It is also helpful to dedicate more time for the things that you enjoy doing. If you’ve taken several measures but can’t seem to feel better, is it worth holding on to your current job or would you be better off in a new environment?

Claire is a gestalt psychotherapist at Willingness. She works with adolescents and adults. She has a special interest in mental health. She can be contacted on claire@willingness.com.mt.