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Job burnout? Here's how to beat it

Last updated on: February 8, 2011 11:02 IST

Job burnout? Here's how to beat it

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Is your job putting you under a lot of stress? Do you feel drained of all the life pleasures? Does your job feel extremely boring and painfully empty? Does life feel stressful and unbalanced? If so, you may be struggling with job burnout which makes your job look dull and drains all your enthusiasm.

Job burnout can affect everyone at one point or another. It doesn't matter if you are a blue collared worker, senior management or even the owner of the company. Demands of the work place can affect an individual both mentally and physically. Many people are working extra hours and bearing the brunt of the same. In such fast paced time, job burnout has become the number one cause for employee attrition.

What is Job Burnout?

Job burnout (or job depression) is a state of physical, emotional and psychological fatigue caused by long-term exposure to demanding work situations. In extreme cases, your work performance, health, and personal life suffer. When a person has suffered job burnout he/she will have feeling of cynicism and negativity. Even people with extremely high motivation have fallen prey to this 21st century disease.

Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh/ Dominic Xavier



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The symptoms

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What are the symptoms of Job Burnout?

As job burnout is more of a mental state, a lot of its symptoms are also more mental than physical. But extreme cases of job burnout also show physical signs of it.

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Occasional feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction
  • Anger, depression and anxiety
  • Emotional fatigue and depletion of energy
  • Feeling of no control over your work or life
  • Insomnia
  • Forgetfulness
  • Low productivity at work
  • Frequent headaches, back pain, muscle aches
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits.


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The causes

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What are the causes of job burnout?

There are many causes of burnout. The major ones are related to the job itself. Here are a few:

  • Lack of recognition or rewards for the work done
  • Vague or extremely demanding job expectations
  • Dull and Monotonous work day in and day out
  • Lack of breaks or vacations
  • Insufficient salary and other rewards
  • Being stuck in the wrong job.

It is a known fact that job burnout (as the name suggests) happens at the job. However, there are various lifestyle factors that can lead to it as well. For instance:

  • Lack of personal and supportive relationships
  • Working too hard in fear of mass layoffs
  • Not getting enough of sleep
  • Irregular diet

Certain personality traits also contribute towards your experience of stress, making you more susceptible to burnout. While much of ones personality is inborn, it's important to be aware of how your personal tendencies can contribute to your stress response, so you can adjust accordingly:

  • Perfectionistic tendencies; nothing is ever good enough
  • Reluctance to delegate to others; the need to be in control
  • Pessimistic view of yourself and the world
  • Type A personality; being impatient with people and life's minor hassles, and having trouble keeping from lashing out at people.


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Job burnout vs job stress

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Job burnout is not excessive stress. Stress is a major contributing factor but not the whole story.

You may realize that everything at your job is going smoothly and you have cordial relationship with your boss but you may still feel a burnout.

Stress is a result of excessive job involvement but burn is a result of job disengagement. Stress will result in loss of energy but a burnout will cause a loss of motivation.

What should I do about it?

Recuperation from job burnout is possible, but it requires changes and takes a lot time. If you feel that the above symptoms are quite true to yourself and think that there is an impending burnout, here are a few tips that you can implement:

Click on NEXT for tips on how to beat job burnout...



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Take a break

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Take a vacation from work. Sometimes job burnout is a result of constant work and no play. In such a situation, it is better to take a break and do something else.

You can also set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Turn off your phone, get away from your laptop/computer, and stop checking email.



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Start your day the right way

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When you wake up in the morning, take 10 to 15 minutes to sit in silence each morning. During this time, breath deeply and write in your journal or read something that inspires you.


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Focus on relationships

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Make sure that you have a supportive relationship with your colleagues and family. Relationships bring new insight and reduce the negativity in life.


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Draw boundaries

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Learn to draw boundaries between work and home. Don't bring work at home. Make sure you say 'No' to irrelevant things.

This allows you to say 'Yes' to the things that you truly want to do. Lessen your work load by delegating and prioritizing.



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Take care of your body

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Your body is the powerhouse that keeps you going at work. Irregular diet and not getting enough sleep is few of the many ways you will ruin it.

Remember, 'When wealth is lost nothing is lost, but when health is lost everything is lost'. Make sure you are fuelling your body properly and giving it ample time to rest.



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Learn new things

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Most of the time job burnout is a result of monotonous work. You can speak to your boss about the same and make yourself get a different profile so that you can learn new things.

You can even take vocational courses that will help you improve on your job skills and who knows you may even get a promotion for the same.



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Learn stress management techniques

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There are a variety of effective techniques for conquering stress. Meditation, yoga, exercise, pranayam, etc. Anyone can learn to use these relaxation techniques to control stress.

It is important to know if you are suffering from job burnout to take necessary action. Evaluate your situation, and find resources to combat burnout today!


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