Understanding and Overcoming Occupational burnout

Evidence Based Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr Rabia Akram, MD Written by - Dr. Diksha Sangle


What is Occupational burnout?

A state of chronic physical and emotional weariness brought on by extended stress, especially stress connected to one’s work or occupation, is known as occupational burnout.

This article aims to provide an in-depth analysis by highlighting its definition, causes, and effects. Understanding this can help us identify the warning signs and symptoms in ourselves and others, enabling us to take preventative measures to reduce its negative impacts.1Overview| Researched based study from

A state of chronic physical and emotional weariness brought on by extended stress, especially stress connected to one's work or occupation, is known as occupational burnout.


Symptoms and signs of Occupational burnout

Occupational burnout symptoms fall into the following categories:

  • Physical signs
  • Emotional signs
  • Behavior signs

Physical signs

  • Chronic fatigue and exhaustion
  • Regular headaches or stress in the muscles
  • Changes in sleep habits or insomnia
  • Decreased immunity, increased disease vulnerability, fluctuating weight, and changes in appetite.

Emotional signs

  • Include feelings of emotional numbness, detachment, and cynicism.
  • Increased anger and irritation.
  • Decreased motivation and excitement for the job.
  • Long-lasting sadness or hopelessness.
  • Reduced self-esteem and a sense of unworthiness.

Behavior signs

  • Less participation and withdrawal from social interactions.
  • Inability to start or finish work and procrastination.
  • The use of coping methods (such as substance addiction and overeating) has increased
  • Decreased performance and productivity at work.
  • Disregarding needs and pursuits outside of work.1Symptoms| Researched based study from


Causes of an Occupational burnout

  • Excessive work hours and an overabundance of responsibilities.
  • Tight timeframes and unrealistic targets.
  • Need adequate help and resources to fulfill job requirements.
  • Limited autonomy and power to make decisions in one’s role.
  • Micromanagement and a need for more confidence from managers.
  • Rigid work hours and a poor work-life balance.
  • You are feeling unable to influence job activities or results.
  • Need more social support from mentors and colleagues.
  • Lack of appreciation and feedback for one’s efforts at work.
  • Misalignment between one’s values and those that the organization espouses.
  • Lack of meaning or purpose in one’s employment.
  • Moral issues and conflicting goals.
  • Finding a good balance between a job and personal life is complicated.
  • Being connected constantly and unable to put work aside.
  • Need more options for hobbies, recreation, and self-care.
  • Fear of losing one’s job or of uncertain working conditions.
  • Several organizational changes and layoffs.
  • Roles and duties in jobs are constantly changing and need to be clarified.
  • Limited possibilities for improving one’s career.2Causes| Researched based study from ,3Causes| Researched based study from ,4Causes| Researched based study from ,5Causes| Researched based study from


Recognizing Occupational burnout as distinct from temporary stress or fatigue

Duration and persistence

  • Chronic exhaustion that lasts for a long time distinguishes it from transitory stress or weariness, which usually go away as the stressor is eliminated or the person gets enough rest.

Impact on multiple areas of life

  • Unlike temporary stress or fatigue, which are more transient and primarily linked to a particular incident or scenario, chronic stress or exhaustion impacts many parts of a person’s life, including employment, relationships, and personal well-being.

Emotional separation and cynicism

  • While brief stress or exhaustion may not always result in these changes, it frequently causes emotional detachment and a negative attitude towards work, colleagues, or clients.

Loss of sense of accomplishment

  • In contrast to transitory stress, which may not significantly affect productivity, it is characterized by a persistent sense of diminished efficacy.


Complications of untreated Occupational burnout syndrome

A decline in physical and mental health

  • It may significantly impact a person’s physical and mental health.
  • Chronic fatigue, headaches, gastrointestinal difficulties, cardiovascular diseases, anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse are just a few health conditions more likely to develop if burnout is left untreated.

Decreased productivity and performance at work

  • It reduces one’s capacity to deliver their finest work.
  • It may result in lower output, diminished focus, other errors, decreased creativity and problem-solving abilities, and worsened job performance.
  • A performance deterioration might significantly impact career advancement and job satisfaction.

Relationship tension and social isolation

  • It may affect social interactions both within and outside of the job. Relationships with coworkers, superiors, friends, and family may suffer as a result of a person becoming emotionally cold, cynical, and impatient.
  • Social exclusion contributes to a sense of detachment and exacerbates loneliness.

Rising presentism and absenteeism

  • Repeated absences from work caused by physical and mental health problems commonly result in increased absenteeism.
  • Their lack of cognitive engagement at work reduces productivity even if they are present.

High turnover rates

  • If they want a better working atmosphere, employees might start looking elsewhere. The expenses of finding, selecting, and training new staff can be high for businesses.

Negative workplace atmosphere

  • It may result in lower morale, more disputes, less cooperation and teamwork, and decreased employee involvement.6Complications| Researched based study from ,7Complications| Researched based study from ,8Complications| Researched based study from ,9Complications| Researched based study from


How can you recover from Occupational Burnout?

How can you recover from Occupational burnout?

Recognize and express gratitude

  • Acknowledge and accept that you’re feeling burnt out.
  • Understand that it’s a normal and acceptable reaction to ongoing stress and unrealistic work demands.

Consult a professional

  • Speak with a medical expert or seek out mental health treatments that are skilled in handling this.
  • Talk about your signs, worries, and experiences to get advice.
  • It can offer a secure environment to investigate coping mechanisms and create a specialized recovery strategy.

Take time off and rest

  • Prioritize sleep and relaxation first so that your body and mind can heal.
  • If necessary, consider taking a leave of absence or working fewer hours.
  • Take part in hobbies, outdoor vacations, and other activities that encourage restorative sleep.

Set boundaries and evaluate your priorities

  • Think about your principles, objectives, and aspirations.
  • Assess whether the workplace you are in now fits with your priorities and values.

Practice self-care

  • Participate in activities that promote well-being and self-care, such as physical activity, a balanced diet, and enough sleep.
  • Include stress-relieving techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

Create a network of support

  • To share your experiences and seek help, speak to your friends, family, or support groups.
  • Make connections with people who have undergone similar experiences.

Gradually resuming work

  • With your boss, go over a gradual return to work strategy.
  • To ensure an adequate adjustment, be clear about your requirements and restrictions.
  • Start with fewer hours worked or a lighter workload, then gradually add more when your energy and resilience return.

Set reasonable goals

  • Get proficient at setting priorities.
  • Prioritize quality above quantity, and acknowledge even the most minor successes.
  • Continuously assess and modify.
  • Check in with yourself frequently to gauge your well-being and stress levels.
  • Adjust as necessary to keep a good work-life balance.11Treatment| Researched based study from


Preventing a burnout

Care for oneself and stress reduction

  • Give self-care activities like exercise, enough sleep, and good nutrition a priority.
  • Practice stress-relieving techniques like mindfulness, deep breathing, or meditation.
  • Set boundaries between your personal and professional lives to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Regularly slow down to rest and refresh

  • Set reasonable workload and boundary expectations.
  • Discuss the workload and deadlines with your coworkers and superiors.
  • Learn to assign work and ask for support as necessary.
  • Set reasonable expectations and refrain from over-committing.
  • Use time management strategies.

Improve the support systems

  • Encourage teamwork and honest communication at work.
  • Ask for help from peers, managers, or mentors.
  • Create a solid social network for support outside of work.
  • Promote the organization’s supportive policies and tools.
  • Make responsibilities and expectations clear.

Identify roles and job descriptions

  • Clarify your expectations and responsibilities.
  • Review and discuss goals and performance evaluations frequently.
  • Promote work-life balance
  • Take regular breaks or holidays to rest and revitalize.
  • Take part in additional interests and activities that make you happy and fulfilled.

Set limits between your personal and professional lives

  • Create a positive working atmosphere.
  • Create an environment where work-life balance and employee well-being are valued.
  • Encourage open conversation, criticism, and appreciation.
  • Encourage cooperation, teamwork, and a positive environment.
  • Provide options for growth and professional development.

Constantly assess and manage stress levels

  • Keep an eye out for your personal stress levels and burnout symptoms.
  • Assess your job satisfaction and fit with your values regularly.
  • Seek professional help or counseling as necessary
  • Encourage organizational changes to address systemic problems.10Prevention| Researched based study from
Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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