Tips for Recognizing and Addressing Burnout

People across the country are coping with high levels of stress, and it’s causing many of them to experience “burnout.”  This is a state of complete physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion.

While burnout is often associated with overwhelming work demands, it can also stem from unrelenting personal responsibilities, such as caring for children, aging parents, or a sick partner.

These situations often involve an unmanageable workload, too many different tasks, unclear expectations, stressful dynamics, and an inability to control or change the situation.

While symptoms of burnout tend to come on gradually, they tend to grow worse over time. Left unchecked, burnout has a way of harming all facets of life. For example, it can impact:

  • Mental health, by triggering a sense of emptiness, apathy, hopelessness, and overwhelm.
  • Physical health, by triggering frequent headaches, flu-like symptoms, and exhaustion.
  • Behavioral health, by causing people to feel short-tempered, moody, unfocused, and disorganized—and more prone to drug and alcohol abuse or disordered eating. 

Over time, burnout can become so debilitating that it interferes with a person’s ability to cope with everyday life.

The following self-care tips can help you reduce the symptoms of burnout and boost your resilience.

  • Get enough sleep
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Get daily exercise
  • Take regular breaks
  • Enforce healthy boundaries
  • Reach out to trusted friends, family, and coworkers

However, self-care strategies sometimes fall short because they fail to address the root of the problem—the situation that’s causing the stress or preventing you from finding time to care for yourself.

To address these stressors, it’s helpful to have open, honest conversations with your boss, your partner, or other family members about the situation and how it’s affecting you.  

It can also be helpful to revisit your goals and expectations. Sometimes burnout can help you identify unhealthy situations and prompt you to find an opportunity that’s better aligned with your skills, talents, passions, or personal goals.

It’s also important to consider professional help. While burnout is not a medical condition, its symptoms can sometimes resemble more serious conditions, such as depression. Counseling services can help you assess your situation and make a plan for moving forward.

Your Assistance Program is here to help. To learn more about these free and confidential services, or to access them, please visit Member Support.