How To Recover From Burnout

Do you dread going to work every day? Do you feel drained and overwhelmed? Are you always stressing over the amount of work you have to do? You may be suffering from burnout.
Your body and mind can only take a certain amount of being overworked and overstressed before it gets to your mental and physical health, leaving you in a state of burnout.

What Is Burnout?

Originally defined as a “state of vital exhaustion,” WHO now defines Burnout as an occupational phenomenon and a syndrome developing strictly from chronic workplace stress.
In other words, burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion caused by excessive and unmanaged stress in the workplace. Suffering from burnout can leave you feeling drained, unmotivated, and disconnected.

What Are the Signs of Burnout?

We live a very fast-paced life that’s bound to take a toll on us. Some days we may feel overloaded or underappreciated, and it’s important to differentiate between occasional stress, which is a regular occurrence in everyone’s life, and between burnout.

Physical Signs:

A person with burnout usually experiences a general feeling of tiredness, lack of energy, and fatigue that isn’t cured by sleep. Due to lowered immunity, they may also suffer from different health issues like high blood pressure or increased illness.

Other Common Signs:

  • Loss or unnatural increase in appetite and digestive problems.
  • Unstable sleeping habits.
  • Frequent headaches or general body aches.

Emotional and Mental Signs:

Burnout also causes mental and emotional damage, like anxiety, low self-esteem, self-doubt, and lack of motivation. A person with burnout also experiences a feeling of detachment and loneliness and starts developing a negative attitude and a cynical outlook on life.

Behavioral Signs:

Apart from the mental and physical symptoms, a person with burnout displays a pattern of negative change in their behavior. Procrastinating, low productivity, and underperforming are some of the most common signs of burnout.

Other Common Signs:

  • Isolating yourself from your social circle.
  • Taking out your anger on others.
  • Ignoring your work responsibilities.
  • Coming late, leaving early, or skipping your work altogether.

Stress Versus Burnout

While burnout results from unrelenting stress, the two are different and independent conditions.


Stress involves too much pressure from your work or personal life, which ends up being very demanding on your physical or mental state. However, a stressed person can still get work done and have everything under control by putting in a lot of effort and exerting significant amounts of energy.


Burnout, on the other hand, is a chronic condition that develops through prolonged and excessive mounting stress in the workplace. A person suffering from burnout sees no hope of positive change and cannot put in the effort to get his work done.

What Are the Causes of Burnout?

Burnout is mainly caused by excessive workplace stress. However, other lifestyle or personal factors may contribute to burnout. While each of us is different and experiences causes of stress unique to our own lives, here are some of the most common causes of burnout:
  • Overly demanding jobs that require unrealistic amounts of work.
  • Unclear work responsibilities or instructions for your tasks, causing you to feel lost and directionless.
  • Lack of reward or recognition, causes you to feel unappreciated and leads to low self-esteem.
  • Toxic work environments, like an unsupportive boss, negative coworkers, or an uncomfortable office.
  • Perfectionism, or feeling like whatever you achieve, is never good enough no matter how great it is.
  • Overwork and not having enough time for relaxing or socializing to recharge your energy.

Can Burnout Lead to Mental Health Issues?

WHO considers burnout to be an occupational phenomenon and not a medical condition. It’s more than just feeling tired and stressed in the workplace.
If left untreated, burnout can lead to several serious mental disorders like depression, anxiety disorder, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

How to Recover From Burnout?

Attempting to soldier through the stress and exhaustion will only worsen your burnout, causing more physical and mental damage. While they aren’t quick fixes, below are a few tips to help you overcome burnout and start feeling healthy and positive again:

Tip 1: Admit to the Problem

Admitting to having a problem is usually half the way down the road to fixing it. If you notice signs and symptoms of burnout, then it’s time to pause and think about changing direction for your well-being.

Tip 2: Talk to Trustworthy People

Sometimes, it can be hard for us to open up about our problems, especially when we’re at our weakest. However, confiding in others can help us see things from a different perspective and is usually great help.
If you’re feeling the effects of burnout, consider seeking professional help from a life coach or therapist. Therapy can dramatically reduce stress and help us put our thoughts in order.
Involving a trusted loved one can also help us connect and feel less alone in times of overwhelming thoughts or emotions.

Tip 3: Re-Evaluate Your Work Life

Workplace stress is usually the primary cause of burnout. If your mundane job brings you down or your unrealistically demanding one causes you constant stress, ‌think about changing your toxic work environment or finding a new job that better suits your skills.
We know how intimidating the idea of change can be, but quitting and finding a job that you like is the most effective way to treat burnout.

Tip 4: Find the Right Work-Life Balance

Even if you have the job of your dreams, if you’re overworking, you’ll eventually burn out.
If you create the right balance between your work and personal life, you’ll be more productive at your job while still having your stress-free personal life to enjoy.

Tip 5: Prioritize Self-Care

Taking good care of your well-being should always be your top priority. You should never compromise your mental or physical health for a job or anyone else.
Self-care is one of the primary tools to treat and prevent burnout. Take a vacation to relax and clear your mind whenever you feel stressed. Make a habit of exercising and eating healthy. Take some time off your phone and social media.


Burnout can be hard to recognize as we’re used to working in a fast-paced environment and the stress that comes with it. However, it’s important to note that, unlike stress, burnout doesn’t go away.
Identifying and addressing burnout requires conscious thought and active work because, ultimately, the best person to help you is yourself. Always remember that no job is worth your mental and physical well-being.