Unfortunately, work can be stressful. While there are things you can do to prevent career burnout, such as finding a healthy work-life balance, you may not even recognise the signs. It can often manifest in different ways for different people, not to mention the fact that each individual will notice varying levels of burnout.

The sooner you notice career burnout in yourself, the faster you can combat it. We’ve therefore outlined the top six signs of stress and depression in the workplace below, and provided suggestions on how to try and overcome burnout.

1. Fatigue and Lack of Concentration

Whether you suffer from insomnia, or sleep fine but nonetheless feel exhausted, stress can make you feel constantly tired. Hand in hand with this is a lack of concentration at work, and feeling disconnected. Having no motivation is another sign of stress, generally because your mind is trying to focus on too many things at once, and can’t concentrate on the task at hand.

With both tiredness and struggling to concentrate at work, it’s usually a good idea to speak to your boss about the issue, and maybe take some time off. You may also wish to contact your GP regarding the insomnia, to see if they can help. In terms of improving your motivation, this can be a little more tricky. Taking regular breaks can be beneficial, and perhaps see if there are any projects at work that particularly interest you and get involved with them. If you’re doing something that genuinely excites you, there’s a great chance that you’ll concentrate better.

2. Avoiding People 

You may not be the most sociable person at the best of times, but if you notice yourself cutting yourself off from your friends and family more than usual, this could be a sign of anxiety or depression. People suffering from such mental health disorders often feel like they are a burden on their loved ones, and tend to isolate themselves. And as those around you aren’t experiencing the same things as you, it can feel like you’re all alone.

If you’re able to, speaking with your friends, family and colleagues can help you feel less isolated. There are also lots of places you can go to for help if you’re suffering from mental health problems - Time to Change have put together a list of services you can use. For some people, it’s easier to discuss anxiety and depression with a stranger first, but having a support network in place is important too.

3. Giving In To Bad Habits

As with a lack of desire to socialise, you may be naturally more self indulgent than others - and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! But if you’re giving in to bad habits you would usually deny, such as overindulging in food, alcohol or smoking, it’s generally a sign of stress. And while these things may feel good and help you relax at the time, the long term ramifications are usually bad for your physical and mental health.

Getting out of a cycle of overindulgence is rarely as easy as deciding to stop giving in to bad habits! As with most signs of burnout, it can be helpful to speak to your loved ones about the issue, so that they can offer support. Perhaps ask them to go to the gym with you, or limit your alcohol intake to social drinks with friends. Making an effort to socialise can reduce your stress levels and improve your overall mental health. 

4. Emotional Outbursts

Another sign of stress and burnout is uncharacteristic bursts of emotion, from anger to inexplicable crying. If you find yourself experiencing emotional outbursts, it’s generally an indication that you need to take a step back from work, and focus on your mental health.

It may be worth contacting your doctor to discuss the changes you’re seeing, and speaking with friends and family is bound to help too. Taking holiday time, even if you don’t travel, can also be beneficial, as it will help you calm your mind and put things into perspective.

woman with a cold

5. Physical Illness

People experiencing burnout will commonly get ill on a regular basis, as stress can wear your body down. Whether it’s colds, headaches or sickness, take the time to recover and speak with your GP about your stress levels. 

If you’re suffering from career burnout to the extent that your health is suffering, it may be time to look into a new job. This could be a less stressful role, or something that offers a better work-life balance. 

6. Feelings of Inadequacy 

Burnout can make you feel like you’re no longer able to do your job. This can be linked to feelings of apathy, but you might also worry that you’re unsuitable for the role, and that someone else would be better placed to perform the job. And once you reach this stage, it can be very difficult to build your morale back up.

Just like the other signs of burnout, it’s a good idea to speak to your loved ones, as well as your boss, about your feelings. Just talking about your stress levels and other emotions can make a big difference, and people will almost certainly do their best to support you.

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