How to identify and prevent job burnout

Posted September 14, 2016

Job burnout comes not just from external factors but within. Which means you can work to prevent it. (Deseret Photo)

A mismatch between your work and your personality may have more to do with job burnout than your boss or co-workers, according a CBS News report.

Burnout is the physical, emotional and mental exhaustion from work, resulting in lacking motivation, poor job efficiency and feelings of helplessness, the story said.

Chronic burnout can lead to depression, anxiety, headaches, gastrointestinal infections, sleep disturbance, neck pain, alcoholism and cardiovascular disease, Business Insider reported. Burnout is also closely tied to character traits such as neuroticism and low self-esteem.

Sometimes burnout comes from “existential distraction,” such as not doing what you want to do or act on what motivates you.

Many can’t afford to quit a job that’s a mismatch, but that doesn’t mean your job situation can’t be improved, CBS News noted. Don’t wait until you’re burned out to act, advised, as “it's potentially preventable, but almost impossible to overcome once you're experiencing it.”

Some tips for preventing burnout are offered by Business Insider,, CBS News and

Alter your expectations

Typically, everyone starts at the bottom rung of their career field. Expecting otherwise is not healthy.

Similarly, if you had romanticized your job and burned out on the romance, try to shift your mindset. See challenges in your work to be conquered, and get satisfaction out of that.

Overcome perfectionism

When perfectionism is taken to an unhealthy extreme, it creates negative feelings when we don’t achieve our goals and lessens job passion.

Don’t isolate yourself

Workplace friendships increase your innovation and lessen the link between unhealthy perfectionism and burnout. It could be as simple as asking a co-worker out for a coffee break.

But be discerning about whom you hang out with, prioritizing people who energize you.

Switch up your routine and environment

If you can move your office every now and then, do so. If you can’t, try re-decorating your current one.

Take breaks

Take time during the day to reinvigorate yourself, pausing work to rest your eyes or taking a walk to keep fit.

On a grander scale, use your vacation days as well to catch a break from work.

Have interests and hobbies outside the office

Aside from the reported effects of having a hobby for job happiness, it also helps you create an identity outside of work, which lessens the chance of burnout.

It may even be a way to pursue what it is you really love to do, if part of your burnout comes from “existential distraction.”

Try not to be pessimistic

Pessimism is deeply linked to burnout, as it produces more stress hormones and means less chance of seeking out support, feedback and challenges at work. “What we believe about our environments directly affects our energy, health and well-being — regardless of the reality,” noted Business Insider.

Email:, Twitter: @Sarahsonofander.


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