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Burnout Syndrome: Learn how to prevent professional burnout

Physical and psychological burnout is common in the workplace. Find out how the Burnout Syndrome can be avoided!

Burnout Syndrome – the skeleton of a woman in neon with rays around her brain.

Were you aware that mental disorders are linked to about 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK?

Despite being a common problem, they’re still treated as taboo by companies.

This is because these disorders are easily associated with madness and even “fussiness” —, which bears no relation to reality. For this reason, it’s increasingly common to see professionals with the burnout syndrome.

In this post, we’ll deal with the impact that the disorder has on the modern world, how it can affect companies and the main symptoms to be aware of. Keep reading and check them out!

After all, what does burnout syndrome mean?

The burnout syndrome, or professional burnout syndrome, is considered a psychic disorder defined in 1974 by German psychologist Hebert J. Freudenberger.

It is associated with a state of emotional tension and chronic stress, both caused by the work conditions offered to workers. This covers the physical, emotional and psychological aspects.

It’s worth clarifying an important point, the origin of the term. Burnout is the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. Not to be confused with stress, which may appear in different contexts, while burnout is caused by exhaustion regarding one’s work activity or environment.

What can professional burnout affect?

The costs of professional burnout are high both for organizations as well as for their employees. People who have this syndrome usually experience a drastic decline in productivity, they miss opportunities, are more prone to make mistakes, are late in delivering projects, etc.

In turn, the business is also affected. It begins to suffer from work-related accidents and an increase in workers’ health expenses, begins to present problems with poor management (depending on the person with the syndrome) and high employee turnover, etc.

The consequences of this are the loss of customers, employee health problems and reduced organizational competitiveness.

What are the main burnout syndrome symptoms?

Burnout can be identified from the smallest signs. However, over time, they become increasingly evident, and that’s when the burnout syndrome breaks out. Below are a few of the main symptoms.

Significant decline in productivity

Imagine that nothing is what it used to be. Productivity has declined and you can no longer get any work done during business hours.

This, in turn, creates a buildup of tasks, which makes you even more anxious and stressed out because you can’t achieve the desired success.

The decline in production is one of the first symptoms of burnout and is usually followed by a low quality in performing tasks that used to be carried out easily.

Feeling of helplessness

And speaking of stress, the buildup of tasks and responsibilities and the constant pressures associated with not taking advantage of employee skills cause feelings of helplessness.

Therefore, the lack of expectations contributes to the workplace becoming a burden for certain people. On several occasions, this generates a physical and emotional collapse and a decline in self-confidence, and employees feel that their work no longer makes sense.


Headaches, loss of appetite, tachycardia, low immunity and shortness of breath are only a few of the problems caused by somatization, which is the physical manifestation of mental disorders.

When they notice that the presence of certain illnesses is frequent, without any apparent reason, employers must observe their workplace. The manifestation of this symptom depends on their level of involvement with it.

While certain people are able to manage the situation well, others can’t. However, it’s necessary to emphasize that this doesn’t mean a lack of willpower.

Mood swings

Have you ever asked something to a person at work and this person gives you an “irritable” reply? You can notice that in most cases, this reaction is linked to burnout and work-related demands.

If you are feeling the symptoms, and anything irritates you, makes you more sensitive or sad, try to identify if the problem at work is crossing over the barriers and interfering in socializing with coworkers.

How do you treat the problem?

The World Health Organization classifies Burnout syndrome as chronic workplace stress. It defends a treatment provided through psychotherapy and the use of medication, such as antidepressants and/or anxiolytics, which must be prescribed by a doctor.

However, those suffering from burnout can help themselves with a few simple attitudes applied to everyday life.

Disconnect from obligations

Disconnect from social media and from work whenever you’re away from it. Excessive information to which we are exposed creates even more stress and immediacy in our everyday life, aggravating the psychological burnout.

Nowadays, there’s a name for excessive technology and social media in our daily lives: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). This problem is associated with the fact that we’re connected 24 hours a day, which creates anxiety and moodiness and contributes to burnouts.

Enjoy your downtime

Make sure that during your downtime you practice physical activities and be around those who make you feel good. Physical exercise, for example, is a great remedy to combat stress, not to mention the health benefits it provides.

Therefore, enjoy your time off from work. Even if you don’t do anything, you can rest. This will help you have the strength to fight burnout symptoms and to avoid stress and anxiety buildup in your routine.

Seek help from your superiors

Is work wearing you down in such a way that you don’t even feel like going? A good way of dealing with this issue is by talking to your superiors.

Open up to them about the situation, talk about solutions (such as cutting down on your workload) and if possible, ask for a leave of absence, or the anticipation of your vacation period.

Transparency is crucial in order to gain the trust of your superiors and to alert them about the workplace’s organization.

In several situations, the problem lies in the business format and the pressures applied to employees. Thus, a conversation might be essential to circumvent the situation and prevent other people from suffering from the problem.

Why is mental health so important in the workplace?

Human beings are not machines. We feel emotions, get tired and like to be appreciated. Therefore, the burnout syndrome serves as an alert for organizations to handle workplace mental health with more care.

If your mind is tired, it loses its efficiency and performance. Therefore, there’s no use in working more, as the results will probably be below expectations. This increases frustration and important decisions are postponed.

Author François de la Rochefoucauld has an interesting quote that truly portrays this issue:

When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

At the slightest sign of burnout syndrome, seek appropriate treatment and practices to help you.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed our post!

Also, learn how to improve your work routine by applying the GUT matrix to prioritize tasks and projects.