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The Ultimate Guide to Preventing Burnout in Singapore (2022)

The Ultimate Guide to Preventing Burnout in Singapore

In this article:

  1. What is Burnout?

  2. 6 Signs You are Suffering from Burnout

  3. What are the 5 Stages of Burnout?

  4. What Is an Example of Burnout?

  5. What are the Physical Symptoms of Burnout?

  6. What are the Mental and Emotional Signs of Burnout?

  7. Is Burnout a Mental Illness?

  8. Burnout vs. Stress

  9. Burnout vs. Depression

  10. Burnout vs. Anxiety

  11. Burnout or Lazy?

  12. Burnout at Work

  13. Burnout as a Student

  14. Burnout as a Caregiver

  15. Burnout during Covid-19

  16. How Do I Recover from Burnout?

  17. What are the Stages of Burnout Recovery?

  18. Who Do I See For Burnout

  19. When to Seek Professional Help for Burnout? Burnout FAQs

What is Burnout?

You may be suffering from burnout if you often find yourself feeling overloaded, weary, or unable to perform at your best.

It is a state of emotional, bodily, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged and severe stress. As the stress mounts, you begin to lose interest and drive in the activity at hand. [1]

6 Signs You are Suffering from Burnout

1. Exhaustion. People who have been impacted feel depleted and emotionally fatigued, unable to cope, tired and down, and lacking in vitality. Some of the physical symptoms include digestive problems, fatigue, headaches, and nausea. [2]

2. Lack of Motivation at Work. You might find your occupation increasingly difficult and irritating. You may become cynical about their working environment or their coworkers. At the same time, individuals may begin to emotionally distance themselves from their profession

3. Reduced Performance at Work. Burnout mostly impacts daily responsibilities at work, at home, or when caring for family members. People who are burnt out are dissatisfied with their jobs, find it difficult to focus, which reduces performance. [3]

4. Facing Cognitive Problems. Persistent stress can impair your capability to pay attention and concentrate. When we are under stress, our attention focuses only on the negative factor that we perceive as a threat. You may notice that you are becoming more forgetful and have a harder time remembering things. [4]

5. Pessimism. You may find that you are feeling more negative emotions such as frustration, cynicism, irritation, than usual. [5]

6. Dissatisfaction. You may be unsatisfied, if not trapped, in your job, social, or family life.

What are the 5 Stages of Burnout?

Burnout symptoms vary from person to person, as with any illness, however, the following five stages are typically observed [6]:

1. Honeymoon Phase

You may begin to encounter anticipated strains of the effort you're conducting during this initial phase of burnout, so it's critical to begin practising good coping techniques, such as taking practical actions to promote your wellness alongside your professional endeavours.

2. Onset of Stress

The second stage begins with the realisation that some days are more difficult than others.

You may notice a decline in your optimism, as well as frequent stress symptoms impacting you physically, intellectually, or emotionally.

3. Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is the third stage of burnout. This is a significant shift in your stress levels, from motivation to enduring stress on a regular basis.

You may also have more severe symptoms than in stage two.

4. Burnout

Burnout itself enters stage four, where symptoms become serious. In this situation, it is often impossible to carry on as usual since coping becomes progressively difficult.

We have our own set of tolerance limitations, and it is critical that we seek help at this point.

5. Habitual Burnout

Habitual burnout is the last stage of burnout.

This indicates that the symptoms of burnout are so ingrained in your life that you are more likely to have serious chronic mental, physical, or emotional conditions than to have stress or burnout on occasion.

What Is an Example of Burnout?

Doctors and nurses who give their lives for the sake of others are frequently "burned out" — weary, tired, and unable to cope. [7]

However, the word is used for more than just these helpful professions as an illustration of the evil side of self-sacrifice.

It can impact everyone, from busy employees and housewives to stressed-out career-driven professionals and superstars.

What are the Physical Symptoms of Burnout?

Burnout causes a host of physical symptoms, which should be warning signs for those struggling to cope. [8]

  • Headaches

  • Gastrointestinal disorders

  • Hypertension

  • Disrupted sleep cycle

  • Low immunity

  • Muscle pains

What are the Mental and Emotional Signs of Burnout?

People who are burned out as a result of work-related stress may develop mental burnout and exhibit any or all of the following symptoms [9]:

  • Reduced performance

  • Anxiety

  • Feelings of detachment

  • Difficulty in concentrating

  • Fatigue

  • Increased irritability

  • Pessimism

Is Burnout a Mental Illness?

Burnout is characterised as experiencing sensations of both physical and emotional tiredness as a result of work-related stress. [10]

Burnout is increasingly recognized as a "syndrome" with predictable behaviours and symptoms. This means that patients may now attribute their disease to employment stress. [11]

The WHO defines it as "factors influencing health status or interaction with health services" - which covers reasons why individuals seek health care but are not classified as diseases or health problems. [12]

Burnout vs. Stress

A state of emotional or bodily strain is referred to as stress. It can be triggered by any incident or idea that causes you to feel dissatisfied, furious, or anxious.

Stress and burnout are two different phenomena. They may seem similar, but it is imperative to understand the difference between the two so you can take appropriate steps to treat the problem.

When you are stressed, you feel unable to deal with the pressures of life.

However, when going through a burnout, you may lose interest in wanting to overcome any challenge.

You begin to feel despondent that your efforts have been in vain, and that you have "lost" the war against your worries. [13]

While stress is a mental and emotional state, burnout is a condition. [14]

You may wish to read our article on stress management and allostatic load, which is the effect of chronic stress.

Burnout vs. Depression

Certain symptoms that are thought to be indicative of burnout can also be found in depression. [15]

These symptoms can include:

  • Extreme tiredness

  • Feeling demotivated

  • Decreased performance

As the symptoms are similar, some persons may be labelled with burnout when they are actually suffering from depression. [16]

There are, nevertheless, significant distinctions between the two.

Burnout can result from chronic stress and generate overwhelming emotions of mental and physical tiredness. It might make it difficult to carry out routine tasks like employment, caring, or managing many commitments. [17]

Although burnout can be emotionally draining, the symptoms are typically transient and dissipate when you take a longer break or devote more energy to things that you like.

Depression, unlike burnout, does not usually have a single cause. A specific stress can sometimes create depression, but your depression may last long after the stimulus has passed. [18]

Burnout vs. Anxiety

Anxiety is a typical psychological state that works as a protective element in potentially dangerous situations.

Chronic anxiety is a frequent symptom in burnout patients. Early on, anxiety may manifest as persistent emotions of tension, concern, and edginess, interfering with your ability to pay attention and concentrate. [19]

Over time, your anxiety may get so severe that it interferes with your capability to go to work or stay on top of your work. Apprehension and fear are typical emotions. Anxiety can become so intense in some circumstances that panic attacks occur. [20]

Burnout or Lazy?

Burnout and laziness can sometimes appear to be similar.

While laziness is a behaviour that can be worked on and improved over time, burnout is the consequence of prolonged stress in an environment that will ultimately appear physically in your body if you do not make adjustments. [21]

They can have overlapping symptoms like:

Unfortunately, persons who are Burned out may be viewed as lethargic or ‘lazy’ by their superiors, especially if they are not productive.

Burnout at Work

It appears that an increasing number of people are being burnt out at work. Burnout, or the overpowering sensation of mental and physical tiredness, may afflict even individuals who like their employment. Companies are claiming a staff burnout issue as a result of the problem being so pervasive. [22]

Conversations on mental health in the workplace fosters open communication and a comfortable atmosphere for workers to feel connected to their job and to their leaders, according to her, and it also assists people in reaching their goals.

It enables executives to have a better understanding of what their staff require to be more productive. [23]

What Causes Burnout at Work?

Burnout at work can be caused by many factors, such as:

  • Work/Life imbalance. If your work consumes a huge chunk of your time and effort leaving you with no time to spend with your family or friends, you are more prone to suffer from burnout. You are more prone to experience burnout if you feel like you're continuously trying to keep up with a changing goal, or if you don't feel able to modify or direct any aspect of your work. This risk factor is directly tied to the capacity to create and maintain effective limits since many people believe they can't say no to requests.

  • Dysfunctional work environment. Workplaces that are toxic are breeding grounds for burnout. The people you surround yourself with have a significant influence on how you feel. You may be stressed if you work in an environment where you are surrounded by unpleasant supervisors, coworkers, or bullies.

  • Your stream of profession. When a work becomes hectic or, on the other hand, monotonous, the capacity to focus might deplete your energy levels. If you work in a certain profession that has demanding needs, such as public healthcare, you are more likely to face burnout. According to studies, burnout may occur at any level of the healthcare workforce. Mitigation methods should be implemented for both front-line and back-office health care staff. Those deployed, particularly when involuntary or requiring extensive medical care, require special consideration. [24]

4 Ways to Deal With Job Burnout

1. Talk to your superiors

Burnout exists at the corporate level. Your leadership team may make a significant impact on how you see your workplace and the resources available to you.

You may certainly not be the only one facing difficulties, and a cultural transformation may be required.

2. Taking care of yourself

A loss of interest in self-care is one of the phases of burnout. You may start to neglect your physical well being in extreme instances. Make time for fundamental necessities such as food, drink, exercise, and socialising.

If your job requires you to work for long hours in the end, make sure you are getting adequate sleep and rest.

3. Separate Professional and Personal Life

Set a work plan that allows you to tackle other essential objectives in your personal life in a balanced manner.

When you are burnt out, you must make every effort to keep work and home life distinct. That link exacerbates the situation, and before you realise it, you've come to identify home with the same sentiments you had at work.

Make a physical separation between work and personal life. If your employment needs you to work from home, look for a co-working place or a coffee shop where you may do so.

4. Take a Break

Even if you're still working 12-hour hours all days of the week, a change of scenery can do you the world of good.

If your job and circumstances permit, try to take a few days of vacation from work where you limit access to work emails and calls.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the discipline of paying attention to the present moment and accepting it without judgement.

In the workplace, this entails dealing with circumstances with honesty and patience. It is an excellent stress-reduction method that also improves general well-being.

Burnout as a Student

Burnout as a student occurs when they are subjected to continual stress or frustration with little opportunity to rest and recharge.

While lengthy hours of studying, assignments, and tests are necessary components of school, they can be detrimental to one's mental health.

Eventually, burnout at university or school can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Hence, it is important to identify the triggers in order to prevent burnout. [25]

Signs and Symptoms of Burnout Among Students?

It might be tough to tell if you're showing signs of burnout or just adjusting to the pressures and obligations that are a part of student life.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of burnout at its initial stages might help you climb out of your rut as a student.

Here are some symptoms you may be dealing with burnout:

  • Lack of confidence in your capabilities as a student. You may be feeling overwhelmed with your syllabus and feel as if you are not capable of handling the pressure.

  • Inability to meet assignment deadlines and submissions When you are unable to focus your efforts–whether they be on school, job, or personal commitments. You feel detached from the subject at hand, unable to operate and complete things satisfactorily. This also affects your grades and performance.

  • Lack of motivation You are unmotivated to see friends, go to class, or engage in social activities. You may lose interest in activities that used to bring you joy and contentment.

  • Behavioural changes. It's natural to become impatient when you're dissatisfied with your inability to focus or successfully connect with classmates and course issues. You may be dissatisfied with your academic achievement, which may lead to anger and resentment.

  • Feelings of anxiety and depression. You may feel distressed going to class or dealing with social anxiety. Burnout can pose a series of mental health problems that require professional care. It can trigger anxiety and depression among students.

How to Deal With Burnout as a Student?

Taking proactive actions to prevent and recover from burnout is one of the greatest methods to deal with it. [26]

  • Set boundaries. Setting boundaries allows you to honour your needs while also protecting you from events and individuals that aggravate feelings of burnout. Strive to strike a balance between school and rest. Determine and adhere to the boundaries that are best for your health.

  • Take care of your body. We tend to neglect ourselves when we are under stress. By ensuring that we consume healthy nutritious food, engaging in physical activity and getting ample rest, we can eliminate the physical side effects of burnout.

  • Give yourself a break. When you're under a lot of stress, it's critical to set aside time every day to rest and calm your thoughts. Taking merely a few days off might help you reset and unwind, allowing you to establish a strategy and set new goals.Spend time unplugging and doing activities that bring you joy.

  • Unplug. In the age of Zoom calls and online learning, it can be extremely difficult separating academics with home life. Due to the nature of remote learning, it is necessary for students to take breaks from their computers and make time for activities outside of school.

  • Don’t be afraid to seek help. To help students cope with burnout, many schools and college campuses provide mental health specialists and counselling programs available to all students.

Burnout as a Caregiver

Burnout in caregivers is a state of physical, emotional, and mental tiredness. It may be followed by a shift in attitude, from optimistic to pessimistic and uncaring. [27]

Burnout can develop when carers do not receive the assistance they require, or when they attempt to do more than they are physically or financially capable of.

Many caregivers feel bad if they spend time on themselves instead of their sick or ageing loved ones. Caregivers who are "burned out" may suffer from exhaustion, stress, worry, and despair.

What Causes Caregiver Burnout?

Unrealistic Expectations

Many carers believe that their engagement will improve the patient's health and happiness. For people suffering from a degenerative condition, this may be unachievable.

Unreasonable Demands

Some carers put unrealistic demands on them, in part because they believe that delivering care is their own obligation.

Some family members, such as siblings, adult children, or the patient, may make excessive demands on the caretaker.

They may also neglect their own obligations and throw additional stress on the person designated as the primary caretaker.

Other Factors

Many caregivers fail to realise they are suffering from burnout which affects their ability to perform properly and fall ill themselves. [28]

How to Prevent Caregiver Burnout?

  • Set realistic objectives, recognize that you may require assistance with caring, and delegate certain responsibilities to others.

  • Don't neglect yourself while you're too busy caring for others. Make time for self-care, even if it's only an hour or two. It is a vital requirement for carers.

  • Understand your limitations and be truthful with yourself about your specific position. Recognize and embrace your vulnerability to caregiver burnout.

  • Seek assistance. Participate in a caregiver support group. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with people in similar situations may help you manage stress, find useful resources, and minimise feelings of frustration and loneliness.

Burnout During Covid-19

The pandemic's major psychological consequence is increased anxiety and stress.

As additional measures are implemented for public welfare, there has been a rise in burnout, anxiety disorders, and depression, particularly with regard to quarantine and its implications on many people's typical activities, habits, or livelihoods. [29]

With salary cutbacks on the rise, ever-increasing workloads, and fears regarding health, the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many.

How Do I Recover From Burnout?

The following are some recommended practises for burnout recovery:

  • Remove yourself from the workplace. Remove yourself from the workplace, both emotionally and physically, when the workday has ended. Switch your laptop off and walk away from it at the end of the day.

  • Rather than coping techniques that try to shift feelings about a circumstance, choose coping mechanisms that directly address a stressful event. These are referred to as problem-based and emotion-based coping techniques, respectively. Avoidance tactics, such as avoiding the issue, are exceedingly ineffective.

  • Adopt healthy habits, such as a balanced diet, frequent exercise, and adequate rest.

  • Downtime tasks are activities that require minimal effort to execute, have no useful consequence, and are not time-sensitive.

Reading, watching television, drawing, and napping are a few examples. These jobs should have minimal to no physical or cognitive demands.

What are the Stages of Burnout Recovery?

Burnout rehabilitation entails rethinking your goal-setting and motivating states. [30]

Exhaustion Recovery

Organise your goals in a structure to better manage what you are doing. Be conscious of each task's perceived achievability and limit any needless jobs.

Cynicism Recovery

Examine the principal goals and subgoals that must be fulfilled to evaluate if they are approach or avoidance-focused.

Any avoidance-focused aims should be reframed as approach-focused. If some avoidance-focused goals must be retained, utilise implementation intents.

Inefficacy Recovery

Determine which tasks are "want-to" and "have-to" at each level of your goal hierarchy.

Create more "want-to" tasks to guarantee an equal amount of both. Prioritise the "must-do" items at each level.

At each level, alternate between "want-to" and "have-to" chores.

Since it permits separation from work to replenish important resources, a recovery process is an excellent strategy to overcome burnout.

You may redirect energy back into your job, or task at hand, allowing you to successfully manage the company and achieve organisational goals

Who Do I See For Burnout?

If burnout symptoms persist, professional help from a psychiatrist and therapy is advised. A skilled expert can assist you in addressing burnout difficulties both mentally and systematically, as well as provide an objective viewpoint. [31]

When To Seek Professional Help For Burnout?

While job burnout is not considered as a mental health condition, it is a genuine occurrence that may have major consequences for one's well-being. If you are suffering from burnout, you should consider visiting a therapist.

A therapist or counsellor can help you discover the roots of your burnout, explore potential coping techniques, and navigate any life challenges that are contributing to it.

Burnout may produce feelings of powerlessness and add to thoughts of despair, therefore it's critical to consult a therapist if you start experiencing symptoms.

Rebooting yourself after can take time, but you've already made the first step by resolving to treat it.

Burnout FAQs

How do I know If I am suffering from Job Burnout?

If you find yourself asking the following questions:

  • Do you feel demotivated?

  • Do you find it increasingly hard to concentrate on the task at hand?

  • Do you no longer find satisfaction at your job?

  • Has your attitude towards your colleagues/clients causing trouble at work?

  • Do you dread going to work?

You may be suffering from burnout which can be damaging to your mental health and overall productivity.

However, there are many ways to recover from burnout.

Who is at risk of Burnout?

Burnout can strike anyone at any time. While risk factors are related to employment structure and lifestyle, some personality traits can increase your stress experience, making you more prone to burnout.

Individuals with the following traits tend to be more prone to facing burnout [32]:

  • Perfectionists. At work, striving for excellence may be quite beneficial. However, consistently berating ourselves for not being "good enough" can lead to undue tension and worry.

  • Pessimists. Pessimists tend to put themselves through unneeded stress in many circumstances, making them more prone to burnout.

  • A ‘Type A’ personality. Operating at a faster speed, displaying higher degrees of impatience, having a more competitive disposition, becoming quickly upset, and equating self-worth with performance are all characteristics linked with a Type A personality. Being ‘Type A’ or even just working with one can lead to persistent stress, which raises your risk of burnout.

Do teachers also deal with Burnout?

Teaching can be both a rewarding and stressful profession. With long hours and a hefty job, it's easy to succumb to teacher burnout.

Teachers are at risk of being overworked and failing to meet their own mental and physical health requirements if they do not receive adequate assistance.

To prevent becoming a victim of teacher burnout, educators must include balance in their daily life. Setting clear work limits is one method to do this.

How to help someone who is Burned out?

Having a spouse, family member, or acquaintance who is suffering from burnout may have a detrimental impact on your life.

Often, the relationship's equilibrium alters in such a manner that the person who does not burn out ends up with greater responsibilities, such as taking care of housework, money, and children/pets.

It's heartbreaking to see a friend or loved one suffer as a result of burnout. While you can't fix someone's burnout, you can surely be the light at the end of the tunnel. Here are some safe methods to help someone who is burnt out:

  • Let them know you are there for them.

  • Ask how you can help.

  • Listen and validate their feelings without judgement.

  • Check in with them regularly to see how they are keeping up.

  • Guide them towards seeking professional help if needed.

Can untreated Burnout lead to other mental health issues?

The good news about burnout is that it may be reversed before it causes major health problems. To accomplish this successfully, you must first listen to your body and figure out why you are worried. Once the sources have been identified, you may begin to manage them.

Burnout does not disappear on its own. We're prone to disregard mental problems and moods because they're not as obvious as a broken leg–but ignoring them may be just as unpleasant.

The longer we neglect, the worse the consequences can get. Burnout can lead to stress, anxiety and depression.

Can symptoms of Burnout go unnoticed?

Burnout symptoms may first go undetected; they may appear normal and a part of regular life.

Burnout was often seen as a work-related concern prior to the COVID-19 epidemic. However, in our study, we have seen burnout in people outside of the job, including those who are struggling with other life pressures, such as full-time caregiving for loved ones. [33]

Several burnout symptoms overlap with other mental health disorders. Approaching a GP or a mental health expert may be essential to examine this possibility.

These specialists will utilise their clinical skills to determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are the result of burnout or another mental health disorder.

Such distinction is critical since various psychiatric illnesses frequently necessitate disorder-specific treatment modalities.

How does Burnout affect my relationship?

Burnout has a detrimental impact on all aspects of your life, including your home, career, and social life.

Being in a bad mood might cause you to frequently vent your grievances to your partner and close friends, resulting in unneeded conflicts and stress.

When you're fatigued and stressed, it's easy to become irritated by the little things. These small things add up and, if left unchecked, have the potential to escalate into larger disputes.

It is, however, perfectly acceptable to take time out for yourself in order to recover from burnout while also maintaining your connections. Remember, you can only love and care for other people if you first love and care for yourself.

You may wish to learn more from our article on building a Healthy Relationship.

Heavy workloads and time demands are unavoidable in management. However, constant work stress may lead to burnout, a debilitating state that affects not only your personal performance and well-being, both on and off the job but also that of your team and your organisation.

Learn more about reducing work stress and stress in general:


At frankie, we make mental healthcare and wellness easy for all with just one small task a day. Head on guided wellness journeys that understand your stressors or triggers or work with our behavioural and wellness professionals - all from the comfort and privacy of your home. Sign up for our Closed BETA here.


About Our Writer

Shahana is an avid pop culture enthusiast with a penchant for all things fashion. Living life with a pinch of sass and a generous dollop of flair, she finds herself collecting crystals and playing with tarot cards. Tell her your date of birth and she’d draw your birthchart for you. A young girl with a million dreams and billion hopes, prepping up for a future in this exciting world.


This editorial section solely expresses the opinion of frankie and is not endorsed nor commissioned by any external party. The list is non-exhaustive. At frankie, we believe that your best provider of medical advice is your doctor. Please consult a doctor before undergoing any treatment or procedure.



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