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5 Signs You Are Burnout at Work (and What to Do About Them)

Updated: May 3, 2022

Burnout may be harmful to our health. Identify the 5 Signs You're Burned Out at Work and learn how to deal with it.

Burnout is characterised as a state of physical, emotional, or mental weariness followed by diminished motivation, poor performance, and unfavourable attitudes toward self and others. [1]

It is the outcome of consistently operating at a high level till stress and anxiety, particularly from excessive and extended physical or mental strain or an overburdened job, take their toll. [2]

The WHO emphasises that burnout is uniquely work-related—it "should not be used to describe feelings in other aspects of life"—and is distinguished by the following characteristics [3]:

  • A feeling of tiredness or depletion

  • Work-related mental remoteness, negativity, or cynicism

  • Workplace effectiveness suffers as a result.

So, how do we know if we are suffering from Burnout at Work?

5 Signs of Burnout At Work

Here are some of the most common and prevalent telltale signs of Burnout that we need to be on the lookout for. [4]

1. Exhaustion

One of the most obvious signs of burnout is mental and physical exhaustion. [5] If you are always fatigued or lack the effort to perform ordinary tasks that you used to enjoy, you may be facing the early stages of burnout. It is critical for both individuals and employers to recognize chronic stress and manage it before it leads to burnout.

2. Lack of Motivation

If you find yourself feeling increasingly disconnected from work, and asking yourself “Why am I doing this at all?” over a period of time, it could be a warning sign for burnout.

That emotional detachment from your workplace may be misinterpreted as reduced productivity, but it is actually a symptom of stress. You may also feel alone or lose confidence in hobbies or interests outside of work. [6]

A lack of drive and excitement for your career may also have an impact on your personal life.

3. Reduced Job Performance

Fatigue and a lack of enthusiasm can lead to difficulty focusing at work and a lack of interest in the activities at hand. [7]

Even if you work extremely hard, you may submit late, miss deadlines, or procrastinate.

4. Cynicism

Cynicism is also known as depersonalization, and it occurs when employees exhibit unfavourable or improper views toward consumers or clients, as well as a lack of idealism, irritation, and disengagement. It may also have an impact on one's faith in coworkers or managers. [8]

Cynicism, or having a cynical mindset, is one of the primary indications of work burnout.

Being cynical can have a detrimental influence on productivity, resulting in lower personal success, low morale, and an inability to cope. [9]

5. Physical Symptoms

Burnout and stress may have a negative impact not just on mental health as well as on physical health. [10]

Insomnia, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, stomach pain, dizziness and headaches are some of the possible physical symptoms.

Since your body is exhausted, your immune system weakens, making you more susceptible to flu and colds.

3 Tips for Dealing With Burnout at Work

If left untreated, Burnout may make it difficult for an individual to function efficiently and complete their regular duties. It may also lead to anxiety and depression. [11]

Hence, it is important to take concrete steps to deal with it as soon as we spot red flags. Here are a few tips on how to manage stress and Burnout at work:

1. Take Time Off

When you begin to feel emotionally, psychologically, and physically exhausted, it is typically an indication that you need to take a bit of time off. [12]

While a two-week vacation may seem like the ideal answer, it is not always possible.

Make sure to take numerous breaks during the day and to slow down, and indulge in self-care as necessary. Taking pauses during the day has been shown in studies to improve your mental well-being as well as your productivity.

2. Talk It Out

Don't be hesitant to discuss your burnout with HR or your supervisor. Burnout is a well-understood problem at the workplace, and they are likely to sympathise with your situation and collaborate with you to find a solution.

A therapist or counsellor can assist you in identifying the causes of your burnout, exploring appropriate coping strategies, and navigating any life difficulties that are contributing to it. [13]

3. Organise your day (and your desk)

Create a work plan that helps you to balance other important goals in your personal life.

When you are exhausted, you must make every effort to keep your job and personal lives separate. That link aggravates the issue, and before you know it, you've come to associate home with the same feelings you experienced at work.

The physical environment of the office has a large impact on how we operate. When our surroundings are a shambles, so are we. Maintain a clutter-free work environment. [14]

While burnout can create problems at work, at home, and in life, it is always possible to recognize the start of symptoms and take action to live a stress-free, care-free life!

You may wish to read the following articles on related topics:


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 the Author

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.



1. Michel, A. (2016, January 29). Burnout And the Brain – Association for Psychological Science – APS. Association for Psychological Science - APS.

2. McCormack, N. (2014, March 27). Factors Contributing To Burnout. Factors contributing to burnout - ScienceDirect.

3. W. (2019, May 28). Burn-out an "occupational Phenomenon": International Classification Of Diseases. Burn-out an "occupational phenomenon": International Classification of Diseases.

4. Kraft, S. (2018, August 14). Employee Burnout Is On the Rise. CNBC.

5. Maslach, C. (2016, June 1). Understanding the Burnout Experience: Recent Research And Its Implications for Psychiatry. PubMed Central (PMC).

6. Graña, M. (2021, May 1). The Relationship Between Motivation And Burnout In Athletes And the Mediating Role Of Engagement. PubMed Central (PMC).

7. W. (2019). The Impact Of Job Burnout On the Performance Of Staff Member At King Abdul-Aziz University. International Journal of Business and Social Science.

8. Bang, H. (2017, November 1). Examining the Role Of Cynicism In the Relationships Between Burnout And Employee Behavior. Examining the role of cynicism in the relationships between burnout and employee behavior - ScienceDirect.

9. Kachel, T., Huber, A., Strecker, C., Höge, T., & Höfer, S. (2001, January 1). Development Of Cynicism In Medical Students: Exploring the Role Of Signature Character Strengths And Well-Being. Frontiers.

10. Salvagioni, D. A. (2017, January 1). Physical, Psychological And Occupational Consequences Of Job Burnout: A Systematic Review Of Prospective Studies. PubMed Central (PMC).

11. Koutsimani, P., Montgomery, A., & Georganta, K. (2001, January 1). The Relationship Between Burnout, Depression, And Anxiety: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis. Frontiers.

12. Zuckerman, B. (2021, April 30). How To Beat Burnout — Without Quitting Your Job - The New York Times. How to Beat Burnout — Without Quitting Your Job.

13. Goh, R. (2019, June 23). Seeking Help for Burnout Is ‘not Weak’, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper. The New Paper.

14. Sander, L. (2019, March 25). The Case for Finally Cleaning Your Desk. Harvard Business Review.


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