How do you recover from burnout while working

What's Covered

Everyday you wake up and can not get yourself out of bed to go to work? You don’t have the motivation to try more at the workplace you thought is your dream job? You are not ready to face challenges you have set up? You are definitely facing a burnout, but to be more precise and find out for sure as well as how to cope with it you should definitely read this article through to help yourself to get out of this state. For you to not feel bad, by the questionnaire made in 2017, 65% of adults face burnout symptoms or feeling tired of physical or emotional resources on a regular basis.

What is burnout?

There are plenty of scientific explanations of burnout and what it is in reality. Burnout is a psychological state or even a syndrome which is a long-term reaction to deep emotional events or stressors.[1]

Burnout can also be described as a prolonged exhaustion, physical as well as emotional and mental. Let’s say you are used to hanging out with friends on the weekends or after work, everyday you exercise or you are deeply in love with frozen yoghurt. Once you face the burnout you forget how your favourite yoghurt tastes and you don’t enjoy it as usually. While you meet your friends you are not smiling so often or keeping quiet or even realize that staying at home is a more obvious option for you than getting out. 

Burnout dulls your motivation and decreases your productivity, causing you to feel powerless, helpless, pessimistic, and unhappy. You can likely feel as though you have nothing more to say.

The term burnout has first been studied in occupations such as health care, social services, the criminal justice system, religious professions, counseling and education. It is because the core of this job is the relationship between the recipient and provider.[2] Nowadays, there are more and more occupations that as per the nature of the job make us to have the emotions and relationship between “customer”. According to this, it is no shame that every third human is facing a burnout while working.

While you are wondering whether you are experiencing burnout or no it is always a good moment to go through internet or go to a local bookstore to check some books and gain knowledge around this topic. We all know that something undiscovered may be frightening sometimes, but it is crucial to get familiar with the topic before you make any additional steps toward curing yourself out.

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle
This can be one of the books that may help you to understand the burnout term and whether you or not experiencing the burnout right now. You will feel satisfied after reading this book and you can continue enjoying your life and overcome obstacles with this knowledge.

How do you know if you are burned out?

A lot of people carry the weight of burnout from work thinking they have just hard period in life or diagnose themselves with a depression. Therefore, it is important to know the symptoms of burnout to observe it yourself.

Physical exhaustion

Usually, people notice that they are not as active as they were before. This shows not even in a mood change, but more physically. You have troubles of waking up and your body feels like running marathon each day, but in fact you haven’t done anything physically.

Trouble sleeping

As mentioned, before it can be shown as hardly waking up. You hear your alarm,but something tells you that you can sleep more and then 10 minutes later it has been an hour you are sleeping and now you are late for work. Also, it may be that you woke up, but you just cannot get up from bed, you already thinking about upcoming day and it feels that you just want it to end, that is why you are still lying-in bed and have no will to get up. However, it can work the other way around as well. Trouble falling asleep even though you have been so tired and dreaming about going to sleep the whole day or complete insomnia can be one of the burning out symptoms.

Loss of compassion

Empathy or compassion is described as the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes, which includes not only understanding their viewpoint but also the emotions that come with it. If you’re a sensitive person, you may be confused as to why you’ve lost your compassion and tolerance with others. Rage, anxiety, and numbness block your heart’s connection. You lose the interpreting of empathic reaction and feeling when you feel contempt, judgement, or fear for others. You isolate because you’re afraid of getting hurt again, however empathic reaction and experience necessitate communication, which you don’t have. You disconnect for fear of being hurt again, but empathic reaction and experience necessitate communication, which implies danger and vulnerability.

Stopped caring about your job

For example you have finished high school and straight forward went to University as you knew what your dream profession should look like and obviously you found yourself in let’s say office environment. Of course, you understand that you will not earn your place for just knowledge you got, you have to work hard and show that you are worthy. Enthusiastic ideas, working till night and starting the first one, pitching ideas and being unstoppable was your number one priority and you felt motivated by all this. However, time passed and you made the huge leap, but now you don’t feel so motivated and enthusiastic as you were before. The workflow feels like routine and you don’t find strength to do more than you are already doing or you don’t see any perspectives. 

Physical illness

Very often when we are sick doctors note that illness often comes from stress and depression. Here is the point where you should start thinking whether you are feeling burnout from work and if this is the reason you got sick.

Making mistakes you wouldn’t usually make

It can be seen if you are professional at work and for sure you know how to manage your tasks, however you started noticing that things started falling out of your hands and you cannot complete a simple task you were always doing right with no doubt.

Loss of confidence

You doubt yourself and your skills or you are not sure that you are good enough to be promoted, since you haven’t gained knowledge as some “John” or “Jessica” from your department. If you are questioning your work that you are doing, that can be one of the symptoms of burning out while working.


You may be puzzled or disorganized, and you might just find it difficult to concentrate or put your thoughts into words. Fogginess can be frustrating, but it is better to notice this symptom early, so you can start working on it.

Loss of focus or inability to concentrate

When you can concentrate you clearly focus on tasks, jobs and you hear what people say to you and take it into account. While if you lost the ability to focus, you may notice that you have forgotten what you have been asked for or it is taking you ages to get started with some major job tasks, because even smallest things getting you distracted.

Doubting your abilities

You might feel as though what you’re doing isn’t as important as it once was, or you might be disaffected from all. You are not sure if you are good enough for the job position or whether you ever going to be a good fit for the company. That could be definitely a symptom of burning out while working.


When we become cynical, we are prone to adopting personality attitudes and developing perceptions about how others should act. For example: “My colleague didn’t offer me a coffee even though she was getting one for herself” or “Why my colleague is always late, and I am coming in time and no one is giving me a good word for it”. These thoughts can cross the mind of every person, however if they are often guests in your head, then it also can be symptom of burning out.


It is easy not to do anything and sometimes give yourself a relax on tasks and chill at home. However, if that becomes a habit or even worse you are procrastinating while working then it’s time to think of the reasons you do so. Also, when we procrastinate, we are conscious that we have been not only avoiding the job, but that doing so is also potentially a terrible idea. Despite this, we continue to do so.


You might note that you’re feeling more gloomy than normal. Although everyone has negative emotions periodically, it’s important to recognize when they’re getting out of the ordinary for you. You don’t like the ideas people are pitching at work or you are notice that it is raining, and it frustrated you, but when it is sunny you feel too hot and you don’t like it as well. That is a definitely sign that you are being over pessimistic, and you should think about whether you are suffering a burnout.


You are feeling moody more than ever. You can slip to tears even when watching cute video or listening to music. If crying is not something you are used to and you know that you tend to be overemotional, then you should check if it can be a symptom to burning out.

The very important symptom of burning out and it goes in parallel of burning out while working if you are using alcohol, drugs or anything else to not feel the stress or anything at all. For example, you notice that it is already a habit for you to go after work to some nearby bar grab drinks and eventually get totally wasted so you come home emotionally dead. You are not enjoying the time by drinking you are simply forgetting yourself in litres of alcohol to reach the point where you don’t care and only there you feel “illusional happiness”

If you are still not sure whether you are experiencing a burnout while working or it is something else that you cannot explain it is always a good moment to read articles or books related to that topic.

What if burnout is actually a depression?

Burnout, according to the WHO, is a distinct category from any medical or mental health diagnosis, including depression. Burnout, according to some researchers, is a contributing factor for developing depression — or, for those with major depressive disorder, a cause for a depressive episode. They disagree, however, that the two terms essentially reflect the same situation.[3]


Exhaustion, feeling alienated from work-related activities and reduction in performance these symptoms can be also similar to depression, and they can be, which is why it’s important to be cautious when trying to tell the difference between burnout and depression. The majority of issues with burnout are linked to work, and changes made to work will usually help. Other critical therapies, such as counseling or medication, may be needed for depression. 

There are some signs that depression has that burnout doesn’t normally have

  • low self-esteem
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • suicidal thoughts

If you’ve been experiencing depressive symptoms for a long time, talk to your doctor about treatment options. The majority of people suffering from depression can be treated with the right care. Furthermore, some experts agree that mental illnesses like depression and anxiety can lead to burnout, so treating them as soon as possible is critical.

Different factors in life

Burnout seems to be caused by a combination of factors like a lack of control over one’s job, disappointed hopes and goals, and a sense of losing one’s sense of purpose in life. These variables are heavily influenced by an individual’s personality and unique attitude toward work, as well as the importance of work in the your life. Furthermore, if you are working in human services or bureaucratic organization it can be stressful and it is on you on how to cope with it. However, we are all different and we have various personalities, for one who feels burnout out doing one job can be a depression to another one who is making the same job. This means it is always important to understand whether it is a burnout, or you really need help from a doctor.[4]

What are the best ways to battle burnout?

There is always your unique way of battling things in your life. We are all different, but if you think you are suffering from burnout you should try some ways to battle it and after these techniques you are not feeling better you should work through other options such as stress or depression.

Here are put together the most common steps of battling the burnout while working.

1.      Try something new

If your life is routine and you basically hate your job,but you can not change it due to some obstacles, make your life as interesting as possible outside of it. Get yourself a minute and think what you like, what you dream of, what is something you would like to learn. Is it a passion to learn to play guitar? Or you really liked drawing in teenage years, but caught up with adult life and haven’t done it for years. Or maybe you really wish to visit a new country that you have never been to before? Allow yourself to dream, write down all your wishes and start working on them. Start with little and go for big. Such new intentions will give you amazing emotions and you will free yourself from pessimism for sure and burnout will disappear right after.

If you know that you don’t have opportunity to dream big right now try new skills, get new emotions. For example, instead of watching a movie after work go to a theatre or join to a local drama club, just to be a part of something. One good way to get rid of bad emotions is sport, go for a run every now and then or try boxing it is really great way to beat all the negative out of you, believe me after the first training you will come out as a new person.

2.      Talk to relatives

Share what is going on with you with your closest ones. They will definitely understand and stay by your side no matter what. Even by saying your thoughts and concerns out loud will help you to cope with the problem at least a little. If you don’t feel like talking with people or you are afraid, they will not understand it is also a good moment to talk to specialist a psychologist who will hear you out and lead you in a right direction towards the solution.

3.      Find yourself

Maybe the work you do, is not your dream job. Yes, you have thought like it for quite a while now, but it is possible that after some time people change attitudes and interests. Try to think widely, what else would you like to do and get paid for that. Do not be afraid to dream, even if this new dream job will be miles away from the experience and skills you now have it is not the reason to refuse this idea. Every wish is worth becoming real.

4.      Try to change sleeping and eating habits

Your body feels burned out as well, not only you mentally. Choose a new diet, but still enjoy the food. Try to not sit and watch movies till late night, but instead read a book and go to sleep earlier.  Did you know that person needs to sleep at least 8 hours to be fully productive and get enough sleep? Keep that in mind and it will definitely help to battle the burnout. 

By the way, have you considered the reasons for the bad sleep? It may not be a fresh room (always open a window and let wind go through your room before sleep), or it can be wrongly chosen pillows.

The memory foam pillows are amazing and they are also orthopedic. With such pillows your sleep will be strong and full of dreams. After that you will wake up ready to beat the day as you had good rest.

If you are still having troubles sleeping, try to find suitable vitamins for you that help you fall asleep easier or not wake up in the middle of the night. Once you go to pharmacy and tell that you have trouble sleeping, they will definitely suggest you the pills that can work for you.

Last words

To conclude burnout is not something that can be identified similarly to all the people, because each and every person is different and relives the moments of their life in various ways. However, there is always a gut inside us that tells that something is wrong and time to work on it. So, don’t panic or be afraid of burnout. It is just another obstacle you are going to break through if you truly believe in yourself. Never underestimate yourself and keep on trying and finding ways to get better than you are now. Burnout is just a temporary state not a life sentence.

[1] Maslach, Christina, and Michael P. Leiter. “Understanding the burnout experience: recent research and its implications for psychiatry.” World psychiatry 15.2 (2016): 103-111.

[2] Maslach, Christina, and M. P. Leiter. “Burnout.” Stress and quality of working life: current perspectives in occupational health 37 (2006): 42-9.

[3] Schonfeld, Irvin Sam, and Renzo Bianchi. “Burnout and depression: two entities or one?.” Journal of clinical psychology 72.1 (2016): 22-37.

[4] Iacovides, A., et al. “The relationship between job stress, burnout and clinical depression.” Journal of affective disorders75.3 (2003): 209-221.

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Tiffany Biondi

Tiffany Biondi

Mother of 4 kids, Tiffany is a certified childcarer and during her free time, she write posts in thebabychoice to share her hands on experience and knowledge.