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What is Job Burnout?

Job Burnout is a special type of work-related stress consisting of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment as well as a loss of personal identity. While Job Burnout is not a medical diagnosis, it is a very real phenomenon which can seriously affect one's physical and mental health.

As you can probably imagine, job burnout can impact our personal and professional life profoundly, leading to decreased job performance, relationship issues, and even medical complications.

To understand why job burnout can have a devastating impact on our everyday life, we need to look at its signs and symptoms.

Signs of Job Burnout

Job Burnout symptoms can vary in intensity and can include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Often thinking about how you should have a better job
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Feeling as if your job is pointless
  • Resentment toward your coworkers
  • Often feeling fatigued
  • A significant decline in work performance
  • Having little time or energy for hobbies
  • Increased irritability
  • Missing deadlines
  • Frequently showing up late to work
  • Frequently making simple mistakes at work
  • Getting into conflicts with coworkers
  • Feeling as if your job is pointless

Typically, symptoms of job burnout are mild at first. However, these symptoms are not likely to disappear on their own. If you try to ignore feelings of burnout without addressing it, it is most likely to get worse.

If you are experiencing job burnout know that you are not alone: Nearly two-thirds of workers reported feeling Job Burnout in a 2008 Gallup study. And over 1 in 5 respondents reported feeling burnt out "very often" or "always".

How is Job Burnout Treated?

When it comes to treatment options, mental health professionals can help cope with the symptoms of burnout.


In essence, psychotherapy (or ‘talk’ therapy) helps you get to the bottom of the problem, understand how burnout affects your life, and cultivate healthy habits that will keep the symptoms of burnout at bay.

In general, experts believe therapy is an excellent treatment option for mild forms of depression and anxiety which are often associated with burnout.

Aside from individual therapy, patients suffering from burnout can benefit greatly from a number of other strategies to address the symptoms of burnout in the short term.


The simplest way to address burnout in the short term is rest. This could take the form of short breaks, meditation, a day off, or a vacation. If you find yourself working extra at night, it will also be a good idea to prioritize sleep. People are more likely to experience burnout when they get few than six hours of sleep per night.

Hobbies and Activities

Schedule something to do when the work day has ended. This will give you something to look forward to, as well as a plan for what to do after work. People who do not have anything to look forward to after work are more likely to experience burnout.


Mental health issues are real, common, and treatable. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 20% of those are considered serious. 17% of 6-17 year olds experience a mental health disorder. So the first thing to remember is this: You are not alone.

If you feel that you are suffering from a mental illness, and particularly if those issues are preventing you from living life to the full or feeling yourself, you may want to consider professional help which can make an enormous difference.

And to be clear, you don't need to be going through a crisis in order to justify getting help. In fact, it can be advantageous from a treatment perspective to identify and deal with issues early and before they have a major impact on your life. Either way you should feel encouraged and able to seek help however you are feeling.

Mental health professionals such as licensed therapist can help in a range of ways including:

  • Help you identify where, when, and how issues arise
  • Develop coping strategies for specific symptoms and issues
  • Encourage resilience and self-management
  • Identify and change negative behaviors
  • Identify and encourage positive behaviors
  • Heal pain from past trauma
  • Figure out goals and waypoints
  • Build self-confidence

Treatment for mental health issues, and psychotherapy (sometimes known as 'talk therapy') in particular, frequently helps people to feel better, manage, and even get rid of their symptoms. For example, did you know that over 80% of people treated for depression materially improve? Or that treatment for panic disorder has a 90% success rate?

Other treatment options include medication which, in some cases, can be highly effective when administered in combination with psychotherapy.

So what is psychotherapy? It involves talking about your problems and concerns with a mental health professional. It can take lots of forms, including individual, group, couples and family sessions. Often, people see their therapists once a week for 50 minutes to start with and then reducing frequency as time goes on and issues subside. Treatment can be as short as a few weeks or as long as a few years depending on your particular situation and response.

Never think that getting help is a sign of weakness. It isn't. In fact, it can be a sign of strength and maturity to take the steps necessary to becoming you again and getting your life back on track.


Are you in distress? If so, or if you think that you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Also consider these options if you're having suicidal thoughts:

  • Call your mental health specialist.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • Seek help from your primary doctor or other health care provider.
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.

If a loved one or friend is in danger of attempting suicide or has made an attempt:

  • Make sure someone stays with that person.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
  • Or, if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

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