Tips to Cope with Burnout

Tips to Cope with Burnout
May 2, 2024 Sue Riordan
tips to cope with burnout

Today’s employees are no strangers to a hectic workday. Heavy workloads, smaller teams and constant pushes toward productivity can make for a busy day at the office. But these pressures can also wreak havoc on employee mental health. According to a report published by Mercer earlier this year, nearly 82 percent of employees are at risk of burnout this year1. As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’ve pulled together some of the warning signs to look for. We’re also sharing five tips to cope with burnout, as well as strategies employers can use to create healthier, more engaged cultures.

What are some of the warning signs of burnout?

According to the World Health Organization, burnout is a syndrome “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It can show up in several ways and affect how you’re feeling mentally, physically and emotionally. It can also have greater impacts on your overall health and how you’re able to show up both inside and outside of work. But how do you know if it’s burnout or something else? According to WebMD, symptoms of burnout can look very similar to those of both stress and depression. Below are some of the telltale signs to tell if your overload is actually burnout:

    • You feel exhausted. One huge sign of burnout is feeling exhausted and drained, both physically and mentally. For instance, you may have trouble dragging yourself out of bed each day. Or your workday might feel impossibly long to get through.
    • You’re becoming negative. You may notice you have negative feelings toward your job or coworkers. You might be regularly frustrated or start to become cynical.
    • You feel unmotivated. You might be having trouble getting things done. This can stem from low energy due to exhaustion. It can also come from feeling bored, underappreciated or undervalued.
    • You’re having trouble concentrating. If you’re exhausted or have too many things on your plate, it may be difficult to concentrate and focus. You might also notice you’re becoming forgetful or are in a “fog.”  
    • You’re acting distant. When things get to be too much, you may start to withdraw physically or emotionally. You may also start to feel isolated or numb around friends, family or coworkers.
Five tips for coping with burnout

If you recognize any of these signs of burnout, below are five ways to help you cope.

    • Prioritize getting sleep. Sleep is vital for your mental and physical health. If you’re experiencing anxiety from your job, it can sometimes get in the way of good sleep. Try to make getting enough rest a priority.
    • Structure your day. To combat burnout from work, it’s important to set boundaries and only work within certain timeframes. You can create blocks of time when you’re available. You may also want to carve out free time separate from your workday. Burnout can sometimes stem from working during your off-hours or a feeling that you need to be “on” at all times.
    • Take regular breaks. Taking regular breaks throughout your day can help with stress and fatigue. You can start with a few stretch breaks, getting up between meetings and taking short five-minute walks. You should also make time during your day to drink water, eat lunch away from your desk and have some healthy snacks.
    • Try a relaxing activity. You can incorporate relaxing activities such as yoga or meditation to help you cope with physical and mental stress. You can also try self-care to help you wind down, such as reading, listening to music, getting a massage or other things you enjoy. Getting regular exercise is also a great way to help your mind and body relax and recharge.
    • Seek some support. Talking to someone about how you’re feeling may help. You can reach out to a friend, family member or trusted colleague for support. You may also want to talk to a counselor or therapist to work through what’s going on.
Employer strategies for a happier, healthier workplace

Burnout can have many causes. But it can sometimes come from things that exist in the working environment. Here are a few ideas and tactics employers can use to build a healthier workplace and prevent employee burnout.

    • Increase awareness about mental health. Regular trainings and communications can help employees recognize certain mental health challenges. This can include the effects of too much stress. Better awareness can also reduce stigma around common conditions like anxiety and depression.
    • Provide access to mental well-being benefits. Employers can support their employees to manage stress and burnout with access to benefits designed to help. This may include access to virtual counseling and therapy, employee assistance programs or complete wellness programs.
    • Promote a holistic health approach. To stay healthy, it’s important for employees to manage their whole health. Employers can help by offering the right mix of services and encouraging participation. This may include events like health screenings, wellness seminars and taking advantage of general well-being benefits.
Learn more with Meritain Health®

Contact us to learn more about the kinds of mental well-being resources available to you and your plan participants.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice.