5 signs you're about to burnout (and 3 ways to counter its negative effects)

Over time, our jobs and work environment can kill our flame.

If you’ve been running around like a headless chicken trying to get your work done on time, you may be well on your way to burning out.

Burnout tends to creep in when you least expect it to. You can’t concentrate, can’t focus, and generally feel like you can’t do anything else because you have so much work to do (even though you’re not getting any of it done).

If this sounds anything like you, you may be very close to burning out. Take a look at the following warning signs, and what actions you can take to combat burnout.

1. Is work keeping you out of sleep at night?

2. Do you spend most of your time at home wondering about work and your deadlines?

3. Do you find that work is all you talk about when you’re with friends and family?

4. Do you have strange back ache, panic attacks or painful migraines?

5. Are you neglecting your own needs, and putting others' needs before your own?

If you’ve said yes to more than three of the questions above, you could be overworked and close to burning out. 

Read: 5 Tips to help you eliminate stress

Take a break

Don’t underestimate the effects of a good break. If you’re feeling run-down it may just mean that you need a good holiday to refresh and re-energise. Take some annual leave and make a point of switching your phone off and disconnecting from work emails.

Consider taking back your lunch breaks as well. Stop sitting at your desk and eating your lunch; it does your health a world of good if you get away from your desk and take short breaks in between your work day. 

Talk to your manager

When having this talk, make sure you’re not emotional and have all your facts straightened out. For every problem you present, offer a solution. You might find that sharing your problem(s) can be somewhat therapeutic.

If you feel that what has been asked of you is not reasonable and not physically possible for you to do alone, make time to talk to your boss about your workload. Remember that your manager is there to help you, but they can only do so if they know what you need help with.

Find support

Sometimes it’s not simply your workload that’s the problem. Many people think they can separate their work and personal issues, but it can prove to be quite difficult. It could be an increase in workload or it could also be that personal issues like divorce, death or illness in the family is deeply affecting your professional life too.

If you think you may be depressed or overly anxious, visit your doctor or speak to HR. They may be able to suggest support programmes that you can join. 

Read: 5 Ways to cope with personal problems at work

Be proactive

We sometimes put up with much more than we should and hope that if we just hang in there a little longer, things will change. Sometimes they do change and sometimes they only get worse.

Don’t sit back and assume things will get better, do something about it and take control of your life.

Whether you need to talk to your manager, get support or polish your CV and find a new job, you will notice an immediate positive effect on your health.

Stress becomes a bad thing when it controls your life. But with these stress busters, you can learn to take control of your anxieties.