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07th Jun 2024

Common signs of burnout in work and how to cope with it

Sophie Collins


Burnout has become a widespread issue, impacting people across various professions and aspects of life

Recent statistics reveal that a staggering 76% of employees experience burnout at work, showing the urgent need to address the problem. 

The effects of burnout extend beyond the workplace, negatively affecting mental and physical health, relationships, and overall quality of life. 

James Dooley, owner of PromoSEO, identifies five common indicators of burnout and offers expert-backed strategies to combat each one. 

Signs of Burnout and What to do

Chronic Exhaustion

Persistent fatigue, despite adequate rest, and feeling drained both physically and emotionally are telltale signs of chronic exhaustion—a hallmark of burnout. 

What to do?

Prioritise self-care rituals such as regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and healthy eating habits. Incorporate relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation into your daily routine to help recharge your batteries. 

James Dooley, owner of PromoSEO advises: “Taking short breaks throughout the day can make a big difference in your energy levels.” 

Cynicism and Detachment

Developing a negative or cynical attitude towards work or life in general, coupled with emotional detachment, indicates cynicism and detachment—common features of burnout. 

What to do?

Foster meaningful connections with colleagues, friends, and loved ones. Engage in activities outside of work that bring joy and fulfillment. 

James suggests: “Seek out social support at work. Having someone to talk to and share experiences with can help alleviate feelings of isolation and detachment.” 

Decreased Performance 

A decline in work performance, increased errors, and difficulty concentrating or staying motivated are red flags for decreased performance, often associated with burnout. 

What to do?

Break tasks into manageable chunks and set realistic goals. Practice time management techniques to maintain focus and productivity. 

James recommends: “Focus on one task at a time. Multitasking can increase stress and decrease productivity, leading to burnout.”

Physical Symptoms

Persistent headaches, muscle tension, gastrointestinal issues, or other physical ailments without a clear medical cause are common physical symptoms of burnout. Counter-Strategies

What to do?

Practice relaxation techniques and incorporate regular exercise, yoga, or massage therapy into your routine. 

James advises: “Make sure to take short breaks to stretch and move around, especially if you have a desk job. Physical activity can help reduce muscle tension and alleviate stress.” 

Isolation and Withdrawal 

Withdrawing from social activities, avoiding interactions with colleagues or friends, and preferring solitude are signs of isolation and withdrawal, often seen in individuals experiencing burnout. 

What to do?

Cultivate a support network of friends, family, or a professional counselor whom you can confide in. 

Make an effort to schedule social activities outside of work to maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

James adds: “Spending time with friends and loved ones can provide a much-needed break from work-related stress.” 


Beyond these strategies, it’s crucial to establish healthy boundaries at work and in personal life to prevent burnout. 

Learning to say no to excessive demands and practicing assertiveness can help maintain a balanced life. 

Seeking professional help from therapists, counselors, or coaches is not a sign of weakness but a proactive step towards self-care and recovery. 

James emphasises: “Combating burnout requires a holistic approach that addresses physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.” 

By recognising the signs early and implementing effective coping strategies, individuals can reclaim a sense of balance and vitality.