Workplace burnout: How can you recognize and manage the stress and does finding and following your life’s purpose help to combat it?

Burn-out comes from chronic workplace stress that isn’t successfully managed and usually accompanies these elements:

  • Feeling exhausted or depleted of energy
  • Feeling negatively distant from your job
  • Reduced productivity

Burnout is a break between a person’s life’s purpose and what they feel they have to do. Burnout usually presents itself as emotional exhaustion or losing your sense of self which makes a considerable impact in life.

The effect and impact of workplace burnout are widespread. From an increased workload to a perceived lack of control, and job insecurity leads to high turnover, reduced productivity, and poor mental health.

When an employee feels stressed, for an extended period of time, they experience mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion. There are many early predictors, indicators, and manifestations of workplace burnout and stress some of which might be:

  • A perceived lack of control based on conflicting role responsibilities resulting in pressure from many, often incompatible and competing demands
  • A lack of work performance recognition results in the worker feeling devalued
  • Lack of management and team support 
  • Feelings of unfair and inequitable work
  • Incongruence between environment and relationship
  • Excessive job demands and feeling that work is unfair
  • Working harder and longer to absorb the company

The early signs of work burnout can be recognized by the following feelings, physical ailments, and thought patterns:

  • Feeling tired, irritable, distracted, inadequate, and incompetent
  • Physical ailments such as muscle aches, body and head pain, reduced appetite, and weight loss or gain
  • Feeling emotionally trapped, hopeless, and depressed
  • Poor concentration, disorganized thinking, and indecisiveness

How does the workplace stress and burnout manifest themselves?

  • Persistent tardiness and absenteeism
  • Diminished output, aspirations, and commitment
  • Increased pessimism and apathy
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Substance abuse issues


Satisfaction and work-life balance in the workplace is recognized through these employee sentiments:

  • Work satisfaction
  • Organizational respect
  • Employer care
  • Work-life integration

Balancing all four factors is essential to overall employee wellbeing and satisfaction, reducing the probability of burnout. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of burnout, focus on the following actions which you can do on your own. Actions you for work-life balance include-

  • A workload that is planned and shared
  • Task and workload delegation
  • Healthy boundaries

The following is a list of what is needed for you to manage work stress and burnout-

  • Control of resources can impact your sense of purpose and autonomy
  • Invest time and energy in your work relationships, creating a positive team, and working on common goals
  • Feeling recognized and valued for your work contributions
  • Alignment in personal and employer values
  • The balance between high pressure and less complex tasks
  • Physical and emotional breaks contribute to resetting and regaining focus

There are ways to fight for purpose while you are living your life and taking care of your responsibilities. 

  • Stay focused on what matters to you
  • Focus on facts instead of the fears that float around in your head
  • Experience your feelings instead of pushing them down and ignoring them
  • Failures how you are trying, don’t be too hard on yourself about them

Your sense of purpose is the single most crucial factor in your life’s success. It defines what success means for you and describes your role in making your vision a reality. Read how Rachel Graham turned her life around by leaning into her life’s purpose.

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