Work Burnout Survival Guide: How to Overcome Job Burnout and Thrive

strategy Oct 31, 2023
By: Brooke M. Dukes

Hey there! If you've landed on this blog, it's a good bet you're feeling more than a little worn out. You're probably asking yourself, "Is this just fatigue or could it be job burnout?"

To answer your question - burnout isn't merely being tired; it's a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged work-related stress.

So, what is the difference between job stress and job burnout?

Job stress is a normal response to challenging or uncomfortable situations in the workplace. It’s like that cup of coffee that kicks you into gear. It's short-term, comes with tight deadlines, or maybe a tough meeting, but once it's over, you're back to normal. Stress may even be beneficial, serving as a motivator to meet deadlines or perform better.

Job burnout, on the other hand, is a more serious, long-lasting issue that results from ongoing stress and emotional exhaustion. Unlike stress, which usually has a specific reason and can be solved, burnout builds up slowly over time and is harder to pinpoint.

It’s like that feeling when you've had too much coffee and you're jittery, anxious, and just can't focus. It's a long-haul game of emotional, mental, and physical fatigue. Burnout sneaks up on you, leaving you feeling like a deflated balloon with symptoms like constant tiredness, lack of concentration, and just not being your productive self.

While stress can come and go, and can actually motivate you, burnout is like the slow leak in your tire that you ignore until you're stranded. It saps you deeply, emotionally, and physically, and if you're not careful, it can have serious, long-term effects on your health and job.


Rest assured that you're not alone—burnout's more common than you think!

According to a study on the State of Workplace Burnout in 2023, over 38% of people feel burnt out. And guess what? That number is steadily increasing. Just two years ago, the number was at 34.7%, and the year before that, it was 29.6%. It's almost like we're in the midst of a burnout epidemic! 

Young people, especially those between 18 and 24, are getting hit the hardest with a 47% burnout rate. And you know what's crazy? More than half of burnt-out people say they've been less productive in the last year.

Burnout Has Far-Reaching Impacts on Your Work and Mental Health

Burnout is a complex issue that doesn't just affect your work life; it can drain you emotionally to the point where you feel like you've run a mental marathon and can't see the finish line.

When you're burned out, your job performance takes a hit too. Even simple tasks feel like climbing Everest, and the quality of your work starts to slip. But it doesn't stop there. You might start to get really cynical about your job. You may even lose faith in what you're doing altogether.

I get it. I've been there myself, and it can be a difficult situation to get out of. 

You might get headaches, have trouble sleeping, or experience stomach issues. You may even start to wonder if you should quit your job altogether. 

And let's not forget your personal life. Burnout doesn't clock out when you do. Burnout makes it more difficult to engage in relationships, which can start to impact your friends and family.  Decision-making becomes a chore too, because your brain is just so tired.

What’s really concerning is that burnout isn't just a phase. It's your body and mind reacting to constant, overwhelming stress. If you ignore it, things can go from bad to worse, impacting your long-term health.

So, if you're feeling this way, don't brush it off. Address it before it consumes you. Check for these signs of burnout:

  1. Feeling Drained: You're constantly tired, even when you just wake up.
  2. Lack of Interest: Remember when you were excited about your job? If that seems like a distant memory, you're probably burned out.
  3. Irritability: Little things that didn’t bother you before are now huge annoyances.
  4. Effectiveness: You’re just not nailing it at work anymore.

If this hits home, or if you're still not sure, take this quiz on my blog to assess your risk of burnout:

Burnout Quiz: Is Burnout Sabotaging Your Success?"

Burnout is becoming a big deal. Did you know happy workers are 20% more productive? (study) Many of us were raised on the premise that if you work hard, and sacrifice now then you’ll be rewarded and happy in the end.

But where has that gotten us? Stressed out and missing out on life's good stuff, like family time and self-care. Happiness equals success, not the other way around!

So, You're Burned out. What Should You Do?

Some people say, "Work less!" but Gallup found it's not that easy. What counts is how you feel while you're working, not just the clock-in hours. The trick is to shift your mindset—your thinking style that shapes how you see the world.

Don't know what your mindset is? Don't worry; most people don't. But you can change it. Pay attention to how you think, especially when you face challenges.

Two mindset types are out there: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset is kinda like being stuck in your ways, thinking you're born with certain skills and can't learn new ones. A growth mindset, on the other hand, sees challenges as chances to grow.

We are all born with a growth mindset. Ever seen a baby give up learning to walk? No, they keep trying. But life happens, and sometimes our mindset gets stuck.

The good news? You can switch it back to a growth mindset. Just be aware of those self-limiting thoughts and start changing them. If you're burned out, remember, that you can turn things around. Take the steps toward a fulfilling life, starting right here, right now.

Are you feeling discouraged? I get it. But the good news is you're already ahead of the game by being aware of it. The next step is to own up to it. Pretending it’s not happening is not going to help.

So what's been stressing you out? Too much work piling up? Toxic coworkers? Or maybe you're glued to your desk 24/7 with zero time for yourself? Figuring this out is key to mapping your escape route from Burnout City.

Quick Fixes to Kick Burnout's Butt

  • Take a Break: Seriously, take some time off if you can. Sometimes a short vacation or even a long weekend can go a long way to refresh your brain. Also be mindful of your eating habits and get plenty of sleep. 
  • Know Your Limits: You can't do everything. Learn to say 'no' or toss some tasks to someone else. You're awesome, but not a robot.
  • Get Moving: A quick jog or even a few jumping jacks can do wonders to shake off that stress.
  • Celebrate You: Nailed a project or simply made it through the day? Go ahead, treat yourself! You earned it.
  • Talk it Out: Chat with a friend, family member, or even a professional. Sometimes just getting it off your chest makes all the difference.
  • Recheck Your Goals: Are you aiming too high, setting yourself up for a fall? Refocus on something doable for now.
  • Mind Over Matter: A quick meditation session, intentional reflection, or some yoga can be like hitting the mental reset button.

To really beat job burnout, you’ve got to put yourself first. This means being aware of how you're feeling, making smart changes, and caring for yourself. Remember, your job is just one part of your life, not all of it.

So, are you up for the change?

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