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Jonathan Greenhalgh burnout, stress...

Five Tips to Avoid Burnout in the Workplace

Workplace stress and burnout

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It's a common issue in the workplace that can affect employees' performance, productivity, and well-being. 

Workplace burnout is a growing concern, affecting over 74% of employees globally, according to the World Health Organisation. In the UK, a study by the Mental Health Foundation found that over two-thirds of employees have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope due to work-related stress in the past year. 12.5 million working days were lost in the UK in 2020 due to stress, depression, and anxiety, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

To help others spot the signs and avoid becoming burnt out at work, we've compiled five tips to help you stay healthy and happy on the job.

1. Identify the Causes of Burnout

The first step in avoiding burnout is identifying its causes. Workplace burnout can be caused by various factors such as work overload, lack of control over one's workload or environment, poor work-life balance, lack of support from managers or colleagues, and job insecurity. By identifying these causes early on and addressing them proactively, you can protect yourself from the negative impacts of long-term stress on your health and well-being while increasing your engagement with your work.

2. Recognise the Signs of Burnout

Recognising burnout symptoms before they significantly affect your health and well-being is essential. Physical and emotional signs include feeling exhausted, irritable or hopeless, decreased productivity, frequent headaches or stomach issues, and difficulty sleeping or concentrating. If you think you may be starting to feel burnt out, make sure you reach out to someone, whether a relative, partner, boss or friend

3. Implement Healthy Habits for Stress Management

When it comes to managing stress and avoiding burnout at work, forming healthy habits is key. Eating nutritious meals throughout the day, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates, helps maintain the physical health necessary for managing stress levels. Getting enough sleep by aiming for seven to eight hours each night helps recharge your body needed to tackle work-related tasks.

Physical activity is another great way to relieve stress at work; even short breaks throughout the day can get your blood flowing and clear your mind. Consider going for a short walk during lunch or taking a few minutes to stretch at your desk.

4. Avoiding Distractions and Taking Breaks

Taking regular breaks throughout the day can help avoid burnout at work. This can include stepping away from your desk for a few minutes or doing something you enjoy during your lunch break. Avoiding distractions like social media during work hours can also help you stay focused on tasks while reducing stress levels.

5. Seek Professional Help if Necessary

Burnout can be a serious issue, and sometimes it can be challenging to overcome alone. Recognising when you need professional help is a crucial step in avoiding burnout. Suppose symptoms persist for an extended time despite efforts to address them; it may be time to consider speaking to someone

When seeking professional help for burnout, finding a healthcare provider who understands your situation and has experience treating individuals with similar concerns is essential. You may want to consider speaking with your primary care physician or seeking out mental health professionals who specialise in stress-related conditions such as burnout.

Preventing burnout is about more than just working hard; it's about taking care of yourself both physically and mentally on a daily basis. By identifying the causes of burnout, recognising its signs, implementing healthy habits for stress management, avoiding distractions and taking breaks at work, and seeking professional help if necessary, you can stay happy and healthy on the job while avoiding burnout altogether 

If you're struggling and feel like you need to speak to someone urgently, don't wait, and please contact one of the following organisations.

Samaritans. To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email or visit some branches in person.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). You can call the CALM on

(5 pm–midnight every day) if you are struggling and need to talk. Or, if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.

Shout. If you would prefer not to talk but want some mental health support, you could text SHOUT to 85258. Shout offers a confidential 24/7 text service providing support if you are in crisis and need immediate help.​