Friday 11 Sep 2020 Article

The TakeawayA Quick Guide to Bouncing Back from Burnout

Burnout Demystified

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A Quick Guide to Bouncing Back from Burnout

Burnout is more than just a bad day; it’s a symptom of unmanaged workplace stress that can severely impact employee wellbeing and performance.

Having a clear understanding of the causes and symptoms of burnout can help teams bounce back quickly and prevent future burnout.

What is Burnout?

The concept of burnout was first explored by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger in 1974 who studied the behaviour of his own colleagues in the medical field. Professor Christian Maslach then extended his studies by looking at burnout in other professions, especially those that require creativity, problem-solving or mentoring.

According to the World Health Organisation, burnout is “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

What are the Common Symptoms of Burnout?

Burnout affects everyone differently, but there are several common symptoms including:

  • Overly Critical Attitude
    Criticising themselves and colleagues more frequently than usual and in a less constructive and considerate manner.

  • Deliberate Unproductivity
    Doing the bare minimum and not pushing themselves to excel or grow professionally.

  • Physical Ailments
    Physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle pain, a lack of energy and dizziness.

What are the Causes of Burnout?

Identifying the cause of burnout is arguably one of the most important aspects of avoiding or overcoming burnout. There is a vast list of potential causes of burnout, but there are a few common causes to be aware of:

  • Overworking
    Working too hard or for too long without rest can lead to mental exhaustion and potentially burnout.

  • Micro-management
    A controlling manager that gives employees no freedom can lead to increased frustration in the workplace.

  • Personal Issues
    Issues such as mental health or home-life problems often increase stress levels.

What are the Treatments for Burnout?

Overcoming burnout can be extremely difficult, which is why it’s best to try and avoid it altogether. However, if you do find that yourself or your employees have hit the metaphorical burnout brick wall, there are many things you can do to overcome it, including:

  • Time Off
    Taking a break from work is one of the key treatments for burnout. It allows your mind to rest.

  • Work-life Balance
    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for ensuring work worries aren’t brought into personal lives and vice versa.

  • Mindset
    A positive, motivated, and hopeful mindset can also help prevent burnout and improve overall wellbeing.

A Manager’s Role

Managers and leaders have a duty to protect their employees’ wellbeing and looking out for signs of burnout is a crucial element of this.

Helping employees bounce back from burnout should be at the top of leaders’ priorities; without a productive, content team, successful leadership is virtually impossible.


If you have concerns about your employees, or you just want to get an indication of their stress levels, please click here for a quick test you can forward to them.

“Running a business with unhealthy and unhappy employees is like trying to drive a car with a bad engine. It may eventually get you where you want to go, but the trip will be difficult and you’ll waste time and resources” Sheana Abrahams, Wellness Manager at Get Smarter.

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