5 Common Signs of Professional Burnout

Sooo another Monday’s come and gone, and we’ve not posted any interesting titbit for you. But apparently, losing track of one’s work goals can actually be a symptom of something rather disturbing: burnout. Colour me intrigued, for I thought I was simply forgetting to keep up the schedule. Or maybe I am also heading for burnout? Let’s check the five most common signs and see if that’s what’s going on here.


First of all, burnout itself is defined by Forbes as a longer period of time when a person is very exhausted and stops being interested in things (both in and out of work), which results in a drop in professional performance. Well, clearly, performance is an issue – a decline in your duties is one of the major signs of burnout, but I do not feel particularly disinterested. I am a bit tired, though… Should I be worried?


Sign no. 1: Exhaustion

This one appears at the top of all the lists. From WebMD to the Muse, every expert out there points to this as a starting point. Since the outbreak of the pandemic many of us have been working from home for a long time now. Many feel exhausted from being cooped up for so long. It is a stressful situation, and a prolonged one. According to experts, burnout is often associated with protracted stressful situation at a job or at home. We’ll focus on the workplace, though.


Sign no. 2: Emptiness and lack of drive

Another common sign, often experienced by sufferers from depression as well, is the feeling of depletion. One clever analogy compares our motivation and capacity to undertake tasks to a car that needs ignition to start. More than simply being out of fuel, burned out people lack the spark to start tasks or begin new activities. Or any activities, really. If you feel that way, and are often exhausted, it may be a good time to talk to a specialist or try some techniques to alleviate burnout syndrome.


Sign no. 3: Feeling aloof and cynical

One of the less common signs, but one that is a telltale symptom of a fast-approaching burnout, is feeling detached. It’s a little like peering out at the world from a very small window, not being really part of it. We feel nothing and react very sluggishly to things that go on around us. This is a clinical symptom that is very commonly associated with other, more serious psychological conditions, so if you feel that way, maybe it’s time to see the shrink!


Sign no. 4: Irrational thoughts and absolutism

There is a lot that people suffering from depression and other mental conditions share with burnouts, and this peculiar side effect is quite often overlooked, but it shouldn’t. If you feel like nothing you do matters, and that everything is wrong, you are talking in absolutes – and this may be a red light that tells you something is wrong. Irrational thoughts like these are fuelled by other symptoms to cause the worst and most common signal (after exhaustion).


Sign no. 5: Depression or profound sadness

If you do not see a single ray of sunshine even in the middle of summer whilst sat at your desk at the office (or at home), and after work you do not feel happy or excited about the weekend or end of the working day, then perhaps you are burned out, and not simply depressed (as if it is ever that simple!). Chances are that if you suffer from at least 2 of the above, you may need to check your well-being and try one of the ways of coping with burnout. Unlike in case of the true clinical depression, you can be cured of burnout – and return to your happy, productive self in no time. Good luck!




titbit – ciekawostka
apparently – najwyraźniej
to lose track of sth – przestać czegoś pilnować, stracić coś z oczu
disturbing – niepokojący
burnout – wypalenie (zawodowe)
colour me intrigued… – to dopiero dziwne, że… (UK)
…for – jako że, ponieważ (arch.)
to keep sth up – utrzymać coś, kontynuować
schedule – harmonogram
to head for sth – zmierzać ku czemuś
common – powszechny
exhausted – wykończony
drop – spadek, zmniejszenie się
performance – wyniki, wydajność
decline – obniżenie (się), spadek
disinterested – niezainteresowany
to point to sth as sth
starting point – punkt wyjścia
outbreak – wybuch (np. epidemii)
cooped up – zamknięty w ciasnym miejscu, w czterech ścianach (pot.)
prolonged – przedłużający się
associated with sth – powiązany z czymś
protracted – przewlekły, przedłużający się
workplace – miejsce pracy
drive – motywacja, zapał
sufferer from sth – cierpiący na coś
depletion – wyczerpanie, brak energii
analogy – analogia
capacity – zdolność, możliwość
to undertake sth – podejmować coś
ignition – zapłon (w aucie, silniku)
out of fuel – bez paliwa
spark – iskra, bodziec
to alleviate sth – zmniejszyć coś, załagodzić
aloof – z dala, odizolowany/trzymający się na uboczu
telltale – znamienny, charakterystyczny
fast-approaching – nadchodzący wielkimi krokami
detached – odizolowany, odcięty
to peer out – wyglądać (np. przez okno)
sluggishly – powolnie, ospale
condition – schorzenie
shrink – psycholog, terapeuta (pot., US)
absolutism – absolutyzm
mental – umysłowy
peculiar – dziwny, nietypowy
side effect – efekt uboczny
to overlook sth – przeoczyć coś
to matter – mieć znaczenie
red light – czerwone światełko, światełko ostrzegawcze
to fuel sth – napędzać coś
ray of sunshine – promyk słońca
working day – dzień pracy/pracujący
chances are that… – jest prawdopodobne, że…
well-being – dobrostan, dobre samopoczucie
to cope with sth – poradzić sobie z czymś
in no time – (prawie) od razu

by Prochor Aniszczuk

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