When people think of job burnout, common symptoms like chronic fatigue, irritability, and decreased job performance usually come to mind. But there are subtler, less obvious signs that many overlook, which can be just as indicative of looming burnout, especially when it comes to peoples’ jobs.
Job burnout is common, and people are raising awareness on TikTok, where the hashtag #jobburnout increased 19% in the last week, and on Google, where searches for “work burnout” increased 185% in the past month.
To help individuals identify job burnout on their own, we contacted Tina Weede, Talent and Culture Expert and Founder of GRATITUDESGroup, who shares the 5 most uncommon signs of job burnout and how to surpass the challenges.
Change in Sleep Patterns
It’s widely known that insomnia can be a sign of burnout, but oversleeping or wanting to sleep during odd hours can also be an indicator. Such drastic changes in sleep patterns reflect the body’s struggle to cope with stress and find its natural rhythm.
“Establish a consistent sleep routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time daily, even on weekends, to get back to a regular sleep routine,” suggests Tina.
Not Getting Ready for the Day
When someone is on the brink of job burnout, there’s often a subtle decline in their attention to personal grooming and appearance. They might wear the same outfits more frequently, neglect haircuts, or skip makeup.
“Start with small self-care routines, such as setting aside specific days for skin care, hair care, or even just picking out outfits in advance. Gradually reintroducing these habits can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of normalcy,” says Tina.
Unusual Social Activities
Sometimes, a person might start pulling away from others, not because they suddenly love being alone, but because they just can’t find the energy to hang out and chat like they used to. Others might suddenly be everywhere, hitting every party and gathering, not because they’ve turned super social, but perhaps to distract themselves from how burned out they’re feeling.
“For those who feel they’re overdoing it socially, taking a step back and spending some time reflecting can help. Maybe try some mindfulness exercises or jot down your feelings in a journal,” advises Tina.
Increase in Forgetfulness
People nearing burnout often have too many thoughts racing through their minds, making it harder to focus. This mental clutter can manifest as forgetfulness. Missing appointments, misplacing items, or failing to remember conversations are all subtle signs that should not be ignored.
“Create to-do lists or use digital tools and reminders to keep track of tasks and incorporate mind-strengthening exercises like puzzles, reading, or even meditation to boost concentration,” comments Tina.
Altered Eating Habits
While overeating or loss of appetite are more common indicators, there are subtler shifts to watch out for. A sudden craving for junk food, sugar, or caffeine might be the body’s attempt to self-medicate and find quick energy boosts.
“Pay attention to what’s being eaten, savour each bite, and avoid distractions during meals. Prepare balanced meals ahead of time and have healthy snacks on hand,” suggests Tina.
Overcoming the challenges of modern work can be difficult, but with awareness and self-care, it’s manageable. Remember to tune into yourself, reach out to those around you for support when needed, and prioritise your well-being.