What to Do When Feeling Burnt Out at Work

Every professional can be impacted by burn out.

Despite our years of experience, level of education or position at our organization, any professional can experience that prolonged negative response to job-related stress called burn out.

There are many signs that you could be experiencing burn out, including physical and mental exhaustion, feeling unaccomplished or unproductive and my least favorite, feeling disconnected from your work. It is vital to acknowledge that our mental health deserves attention and care for us to show up as our best selves at work.

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I notice that I can start feeling disconnected from my full-time work when feelings of hopelessness arise. It can sometimes be difficult for me to see if I am making an impact or if I am truly helping to create a healthier and safer future for others in their relationships. Some days can feel heavier than others, so it is natural to sometimes feel disconnected from the work.

If you too sometimes feel disconnected or burnt out from your work, here are some ideas that can help:

Actively take note of your signs of burnout. 

Everyone experiences disconnection differently. There are a variety of signs that you are physically and mentally checking out from work. Take note of what that looks like for you. Some folks may become more irritable when working in teams, while others may be exhausted when completing projects. I notice that when feelings of hopelessness come up for me, I am less energetic, less patient and more cynical in my work.

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Make sure to actively notice your body’s response to stress and not to ignore it! Our bodies are usually telling us the truth when we are feeling prolonged discomfort, fatigue or aggravation.

Reconnect to your professional purpose through self-care.

I am an advocate for creating a tried and true self-care plan. Practicing caring for yourself and your needs can be incredibly beneficial to maintaining your connection to your work and to yourself.

Think about creating a plan that helps you re-engage. This could include taking both short breaks, like treating yourself to lunch or walking around your office park, to taking longer breaks, like planning a vacation. Other ideas are talking to your loved ones about non-work related things, reading something motivating or listening to something that makes you smile. Check out our recommended resources for more ideas!

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Notice if your self-care plan is working by checking into if you feel a sense of happiness, pride, relief and/or satisfaction once you’ve practiced it. If your original self-care plan isn’t meeting your current needs, it may be time to update it.

Reflect on your mental health, job satisfaction and career goals.

What brought you to your current position? What’s keeping you in it?

Attempting to answer questions like these can shine light on changes that may need to be made for you to feel reconnected to your work. If you notice that your signs of burn out arise on a very regular basis or that you are in need of more than a self-care plan to feel reconnected to your work, it may be time for a professional adjustment.

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It is important to share that having a discussion with your supervisor or your leadership could also be helpful in addressing burn out. Similarly, identifying if concerns connected to the place that you work, policies in place or the health of your work environment are also contributing to how you are feeling could also help.

If you notice that your mental health is being negatively impacted by long-term stress from your professional or personal life, seek out help from a licensed professional. The Finding a Therapist page can help you get started on your search.

How do you reconnect to your work?


  1. theultimatepsyche says

    Hey! Nice post! 🙂

    Best way to not feel burnt out at work? – Just don’t go! 😉

    Just kidding.

    I love your approach to self-care! Much of your approaches I’ve noticed for myself have helped my as well!

    Regular mindfulness practice also helps me enormously like meditation and journaling.

    Further research shows that daily, if not doing exercise minimum three a week, help restore our capacity for cognitive performance through release of hormones in our brain called BDNF (Brain-Dervied-Neurotrophic-Factor). This same hormone can also be useful in restoring brain cells that have been affected through alcohol consumption.

    Thanks for sharing! Keep it up! 🙂

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