Information Centre

What is burnout?

Front Line Workers & Professionals Work

Burnout is characterised as chronic feelings of exhaustion, severe stress and a lack of job satisfaction.

It can be common among people with high pressure stressful jobs. Burnout can be the result of a combination of stressors both at home and at work.   

Symptoms of Burnout 

  • A disinterest in your job or viewing your job as frustrating. You may even find yourself hating your job.
  • Low energy levels. 
  • Feeling drained physically and emotionally.  
  • Headaches or stomach pains can be physical symptoms.
  • Difficulty concentrating or being productive.
  • Feelings of  irritability, impatience or indifference. 
  • A change in your sleeping patterns or even the development of a sleep disorder. 
  • Difficulty making decisions. 
  • Weight gain or loss. 
  • Symptoms similar to depression – low moods, crying a lot, losing interest in hobbies, withdrawing socially, increase in alcohol and drug consumption. 
  • Symptoms similar to anxiety – chest tightness, difficulties with breathing, muscle tension, diarrhea, sexual problems, sweating.

What causes burnout?

Burnout is more common among people with high pressure jobs. It’s usually a result of a stressful job combined with personality characteristics and lifestyle factors. 

  • Time pressure – working longer days, excessive overtime or extreme deadlines. 
  • A lack of support – both at home and in work
  • Heavy workloads 
  • Working conditions may be a factor as bad conditions affects a person’s psychological wellbeing as well as physical 
  • Unfair treatment from either management or co-workers 
  • Certain personality traits especially perfectionism can increase the chances of developing burnout 
  • Stressful home life on top of a stressful work life, maybe something has changed at home like a separation or a new baby.
  • Finance difficulties or pressure to be the breadwinner in the family and therefore taking on too many hours 

Frontline workers and burnout

The recent health crisis has increased all of our risk of experiencing burnout, especially for people working on the frontline. people working on the frontline have had an increase in workload, work hours and are also faced with the anxiety about contracting Covid-19.Health care professionals are experiencing the distress of extremely sick and dying patients and everyone on the frontline has the worry of bringing it home to family members. If this is you remember burnout is a completely natural response for frontline workers in this health crisis. It is important to try to mind yourself and be kind to yourself. You are dealing with an incredible amount, so if it feels to much then know that is normal and okay.

Read coping with burnout for more

Support on turn2me for frontline workers:Wherever you are on the frontline your peers are here to support you!

Turn2me offers free, anonymous, professional instant chat group support for people working on the frontline – from dealing with Covid-19 and burnout to creating healthy habits – join other frontline workers from around the country to share your experiences and strategies for getting through.