In today’s hyper-productive and highly competitive job market, a growing number of professionals are feeling the heat of burnout.

Once experienced primarily by doctors, teachers, and caregivers, burnout now affects workers in all industries with alarming frequency. Sometimes referred to as emotional exhaustion, burnout differs significantly from the press and glare of hard work. If left unaddressed, it can leave sufferers with a diminished performance capacity, both at home and on the job, a worsened state of mental and physical health, and a general feeling of hopelessness.

This post will address some of the underlying, overarching issues of burnout: namely the symptoms, causes, and methods of overcoming it. Read on to learn more!

Symptoms of Burnout

It goes without saying that we all have bad days. The fine line between personal and professional life can begin to fade when you are constantly bringing work home or are perpetually burdened by the problems of friends and loved ones.

Coping with bad days is a normal part of life. But if the bad days become the rule rather than the exception, burnout could be on the way. Small decisions may appear enormous. Anxiety may build. It may be difficult to see a way out, leaving you feeling hopeless, exhausted, and trapped.

When you’re burned out, it’s often difficult to step back and see the bigger picture. You may feel like a cog in the machine and have no idea what you’re doing it for or where you’re going.

Add on the side effects such as depression, anxiety, poor performance, voids of motivation, and self-destructive tendencies, and you’re left with full-on burnout.

Do not be ashamed of burnout. Often, it is the most highly-motivated individuals that suffer from burnout. The quest for perfection, insatiable appetite for work, and refusal to compromise can create the perfect storm of burnout.

The first step of treating burnout is calling it by its right name. Unlike simple stress, burnout is a problem that won’t fix itself with time.

Causes of Burnout

The onset of burnout is usually prolonged and gradual. Burnout also thrives under situations of little feedback, positive or otherwise. Causes can be both an accumulation of the same routines, and a “straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back” scenario, or a significant change of some nature.

This change could take many forms: a reassignment of roles, a change in management, a new company, a change of responsibilities, and the like. Ultimately, the cause of your burnout is unique to your circumstances. However, it is most unlikely that personal issues and personal outlook are the sole factors. Meaning you can’t think your way out of it with positivity and ‘buckling down’!

Feeling both overwhelmed by and disconnected from the work you do is likely to result in burnout. And, unfortunately, this is something that’s all too common in the modern workplace.

Treatments of Burnout

Talk about it.

Discuss your feelings of hopelessness and frustration frankly and without fear of judgement. Call on a dear friend, trusted coworker, or even schedule an appointment with a manager. Articulate specific incidents that are causing you the most grief. Consider coping skills and mechanisms that can combat your burnout in a healthy, empowering way.

Take a break.

Cash in your vacation days and escape. Vacation pay is taxed, so don’t just take the money— take a proper vacation. Not necessarily a stressful one—revisiting a favorite destination or even just staying home, can provide exactly the time you need.

If you can’t stay, go.

The simple fact is this: as an employee, you are dispensable to your workplace. In the same vein, as an employer, they are dispensable to you. If you are sick of misery and there is no indication whatsoever of any changes to come, it may be in your best interest to take an exit and pursue other opportunities.

For instance, if a toxic workplace is exacerbating the problem, resigning may be your only option. Loyalty is important and rewarded, but not at the expense of every facet of one’s well-being.

Burnout can be tiring and often heartbreaking, but unlike other ailments, it can be treated and cured completely.

Remember, there is no salary on earth that is worth the priceless value of health.