The signs of burnout and how to recover

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion caused by overexertion and excessive and prolonged stress. Symptoms include frequent illness and lowered immunity, constant fatigue, loss of motivation and reduced performance. 

It’s by no means a rare phenomena, either – a study found that the rate of burnout in Switzerland is increasing rapidly, with work stoppages due to stress rising by 50% since 2012. The Swiss government also found that stress and burnout costs the economy roughly CHF10 billion per annum. On top of that, research has also shown that burnout not only affects your wellbeing, your brain(!) and performance, but can cause strain on relationships too. Due to its widespread effects, prevention and treatment is key.

Signs of pre-burnout

Pre-burnout and depression share many similar symptoms, including but not limited to:

  • Increased cynicism and negative outlook
  • Persistent tiredness
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Increased sugar/alcohol consumption
  • Decreased quality of work

Overcoming burnout

We’ve gathered a number of tips to guide you through overcoming mild cases of burnout below. In more severe cases, we advise our Cooplers to reach out to more appropriate sources of support such as mental health support lines or local practising doctors for advisory guidance. Remember, you are not alone in your struggle, nor do you have to suffer in silence!

1. Find a healthy work-life balance

As the Coople mantra goes: work to live, don’t live to work! Life is about more than just the 9-5 (or whatever flexible hours you choose as a Coopler) grind. Pursue creative endeavours, invest time in your interests and social life to reconnect with life outside of work.

2. Take time for yourself

Exercise, a quality sleep schedule, nourishing meals and proper “me time” – these are all touted regularly as treatments for stress and other similar ailments, but for good reason. Having a solid self care routine can do wonders for the busy individual, so make sure you’re setting time aside each day to disconnect from work and focus on yourself and your wellbeing.

3. Set boundaries

If you’re reaching capacity on what you can manage in your personal and work life, don’t be afraid to take a stance and say “no”. 

If you’re feeling on the cusp of (pre)burnout, it’s also a good idea to take a step back to assess the underlying cause. Are you working too many long nights? Are your social obligations, fitness goals and home life on top of your work aspirations too much to balance? Once you pinpoint the root, you can begin recuperating.

Remember: if you’re suffering from (pre)burnout, there are sources of support you can reach out to for guidance. We recommend you to call your GP for advice and necessary health assessments, or dial 143 to reach the “Helping Hand” counselling helpline. Alternatively, you can reach out to our team at +41 44 554 50 00 for advice and further support.