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 over 600,000 UK workers suffered from work-related anxiety, depression or stress in 2018 and 2019. The same study also found that a staggering 12.8 million working days were lost due to burnout symptoms. Research has also shown that burnout not only affects your wellbeing, your brain(!) and performance, but can cause strain on relationships too. And it’s not just work – accumulated stress in our daily lives as a result of major change or challenges can be the culprit 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 your local GP and online NHS mental health support lines for advisory guidance. Remember, you are not alone in your struggle!

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 and deadlines.

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? Is the job hunt overwhelming you? 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. We encourage you to speak to your GP or call the NHS by dialing 111 for advice on treatment and recovery. Alternatively, you can reach out to our team at +44 20 8338 9333 for advice and further support.