November 22, 2011

Stress and Job Burnout

Burnout can manifest in many ways. It is a complex human reaction to ongoing stress, the signs and symptoms can appear the same as excessive stress but the symptoms of burnout include a more emotional response including emotional exhaustion and increasing feelings of negativity. Responses to burnout can be different for each person but the causes are common to most people.

For the purpose of this article we’ll stick to the area of burnout associated with the work environment. 

Being able to make the connections and recognise events or issues leading to burnout is the first step. These causes can include:

  • Feeling powerless to make improvements or contribute
  • Feeling unappreciated for effort or work done
  • Feeling pressured to achieve at work
  • Working in a conflicted environment
  • Dealing with complex personal problems or conflicts outside of the work environment
Once you have recognised the presence of these causes and/or the series of events that have lead to burnout you may then be able to link physical symptoms and mental stress symptoms that indicate an abnormal level of stress.

Making decisions about work/life balance can be the first step in a self care plan which should include the three categories:

  • Physical – diet, exercise
  • Mental – relaxation, meditation, breath work
  • Strategic – having realistic, achievable goals & recognising limitations
We highly recommend reading:
Self-compassion as a coping strategy
during stressful life events
Other interventions may need to be more specific or tailored for different outcomes or understanding. Counselling can help with the assessment of a person’s vulnerabilities and help with strategies for increasing awareness. Burnout can be healed in these ways.If you are experiencing any of these concerns or would like more understanding about your own situation our professional counsellors can make assessments and provide counselling.

Please contact our office or see our website for further information or to make an appointment. Ph: 9542 4029 or

Deborah, Counsellor at Enough is Enough


  1. Stress is the "fever" of burnout. The stress must be brought down to preserve health, but bringing it down does not eliminate the burnout. Burnout is a motivational problem caused by feelings of powerlessness - inability to "win" when winning is demanded, including damned-if-you-do; damned-if-you-don't situations. The way to overcome burnout is to develop "personal power" - a sense of I-Can-Do. Good decision making is one way to increase feelings of personal power. For extensive info on job burnout, please visit my site at

  2. Burnout is one of the reasons for resignation and low productivity among employees. Balance in the workplace and at home are often mixed up and lead to downfalls in performance as a worker and family member. Though it can be more stressful to even try to eliminate stress, these tips you’ve given are a big help to achieve goals within the workplace. Great post and blog!