How can I deal with burnout at work?

Experts say a solution to burnout at work is a trip to the gym. Burnout is a condition that includes emotional exhaustion and a negative attitude toward the workplace. Experts estimate that burnout costs the global economy $300 billion per year.

If you’re among those suffering from burnout, you should take a cue from Australian researchers, who found in a study that those afflicted with burnout improved their well­being and stress levels by doing a workout that contained both weightlifting and cardio training. The research provided a valuable supplement that attests to the significant benefit of exercise.

Avoid using comfort food or alcohol to cope with burnout. Instead, get in a vigorous workout and see how you feel.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
In a disturbing new survey, nearly half of all employers said their workers are emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted. Being unemployed may be worse.

Experts know that burnout is fixable. You can recharge. Give the following personal-battery boosters a go.
  • Reach out. Humans aren't wired to work solo. Isolation subtly boosts stress, and more stress equals more burnout. You're at extra risk if you're a home caregiver, a telecommuter, an office worker stuck in a lonely cube or a daily job searcher. Balance all that alone time by connecting with like-minded folks. Join a job-search club or caregiver support group. Make time for lunch with office buddies. Network. Volunteer.
  • Visit your happy place daily. Hit the pause button every day with a 20-minute relaxation break. It will boost well-being and flood your brain with positive thoughts. Try guided imagery for an instant mental escape. Want something more physical? Walking (or biking, swimming or a fun exercise video) reduces stress and ups feel-good brain chemicals. It also counteracts anxiety-fueled threats, such as jumps in your blood pressure, blood sugar and LDL cholesterol.
  • Restore your sleep. Daytime stress can steal hours of deep sleep from you at night. It's a nasty feedback loop, because bad sleep makes tomorrow more stressful. Really use sleep-friendly strategies. After lunch, sip herb tea instead of caffeine. Tonight, relax with a good book and some deep breathing before bed, not a couple of beers and hours of TV or Web surfing. Alcohol and glowy electronic lights disrupt sleep.
  • Reconnect with what you love. When one part of your life swallows everything else -- time with family, fun with friends, worship, even knitting that scarf – it's a recipe for more burnout. Block out regular time for you. Or for you two: Trade back rubs with your partner. You'll get the burnout-melting benefits of touch therapy minus the spa price.
  • Regain control. It's crucial for beating burnout. Make prioritized to-do lists. Devote lunch hours to whatever makes you feel great, whether it's catching up with your office BFF, crossing off mini-chores or stretching at your kitchen "desk." It all helps.
  • Give yourself a mental health check. Behind a case of "I've had it up to here" is soul-deep exhaustion and barrage of negative thoughts. Behind that is chronic stress. The combo can easily morph into full-blown depression that needs expert help. Get it.

Continue Learning about Wellness

What Are the Benefits of Having a Health Coach?
What Are the Benefits of Having a Health Coach?
Want to improve your overall health? Lose weight? Quit smoking? You’re not alone. However, change is hard and sustaining behavior changes for the long...
Read More
Can wearing tight jeans hurt me?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Denim jeans may be fashionable, but they can hurt your leg. Watch as Dr. Oz explains why tight j...
More Answers
How Your Zip Code Affects Your Health
How Your Zip Code Affects Your HealthHow Your Zip Code Affects Your HealthHow Your Zip Code Affects Your HealthHow Your Zip Code Affects Your Health
Find out where the most positive, least stressed people with the best diets live.
Start Slideshow
What Are Some Fashionable Shoe Styles That Won't Hurt My Feet?
What Are Some Fashionable Shoe Styles That Won't Hurt My Feet?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.