Burnout syndrome: discover 5 ways to tackle it

Surely you’ve heard about burnout syndrome: that undesirable situation in which, for whatever reasons, our work “sets us on fire.” That is, it wears us out by consuming us in its flames.


When work burns us, that means that it reduces us little by little to ashes, therefore, reducing our productivity and vitality as workers. In those situations, work takes away our shine and turns us into scorched earth where there is no life. It’s as if we were a field that has been toiled to the point where grass can no longer grow.

It’s true that when certain conditions are met, ash can function as a fertilizer – in this case, we might grow back stronger and more resilient – but we all agree that it is better not to burn down the entire forest to get there.

Burnout doesn’t have to be strictly due to an excess of work… burnout syndrome can be the result of stress as well.

burnout syndrome

Tips to face burnout syndrome

A person can feel very valued in their work, have their dream job, and spend their time working on very important and meaningful tasks. That same person, for various reasons, can also assume too many tasks at a given moment, or have to face responsibilities that don’t correspond to them or that exceed their knowledge. When this happens, the person can turn into the embodiment of stress, but these situations don’t necessarily have to lead to burnout syndrome. In fact, feeling appreciated and recognized, perceiving that work as meaningful, feeling able to ask for help… these actions can reignite our sparks.

Our work environment can be very demanding, and many people like to consult with psychologists about their ambiguous feelings of stress. Below you can read some phrases that are frequently said by people who are already beginning to manifest the symptoms of burnout syndrome. Pay attention while you read them, because you may recognize yourself in some of them as a worker:

“I feel alone in my work”, “I’m never appreciated for what I do”, “My work is useless”, “I don’t have any say when it comes to making decisions/ I don’t have control over my tasks”, “No matter what I do, nothing will motivate me”,” Work is like a vampire; it consumes so much of my energy to a point where I feel like I don’t have any left for other activities”, ”My work is excessively demanding, more demanding than what I can take on without breaking, and on top of that it doesn’t even mean anything. “

Have you been feeling like this for a while now? Well, be careful, because that means there is something burning, at least in the psychological sense of the expression.

1. Detect burnout syndrome as soon as possible

Burnout syndrome can often go unnoticed. Every fire begins discreetly with a few smoldering leaves and some incandescent kindle over a few square feet until it becomes a massive fire spread out over miles.

In other words, a fire starts out silently, physically, and metaphorically. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to that thin trail of smoke that already appears between the computers, that faint smell of burning in the meeting room, that soft crackle of our agenda when it imitates a burning fireplace: if we do not stop it in time, we will become burned out workers.

Getting burned is a process, so it’s important to be able to recognize the difference between having a little spark from time to time in our work and developing a psychological inkling of burnout syndrome. Being burned out is not having a bad, disappointing, or tiring day at work. Not two or three. Being burned out is something else: it’s the result of a prolonged period of bad days, full of endless or meaningless tasks that end up depressing us and diminishing efficiency in our tasks.

Being burned out doesn’t mean that you have a horrible job that you have to leave. It means that something in your work and in your way of doing it (or in the way external circumstances force you to carry it out) is negatively affecting your physical and mental health. If this is your situation, there is only one possible good conclusion: things have to change…and they have to change as soon as possible.

2. Remember to have some perspective 

Work is an important part of your life but it shouldn’t encompass your entire life. Therefore, if work is going well, great! If it isn’t, remember: it’s just a part that goes wrong. It’s great to work doing something that motivates us and that fills our lives with meaning, but that doesn’t always happen and if so, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

Our work performance should favor our health or, at least not undermine it. However, it’s not realistic to think that work is always perfect or that we are excited every day: don’t let yourself burn out after the first time, because it’s very rare that everything goes well all the time!

Also, don’t expect your job to be able to provide the satisfaction and contentment that you should be getting in other areas of your life. Distribute responsibilities, separate and feed the different aspects of your daily life and learn to switch off. While you are at work, work as hard as possible. Then, when it’s time to go home, remember that it is time for you to take care of the other aspects of your life. Either you do it, or you burn out.

3. Give importance to people

We all know how much truth there is behind the phrase “you’re better off alone” than in bad company, especially when the companionship isn’t found in the places where we work. However, even when this is the case, try not to isolate yourself as a means to “protect” yourself from a toxic environment. Cultivate a good relationship with your co-workers. Weave alliances, ask for help if you need it, seek mutual support and collaboration with the people around you whenever possible.

Susan M. Wilson, a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) is clear: “Burnout is less likely to occur within a positive and supportive working environment.” As this psychologist adds, “social support from supervisors, co-workers and family members all contribute to this positive atmosphere.”

Unwind; a very powerful machine can save you some of the work but it will not give you a pat on the back to congratulate you on your achievements or go out for a coffee break with you. It is not going to give you any brilliant advice, nor is it going to recommend you to its therapist, nor will it ask your boss to loosen up a bit with what they ask you to do. In the end, it’s all about the people.

burnout syndrom

4. Improve your organization

Take breaks, don’t bombard yourself with impossible goals, or ask others to achieve impossible things for you. Sometimes we insist on doing things, confusing tenacity with simply being stuck. It’s better to refine your eyes and perspective a little and think that maybe, especially if you’re not getting where you want to be, you can try something different for a while before getting back to work: a quick change, of course, today can save you from the flames tomorrow.

Figure out where you have to try harder and where you have to give yourself some slack. Adjust your expectations and priorities, do not waste time or energy. Take a step back, widen your perspective, and continue working with a fresh set of eyes.

5. Take the appropriate measures to avoid burnout syndrome

Don’t rush into making hasty decisions when you start to feel burned out in the work environment, but if the feeling start to persist, maybe it’s time to start looking at your life more critically. If you think you’re suffering from burnout syndrome, you should take more important measures: make use of your days off, ask for medical leave, or, without haste but also without hesitation, assess the possibility of changing jobs.

Sometimes neither holidays, nor time off, nor a change of work are feasible solutions in the short term. Remember, your health is not something you can postpone. If you feel that your job is making you feel burned out, it is important that you ask for psychological help. Psychologists are here to teach you that you have fire extinguishers for your burnout more at hand than you think.

How to tackle burnout syndrome with ifeel

Ifeel has created an emotional well-being program for companies, designed by its team of professional psychologists to help employees take better care of themselves. 

Thanks to this partnership, HR managers can receive data-driven advice on how to prevent possible psychosocial risk factors for their teams. This will help them deal with issues such as burnout syndrome and may more.

On the other hand, the emotional well-being program for companies designed by ifeel offers employees an mental health care service structured at different levels depending on individual needs. This way, employees can access various mental health care tools with ifeel’s app. They can also access a second level where they can receive emotional support through a chat from one of our licensed psychologists on our platform. If further help is needed, they can access level 3 of the program: psychological therapy with a psychologist who specializes in cases like theirs. 

Get in touch today and request more information. Our psychologists are here to help you and your team

Nueva llamada a la acción

  • Nueva llamada a la acción

  • We think these articles may interest you

  • Nueva llamada a la acción

  • We think these articles may interest you