The Negative Effects Of Job Burnout And How To Cope

Medically reviewed by Arianna Williams, LPC, CCTP
Updated May 27, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

According to both medical and mental health professionals, job stress, or job burnout is officially recognized as a significant occupational hazard that can impair physical health, psychological well-being, and work performance. While job burnout can stem from a number of things, the negative effects tend to remain the same no matter the cause.

Does Your Job Leave You Feeling Burnt Out?

While many people tend to conflate common job stress with job burnout, this is not the case. Where common job stress can typically be overcome by working fewer hours or taking some time off, job burnout is defined in the International Classification of Diseases as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

How To Recognize Job Burnout

According to a survey conducted in 2022 by the American Psychological Association, 36% of 1,501 employees surveyed, 36% reported cognitive weariness, 32% emotional exhaustion and 44% physical fatigue attributed to work-related stress. These reported numbers were significantly higher than those reported prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

With job burnout and stress at an all time high, recognizing the symptoms is typically the first step in finding long term relief. According to an article published by Forbes magazine, there are four main symptoms that classify job burnout.

These four symptoms include:

  • Feelings of energy depletion, exhaustion and fatigue. 
  • Increased mental distance from work.
  • Feelings of negativism or cynicism related to your job.
  • Reduced professional efficacy. 

Additionally, symptoms of job burnout tend to affect your thoughts, feelings, and actions outside of work as well. Burnout in the workplace can cause these symptoms to present both mentally and physically, and can even lead to difficulty maintaining relationships with family, friends, or keeping up with hobbies or activities outside of work that bring you joy.

Mental and emotional symptoms of job burnout may include:

  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Short-temperedness or feelings of irritability.
  • Isolation from friends, family or colleagues. 
  • Negative outlook on life overall. 
  • Feeling that you are useless or ineffective. 

Typically, this prolonged strain on overall well-being will also present physically in the form of:

  • Fatigue and body aches. 
  • Difficulty keeping up with self-care routines or hygiene.
  • Headaches or migraines. 
  • Blurred vision. 

What Causes Job Burnout?

It is a fairly common misconception that job burnout is simply the result of working too many hours or being overworked. While this can be a largely contributing factor, there are many other stressors that could likely result in job burnout. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, job burnout can often be the result of: 

  • Lack of control: Lacking the ability to make decisions regarding your work schedule, assignments, workload; lacking the resources to perform your job properly. 
  • Unclear job expectations: Feeling uncomfortable in your role due to a lack of clarity on your job description or what is expected of you in the workplace. 
  • Dysfunctional workplace dynamics: Feeling forced to share space or duties with difficult people such as incompetent or inconsiderate coworkers and bosses. 
  • Extremes of activity: Consistently performing monotonous or chaotic tasks that require constant focus or energy. 
  • Lack of social support: Feeling isolated or disconnected from colleagues, or difficulty connecting with loved ones due to work. 
  • Work-life imbalance: Feeling a significant lack of time, energy or financial resources to spend time on family, friends, or personal interests. 

The negative effects of these symptoms can often be amplified by feeling bound or trapped by a job. As the livelihood of most Americans is linked to steady income and health insurance through work, it can be especially challenging to cope with job burnout, but there are ways. 

How To Cope With Job Burnout

Fortunately, as a result of the sudden uptick in employee burnout and dissatisfaction, the American Psychological Association reports a greater demand for worker well-being across the board. As workplace culture begins to shift toward the prioritization of employee well-being, there are a number of ways individuals currently experiencing job burnout may be able to cope.

A few suggested coping methods include:

  • Evaluate your options: If you are able to, begin searching for a job that better suits you and your needs. In cases where you would like to remain at your job, try discussing specific concerns with a supervisor or your Human Resources department if applicable.

  • Do the best you can: If you are someone who tends to go above and beyond in the workplace, it may be helpful to simplify your focus on the job at hand, rather than doing significantly more than what is required of you. 
  • Try a relaxing activity: Explore programs that can help with stress such as yoga, meditation or tai chi.
  • Get some exercise: Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress. It can also take your mind off work.
  • Get some sleep: Sleep restores well-being and helps safeguard your health.
  • Seek support: Reach out to friends, family or trusted co-workers. It is likely you will find someone who relates to how you are feeling. Additionally, it may be helpful to reach out to a therapist or mental professional. 

Benefits Of Online Therapy

Living with the negative effects of job burnout can often lead to lasting physical and mental health conditions. If you are struggling to manage ongoing stress or symptoms of job burnout, it may be helpful to consult a therapist or licensed counselor for guidance. 

Due to the nature of job burnout, it is likely that taking time off or finding the energy to seek support can be challenging. Because of this, online therapy may offer the most convenient way to seek professional help and guidance.

Effectiveness Of Online Therapy

Does Your Job Leave You Feeling Burnt Out?

According to research, the recent uptick in strong digital mental health intervention has been shown to have significant and meaningful positive effects on the well-being of participants. Furthermore, online therapy is proven to be equally as effective as in-person therapy when it comes to the reduction of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other common mental health conditions.


If you are someone living with symptoms of job burnout, you are not alone. Job burnout is a serious condition that can leave lasting negative effects. If you are currently trying to navigate the symptoms of job burnout, it can be important to seek support, keep an open mind when weighing your options, and do your best not to allow a job to undermine your health.

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