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Work Burnout and Its Effects on Mental Health

The world is currently grappling with the adverse effects of COVID-19 on the economy, ongoing climate change, and numerous disruptions of peace in various countries. These changes are impacting lives, and the numbers of mental health problems are at an all-time high.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five adults lives with a mental illness. This number totals approximately 52.9 million Americans as of 2020. Work burnout is among the leading causes of mental health problems like stress, depression, and anxiety in the professional sector.

Many people resort to resigning or changing careers due to work burnout. However, that isn't always the solution, and finding and healing the root of the problem works better. This article will uncover the effects of work burnout on your mental health and how to overcome these symptoms.

What is Workplace Burnout?

Workplace burnout refers to work-related stress leading to a lack of interest in your job. It’s an emotional, mental, and physical stress that greatly affects productivity and leads to negative feelings towards your job or co-workers. Ultimately, many people choose to walk away from their careers due to workplace burnout.

What Causes Workplace Burnout?

Several factors can lead to workplace burnout, whether you're in a toxic work environment or overworking to keep your company afloat. You can experience burnout due to a specific reason or a combination of occurrences; the situation is different for everyone. Factors that lead to workplace burnout can include:

  • Overworking

  • Undefined roles and extreme expectations

  • Rude bosses

  • Work-life imbalance

  • Lack of or poor communication

  • Dysfunctional work environment

  • Financial problems and minimal access to resources

  • Unfair treatment

How Does Workplace Burnout Impact Your Mental Health?

Workplace burnout is not a joke if left untreated. Burnout can impact your health physically, mentally, and emotionally. Common effects include exhaustion, insomnia, anxiety, negative mood, or illnesses. Below is an overview of the most profound effects of burnout on your mental health.

Negative Mood

Work burnout breeds immense negative emotions, which translate into a negative mood. As a result, you’ll lash out, sulk, and be disinterested in building positive relationships. Eventually, if you’re unhappy at work, it’ll also affect your personal life and cause fractured relationships.

Anxiety and Stress

When you’re in a toxic work environment and can't deliver at your best, that can lead to anxiety, stress, or depression. Burnout typically starts with negative moods and a lack of interest in your job. However, the emotions can later translate to worry, edginess, mental and physical exhaustion, or a constant feeling of tension.


Have you ever felt tired after a long day but can't seem to fall asleep? That can be an effect of burnout on your mental health. Sometimes when you have a lot on your mind, it becomes hard to fall asleep, and this can happen consciously or subconsciously.


It’s normal to feel extreme fatigue after working all day. However, when you’re always tired, especially after you have just woken up or had time to unwind, that might be an effect of burnout on your mental health. When you’re experiencing burnout, the thought of going to work seems unbearable.

Health Conditions

Workplace burnout can cause physical illnesses like high blood pressure, heart disease, alcoholism, or constant migraines. When you are unhappy or harbor negative emotions, that can affect how your body functions, leading to illnesses. In addition, overworking, lack of sleep, and poor eating habits can cause physical illnesses.

How to Treat Work Burnout

Treating workplace burnout starts with acknowledging the changes in your mood and the fact that you’re burnt out. Once you accept your condition, it’s easier to overcome your condition. Other treatment methods include:

  • Learning something new excites your nervous system and sparks your curiosity. For example, you can enroll in a coding boot camp to learn a new coding language. General Assembly is a nationally renowned boot camp for Python courses.

  • You should stay active to stimulate your endorphins for a positive feeling. For example, you can join a gym, hike, or enroll in a yoga class.

  • Reach out to your friends, bosses, family, co-workers, or a counselor. When you’re experiencing burnout, it’s easier to spiral. Therefore, maintain a close-knit support system.

  • You can always say no or walk away from situations that can lead to workplace burnout.


The bottom line is that work burnout is not classified as a health condition, but it can have significant effects on your mental health. When you start to feel or act differently at work, take time to understand your patterns and reach out for help. It is never too late to overcome workplace burnout.

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