Feeling Exhausted at Work? How Mindfulness Can Prevent Burnout

We live in a day and age where people pride themselves on how busy they can be, normalizing heavy workloads, and deadline after deadline, resulting in an all too familiar feeling - stress. While some may chalk it up to the Sunday Scaries or a Case of the Mondays, extreme and unrelenting stress can eventually lead to a debilitating state called burnout. The World Health Organization classified burnout as “a syndrome … resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed” and according to Deloitte’s Workplace Burnout Survey, an overwhelming 77% of professionals in the United States have experienced it during their career.


There are three components that characterize burnout:

(1) Exhaustion

(2) Distancing yourself from work

(3) Feeling a lack of achievement

Research has linked burnout to many health problems, including hypertension, sleep disturbances, depression, and substance abuse. Moreover, it can ruin personal relationships, diminish social lives, and jeopardize career prospects, per the Harvard Business Review.

So what can you do to prevent this affliction? There are steps that should be taken routinely, like vitamins, once you’re aware of the symptoms and of what might be causing them.

  1. Assessing your workload. When workload and capacity are in balance, it is possible to get work done and find time for professional growth, development, rest, and a little fun. To find that balance, plan your work, delegate tasks to teammates, say no to new projects when your workload is too much, and let go of the need for perfectionism, as coached by Positive Psychology.

  2. Prioritize self-care. Prioritizing good sleep, healthy nutrition, a workout you actually enjoy, quality time with loved ones, and habits that promote well-being such as meditating, journaling, and spending time in nature will replenish your physical and emotional energy. How can you be expected to “go” at work when your own tank is empty?

  3. Practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness allows us to connect with ourselves, so we can recognize our thoughts and feelings head-on in order to address them. Headspace, the leader in mindfulness training and mental well-being in the workplace, has some incredible mindfulness exercises. Headspace for Work is used by more than 700 leading companies, including Starbucks, Adobe, GE, Hyatt, and Unilever to support healthier and happier people.

There’s no magic fix for preventing or treating burnout. But by drawing awareness to the issue, asking the right questions, and suggesting tangible solutions, you too can work through this new normal.

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