By Rae Williams

Yes, burnout exists, and it frequently occurs, especially in a toxic work environment. However, if you’re like me, it might creep up on you.

According to Psychology Today, “Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.” Burnout can cause a lack of engagement, concentration, fatigue, headache, chest pains, and an increase in alcohol usage. 

I have encountered burnout twice and made a career change to avoid burnout in a specific role. I was unaware of myself being burned out then, but it is important to recognize these symptoms to manage and better practice self-care.  

What contributes to the journey of being burned out at work?

In my experience, these can be factors: 

  • Lack of appreciation or value at work 
  • Unreasonable expectations 
  • Managerial or team conflict 
  • No support system 
  • Lack of work-life balance 
  • Mundane work (for some) 
  • Overwhelm with role and responsibilities  

If you are dealing with most of these issues at your job, then know that burnout is inevitable. Just as a job should not sacrifice your health and peace of mind, you also should be able to bring the best effort to your work.  

Here are some ways you can combat burnout and what has helped me. 


Communicate with your manager what you are experiencing, such as being overwhelmed with tasks or feeling overworked. Trust that any good manager cares about the quality of work and will assist with prioritization or re-delegation of assignments. 


Exercising, meditation, mindful eating, and being a part of outside activities can assist in avoiding burnout. I exercise three times a week, including a boxing session that assists in releasing pent-up frustration. Trust me, it helps! However, self-care differs for everyone, so you may have to research and try a few things to see what works best for you.  

Other Opportunities 

This may not always have to be an option, but it is still an option. You have completed the recommended steps, and the environment is too unbearable to manage. As mentioned, you deserve to be heard, validated, and appreciated. If a job cannot put an effort into being an employee-friendly and caring workplace, it may be time to explore other options outside the organization.  

Employee Assistance Program 

An important note, sometimes burnout may not be caused by work. It could be personal issues you are dealing with that affect how you show up at work. If that is the case, use the company’s employee assistance program for stress management and other beneficial tools.  


Rae Williams is an HR professional in the Atlanta area who loves to dance and read in her spare time.