Workplace Burnout? Understanding The 4 Stages of Burnout

Burnout is a medical condition as per the WHO and it takes a toll on your body and mind. Workplace burnout is one of the most common causes of burnout and the onset of burnout is gradual. It does not happen overnight, but rather in stages. There are 4 stages of burnout you should look out for.

The experience of burnout may differ from person to person, but the stages are more or less similar. Understanding these 4 stages of burnout will help you discover and assess which stage of burnout do you lie on, and take the necessary steps to ensure you can beat burnout!

Understanding the 4 stages of burnout:

Honeymoon phase. This is the time when you’ve just started a new job or role and are settling in. Everything feels great and your work is going good. Creativity is flowing, and there’s a lot of excitement. Your job satisfaction is high and you’re soaring. This phase can last for a few weeks or months, based on how everything else aligns and what your stress relief strategies are. During this stage of burnout, if you find effective ways of managing stress and work life balance, it can last longer and you will be happier.

From the 4 stages of burnout, the honeymoon stage is when you're happiest.


Stress begins. As you continue working, you realise not everyday will be super productive and exciting. Slowly, you might start to feel stressed. It could be about little things like HR policies, office politics, your compensation package, your manager. It will cause dissonance to rise. Some days will be difficult, with longer working hours, things not going your way and your burnout begins. From all the stages of burnout, this is when your stress begins and it marks the onset of burnout. You might feel a bit anxious, get slight headaches, forget to eat on time and find yourself tiring faster. If you’re not careful, workplace burnout will start to set in.

Workplace burnout starts to set in. during the 3rd stage from the 4 stages of burnout.


Chronic stress. From the 4 stages of burnout, this is probably the most crucial one. If you are able to see the signs early and pull yourself out of this stage with effective stress management skills, you can avoid burnout and all the issues it brings. During this stage, your motivation drops and stress becomes an everyday feeling. There’s a definite change in your stress levels and everything at work feels like a problem. You are detached from work and your symptoms will be more intense. Work life balance has disappeared, you’re apathetic, experience mood swings often, fall sick often and stop doing things you enjoy. Workplace burnout has started to set in as well!

From all the stages of burnout, workplace burnout becomes critical in the 4th stage.


Burnout. The last of the 4 stages of burnout is to finally experience workplace burnout. When you enter this stage, your symptoms and behaviour become critical. You lose all interest in work, you’re unable to sleep properly, your productivity drops and you suffer a total loss of motivation at work. Stress and anxiety is at all time high and you’re unable to feel good about work. At such a time, continuing on the same path is not the right option. In order to recover, you need a break from work and need to find happiness again. Be it through a hobby, a vacation or the support of an expert, it’s time for a change. It’s important to make a drastic change to combat workplace burnout at this point.

Often, there is a 5th stage, where workplace burnout becomes so common, you experience it periodically. This usually happens when you’re in a super stressful job with high pressure situations being the norm. You tire out quickly and are always facing stress. When you’re in this stage of workplace burnout, you need a break a few times a year to recharge.

So, where do you lie on the 4 stages of burnout? Take time to reflect, understand the signs of burnout, figure out the symptoms of workplace burnout and take our workplace burnout self-test! By doing so, you’ll understand what stage of burnout you’re on and what you need to do to recover or avoid burnout. Trying simple stress relief exercises, changing your lifestyle, meditation and knowing how to beat workplace stress, you’ll be able to balance your body and mind and manage stress effectively.

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