How to Manage Burnout at Work Without Quitting

Burnout at work often goes unnoticed by many people. In fact, today, it seems that the workaholic is rewarded. However, work overload, and the resulting excessive fatigue is a condition with really dangerous effects that, far from being actively managed, are often simply tolerated.
How to Manage Burnout at Work Without Quitting
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Written by Edith Sánchez

Last update: 03 February, 2023

It’s important to know how to manage burnout at work, especially since work overload today is commonplace. In fact, unfortunately, in many jobs, the idea that all employees must give 1,000 percent to the organizations they work for has been normalized. Therefore, a good worker is seen as the one who’s available 24/7. However, this isn’t the case.

Overworking has become an epidemic. Today, many people receive work messages outside of their working hours or find themselves having to comply with ‘urgent’ requirements of all kinds, regardless of whether they have the time available. The reasons for accepting this situation are various. They range from the fear of reprisal to the fact that it’s the norm in the workplace in question.

As a rule, employers or contractors should apply measures to prevent workers from being overloaded or feeling fatigued. Yet, in practice, this might be limited to a couple of active breaks in the working day or a day off a week. Therefore, many people have to manage burnout at work on their own, with no assistance.

“Though not a medical diagnosis, burnout—specifically job burnout—is linked to a range of health problems, from irritability to cardiovascular disease.”

-Catherine Zuckerman-

Tired woman at work
Fatigue that doesn’t go away is one of the main signs of work exhaustion.

Managing burnout at work

It’s normal to feel tired after a demanding day at work. Indeed, the simple fact of being tired doesn’t necessarily signify burnout. That said, if tiredness occurs frequently and is extreme, it’s most likely that you’ve entered the realm of burnout. If so, you need to do something about it.

We all have our own ways of managing burnout at work, though we may not even realize it. Some people get irritable and have arguments with everyone, thus releasing some of their accumulated stress. Others become passive as if they were serving a sentence. They may also experience sadness and signs of depression.

On the other hand, some people, especially younger ones, take drastic measures. One of them is quitting.  They might also take this kind of action after they’ve been ill or, on realizing that their life and emotional state are a complete disaster. How can this be prevented?

Warning signs

The first and most important of the signs of burnout at work is, as we already mentioned, fatigue that won’t go away. It’s not the kind of situation where you feel tired, go to bed and fall into a deep sleep, then wake up the next day feeling refreshed.

In the case of burnout, you feel either half awake or half asleep all the time. At night, you struggle to sleep. When you do, you wake up frequently and the next day you feel like you’ve hardly slept at all. In effect, you haven’t replenished your energy.

Likewise, you lose your interest in activities outside of work. It’s like you only have enough energy to survive the demands of work. You feel irritable, stressed, and overloaded. You rarely laugh or enjoy yourself and you consistently feel like you just can’t take anymore. Moreover, you probably get sick more often.

tired woman
Burnout at work has consequences on the personal lives of workers.

What can you do?

Firstly, you need to recognize that you have a problem. Burnout at work isn’t trivial. It’s an extremely dangerous situation that puts your physical and mental health at risk. However, as you’re fatigued, it won’t be easy for you to do anything. But, there are certain things you must do. For instance, you’ll probably find it useful to introduce meditation and physical activity into your routine.

As a matter of fact, just five minutes of daily meditation has been shown to be powerful enough to produce visible effects. You simply need to find a solitary place, take a deep breath, and concentrate on your breathing. If you can do it once a week, great, if you can do it every day, even better.

Physical activity also generates really positive effects on your physical and mental health. Like meditation, do it for five minutes a day. Again, if you can spend more time on it, terrific, but if not, five minutes is fine.

We could add more advice to the above. Nevertheless, in reality, it’s only these two measures that have the greatest impact. Indeed, you’ll perceive some effects immediately, but the real benefits will appear after a couple of months following the routine. Do this, and you’ll discover that you don’t have to quit your job just because of burnout.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Durán, M. M. (2010). Bienestar psicológico: el estrés y la calidad de vida en el contexto laboral. Revista nacional de administración, 1(1), 71-84.
  • Mansilla, Fernando. (2003). El Síndrome de Fatiga Crónica: del modelo de susceptibilidad a la hipótesis de la cadena de estrés en el área laboral. Revista de la Asociación Española de Neuropsiquiatría, (86), 19-30. Recuperado en 18 de enero de 2023, de
  • Vaamonde, J. D. (2016). Apoyo organizacional e intenciones de renunciar al trabajo: el rol mediador de la inseguridad laboral. In VIII Congreso Internacional de Investigación y Práctica Profesional en Psicología XXIII Jornadas de Investigación XII Encuentro de Investigadores en Psicología del MERCOSUR. Facultad de Psicología-Universidad de Buenos Aires.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.