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5 Unpopular Signs of Burnout That Hardworking M’sians Should Look Out For


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Whenever we talk about burnout, most people would immediately think of the image of a demotivated person feeling exhausted from work. However, did you know that burnout may also come with various other symptoms that are not as popular? If you’re constantly feeling stressed at work lately and you worry about the risk of being burnt out, you should check this list to see if you’re experiencing any of these!

1. Having trouble falling asleep

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It’s commonly known that the healthy amount of sleep for adults is seven to nine hours daily. However, studies have shown that being under immense stress can affect your quality of sleep. On the other hand, not getting enough sleep can also cause even more stress because you won’t be able to think clearly.

This is why restlessness and insomnia are two very common sleep-related issues that are linked to burnout. So, if you always lie awake at night having trouble falling asleep, you might need to review your level of stress at work.

What to do about it?

  • Stop scrolling on your phone 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Drink chamomile tea to help your body relax.
  • Put on some essential oils (particularly lavender, ylang ylang or chamomile scent) to help with the ambience.


2. Feeling under the weather more often

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If you often find yourself catching a cold without knowing the cause, it might be due to the immense stress you’re facing at work. Studies have found that while stress might not be able to directly cause you to catch colds, it can affect your immune system. Thus, this is why people who are headed towards burnout tend to fall sick easily as compared to people dealing with less stress. Apart from catching colds, you may also face other issues like headaches, nausea or digestive issues.

What to do about it?

  • Make sure to consume vitamin C and zinc supplements regularly.
  • Take a warm shower at night before going to bed.
  • Try to get enough hours of sleep.


3. Sudden weight gain

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Burnout has also been commonly associated with weight gain. People who are facing burnout would usually face chronic levels of stress which can cause your body to release a hormone called ‘cortisol‘. Cortisol affects your body’s ability to process blood sugar and also causes it to store fat, particularly in the abdominal area. So, if you work in a high-stress environment and you notice that your weight is fluctuating but you haven’t changed anything about your diet, this might be your answer!

What to do about it?

  • If you feel like you’re stress-eating, try snacking on nuts instead of junk food.
  • Drink water regularly (water acts as a natural appetite suppressor and helps boost metabolism).
  • Walk around for at least 30 minutes to an hour daily.


4. Getting muscle pains often

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Another physical trait of burnout can be feeling pain in the muscles and joints. When you’re dealing with stress, your muscles and joints tend to be tense. This is further intensified if you deal with chronic stress and burnout because the tension in your muscle would not go away.  This can eventually cause muscle tension in parts of your body, typically the shoulders, head, neck and back.

What to do about it?

  • Set a timer to get up and stretch regularly, especially at work.
  • Take a warm shower to loosen the tension in your muscle.


5. Constantly feeling pessimistic

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As we know, people with burnout would lose their enthusiasm and motivation for work. They tend to adopt a very pessimistic attitude not just towards work but also other aspects of life. If you’re currently dealing with this, it might also be common for you to be more irritable and apathetic. Studies have found this is because when you’re dealing with burnout, you tend to feel like you don’t have a purpose or meaning in what you do, which results in a negative mindset.

What to do about it?

  • Try to not voice out your negative thoughts out loud. Instead, seek professional help and speak to a therapist/counsellor.
  • Pick up a self-care habit that can distract you from the bad thoughts.


So, did you notice if you have any of these symptoms? If you do, please take this as a sign to start taking care of your stress levels! We get that getting your job done is important but there is nothing more crucial than your mental health and well-being. To avoid getting burnt out, here are a few other things you can do to live a more balanced lifestyle:

  • Avoid checking work-related emails or texts after working hours (no matter how tempted you might be!).
  • Make full use of your annual leaves so that your body can have some breaks.
  • Confide in a trusty colleague so you can feel supported when dealing with challenges.
  • Pick up a breathing exercise that you can do daily to help calm your mind and unwind.
  • Do not forget to exercise regularly so your brain can produce more ‘feel-good’ hormones.

Do you have any other tips to prevent burnout? Share them with us below! 


Also read: KL Ranked 3rd Most Overworked City in The World, Singapore Ranked Best City To WFH

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