If you are feeling burned out to the degree that it is affecting your physical or emotional well-being and harming your relationships, that’s also a red flag. Take stock of how you feel when you are at work. Are you frequently angry, disconnected, numb or depressed? Is it like the Sunday scaries, but on steroids? If you are having a hard time sleeping or are sleeping too much, if you anger easily or if you feel sad or excessively guilty, seek help.
“There is an overlapping Venn diagram between burnout and depression,” said Dr. Lotte Dyrbye, the chief well-being officer at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “If you have even an inkling of a suspicion that you’re not well, that’s what your primary care doctor is for, to help you figure that out.”
You’re experiencing an identity shift
Work is often intertwined with people’s identities. Our job titles, the organization we work for and even the amount of time that we spend working each day can become a big part of who we are. But what happens when your priorities change and you no longer feel the same level of attachment to your job?
“When people have a shift in an aspect of their identity, that can absolutely lead to depression and anxiety,” said Stewart Shankman, a professor of psychology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
If work used to be a core aspect of your identity and now it isn’t, then that may be a reason to consider stepping away. Even if you cannot stop working at the moment, try to take time to explore the things that do feel meaningful to you right now. There may be some other part of your life that is filling the role that work used to play, Dr. Shankman said.
“Your job doesn’t necessarily have to be the thing that defines you,” he added.
You don’t feel valued or supported
Studies have found that a little appreciation goes a long way for employees. Not only do employees tend to be more productive when their manager expresses gratitude, they also perform better when their teammates express appreciation, affirmation and respect.
A Pew survey found that low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement and feeling disrespected at work were the top reasons Americans had quit their jobs in 2021.