How To Recover From Job Burnout (Research-backed)

How To Recover From Job Burnout (Research-backed)

Are you feeling exhausted from work? Nearing burnout? Or already there?

Let’s get real.

In today’s video I’m going to talk about how to recover from burnout. Specifically job burnout. I’ll share with you how to identify the source of your burnout, some solutions, and how to prevent it in the future.

Job burnout is a real thing! In fact, the World Health Organization officially classified workplace burnout as an occupational phenomenon.

It’s usually a result of chronic stressors on the job classified by three factors:

  1. Exhaustion, the stress component of burnout is usually brought about through extreme workloads without time to renew.
  2. Cynicism, the interpersonal component of burnout, results in increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.
  3. Inefficacy, the self-perception component of burnout can bring about feelings of incompetence or lack of professional achievement. It may occur because of inadequate job resources, social support, or opportunities to succeed, and lead you to doubt or criticize your own choices.


Let’s identify the causes of burnout so we can get specific. 


Christina Maslach, the leading pioneer in research on burnout, is the author of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the most widely used research measure in the burnout field. She is also president of the Western Psychological Association, and a researcher at UC Berkeley’s Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces.

Through various research studies, organizational risk factors in 7 key domains in the workplace environment have been identified across many occupations.

  1. Workload: If the job demands exceed your human limits and there is inadequate time for recovery (at work or home), you may be susceptible to burnout.
  2. Control: If you have active participation in organizational decision-making.
  3. Reward: Having insufficient rewards (financial, social, institutional) increases vulnerability to burnout. Lack of recognition from service recipients, colleagues, managers, and external stakeholders devalues both the work and the workers and is closely associated with feelings of inefficacy.
  4. Community: What is the overall quality of social interaction at work, including issues of conflict, mutual support, closeness, and the capacity to work as a team? Burnout is less likely to occur within a positive and supportive workplace environment.
  5. Fairness: Fairness refers to the extent to which decisions at work are perceived as being fair and equitable. Employees who perceive their supervisors as being both fair and supportive are less susceptible to burnout and are more accepting of major organizational change.
  6. Values in terms of job goals and expectations: Consistent organizational and personal values on knowledge sharing are associated with greater professional efficacy.
  7. Job-person incongruity: The model proposes that the greater the perceived incongruity, or mismatch, between the person and the job, the greater the likelihood of burnout; conversely, the greater the perceived congruity, the greater the likelihood of engagement with work.

YOUR TURN: 💡What domains do you find are contributing to your burnout? What specific causes can you identify?

It isn’t enough to just change the setting (i.e. the job, team), and it isn’t enough to just change yourself (i.e. self-care, mindset). Effective change comes from optimizing both. 


Here’s what you can do to repair and prevent future burnout: 


  1. Plan total rest days, which are days without any distractions where you can do anything you want. Research shows that the quality of rest determines how recharged you are after, not the length of time. And in particular, doing active rest, where you’re doing something physically or mentally engaging is more restorative and can increase creativity.
  2. Work on your own coping strategies by arranging mental health days, self-care habits, “deep play” activities (mentally or physically absorbing activities, that give you quick, clear rewards that you don’t get in your job), and ways to take care of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
  3. Brainstorm 2-3 ideas from the 6 areas above and set up a time to speak with your manager or someone who is an advocate of you in your company. For example:
    • Initiate coffee chats with people to increase social connectedness (community)
    • Cut down your commitments or prioritize your tasks with your manager (workload)
    • Negotiate your job description to maximize the areas you’re best at and the team needs, and redistributing others parts to other who want to learn it (job-person congruity)
    • Offer decision-making support or initiative having more control and responsibility over a project (control)

Continue to negotiate for yourself, and set yourself up for a sustainable pace. You’re not alone, and this is something you can heal from and prevent in the future. 

See you in the next video!


Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (2008). Early predictors of job burnout and engagement. The Journal of applied psychology, 93(3), 498–512.

Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual review of psychology, 52, 397–422.

Pang, A.S. (2016). Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, New York, NY, Basic Books, an imprint of Perseus


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