Burnout–just the sound of that word can cause a case of cringes. Then there’s the heat as in hot-under-the-collar. Getting to this burnout point is preceded by an entangled route. Not everyone knows what a person with burnout is experiencing.

Burnout's a route that no one, except for those recently singed, can even comprehend. After all, the lucky ones weren't fried like overdone bacon. How in the world could they relate?

Yet, here you are, feeling alone and wondering where your vitality's gone. Never mind your verve and zest for life. You’re even worried about your health–yup, burnout can affect that too. And–sad to say, none of that even begins to cover burnout’s effects on your relationships. In fact, that might be the worst of it.

Guess what? Job stress, gargantuan workloads, and long hours shouldn’t be allowed to bring anyone to this point. That’s right! With care and attention, it’s possible to pull yourself out of a burnout spiral. That supports your relationships, along with rekindling work satisfaction. Here’s how…

First Things First: 5 Burnout Facts

Burnout is quite a sneaky stealth beast. It quietly creeps up on people, making them virtually unaware of its presence until it pounces. How can that be? Read these facts, then apply the info to someone you know–including the one in the mirror. Burnout is:

  1. A state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
  2. It’s a workplace phenomenon caused by prolonged or repeated stress.
  3. Feeling increased distance and disinterest in your work.
  4. A diminished sense of work proficiency and accomplishment.
  5. A bunch of factors directly related to your job–a mismatch between your position’s description and the boss’s expectations–lack of workplace support–increased workload with more hours, leading to exhaustion.

6 Effects of Burnout on Relationships

We’re now at the crux of the matter and reason for this blog: Relationships are affected by burnout!

Here’s what it’s like when burnout is showing up in every corner of life–including relationships:

  1. There’s little to no energy left for obligations and commitments.
  2. Your enthusiasm has fizzled. Your once-upon-a-time can-do, cheery self has gone from overdrive determination to a mass of grumpiness shrouded in expressionless, listless motions.
  3. People steer clear–burnout’s nasty stress has made you irritable. You’ve got a short fuse that way too often blazes toward family and friends.
  4. Social situations become awkward because of porcupine-like bristles.
  5. Burnout’s strain on relationships spills over, making it tough for people to trust your communication. This can crumble one of the cornerstones of healthy relationships.

How A Workplace Phenomenon Can Mess With Relationships

The transition between work and home life can be a daily struggle. This is ultra-true when working remotely. Burnout turns that up a notch, or lots more, creating a bigger divide. This is where things can get ticklish, rather like a timer waiting to blow.

  • The person with burnout may start blaming their partner or family members for not getting it about their work situation.
  • Blame-shifting spawns resentment and communication shutdown or disruption.
  • A partner and close buddies can feel isolated, lonely, and unappreciated–this strain and drain can wreck relationships.
  • Burnout’s long-term effects can then upend once rich relationships–it’s simply too hard to overcome the damage done.

Be On The Lookout for Burnout

Hopefully you’re still with us after that bunch of gloom and doom! The rest of this piece alerts you to signs of burnout and ways to steer clear of the stealthy beast. It closes with ideas for protecting relationships from burnout–plus a healthy dose of self-care. After all, you’re a vital, luminous person–Wakeout wants you to stay that way!

You’ve already read the burnout facts–that’s what anyone feels when it’s already in place. Since it is a sneaky, somewhat elusive monster-in-waiting, there are tell-tale signs it’s creeping up. When you get right down to it, the list is a big bunch of no-brainers:

  • Sleep is disrupted, non-existent, or seems like a waste of time.
  • Cranky gut--food-on-the-fly isn't helping one iota.
  • Activity is drastically limited--Is putting out the trash or washing the floor considered exercise?
  • There's no raise and little praise as your boss's pile of “you can handle these extras” increases.  
  • No replacement in sight as another work peer just up and quit.
  • Your once-solid confidence is floundering–reminds you of something your work buddy said the other day about a fish flopping around.
  • Everyone's asking if you're okay–how come they’ve never done that before?
  • Iffy habits you used to avoid have become a way to deal with stress.
  • Eye twitches have become ultra annoying–hmm, long hours and eye strain go hand-in-hand.
  • Back aches and crunched-up feelings increase with each passing hour.
  • Forgetfulness is a front-and-center worry as you miss appointments and paying some bills.

14 Steps to Back-burner Burnout

That’s right! It’s time to push burnout into the background, turning the temp down on any signs of its intensity. This neither happens overnight, nor without some can-do on your part. Bottom line: Doing so is worth every bit of self-advocacy and well-informed justification you make. That means that at work, it’s time to:

  1. Identify what’s contributing to work stress and taking steps to address those factors.
  2. Review your job description–keep a list of what you’re being required to do that’s not noted there.
  3. Remember that working remotely from home can lead to burnout, especially if you're not staying active!
  4. Set clear boundaries with your colleagues, delegating tasks where possible.
  5. Communicate openly with your boss about what you can manage and what falls outside of your job description.
  6. Consider turning to your Employee Assistance Program or HR Department if your concerns aren’t being honored.
  7. Plan your workday to include physical activity breaks, like some stress-relieving desk exercises.

And, at home and with the people who are closest to you:

8. Be honest about the pressures you have–no sugar-coating allowed!

9. Ask them to give you a nudge when some downtime is needed…(yes, they can see the signs better than you want to know).

10. Inquire about their self-care strategies–go for it and join them for some smile-prompting sessions!

11. Push away from your desk and have some floor fun–maybe a kid or pet will join you.

12. Set a regular rise and turn-in schedule that includes a wind down routine to release mounting tension.

13. Adopt a whole food and hydration approach for healthy sustenance.

14. Kick up the laugh factor to nudge you into optimism and deep breathing!

Nurture Burnout-Proof Relationships

Have trust that in spite of all the stress and exhaustion associated with burnout, relationships are worth your attention. This is a good time to nurture those essential relationships. Besides, family and pals have likely already noticed something’s ‘off.’ You’ll know as they ask if you’re okay, or give you an extra ‘you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me!’ look.

  • Prioritize time for your partner or family members, even if it’s just a few precious moments at the end of each day.
  • Better yet, plan a get-away!
  • Healthy communication is key to meaningful relationships. Your best buds and loved ones want you to be open about what you’re feeling.
  • Check in and tune up on self-care practices–this is a good time to try something new.
  • Make it a habit to unplug part of every, single day to boost wellbeing at work.
  • Turn to health and wellness professionals for objective guidance and extra support.With the right approaches, you can keep relationships strong in spite of burnout–so don’t give up!

Taking care of yourself–and your relationships–is worth the effort!


Burnout affects others along with the person in its grip. Relationships can suffer. They can also save the day for you if you’re at risk for becoming consumed by this workplace phenomenon.

Wakeout is here to help with Healthy Workdays tips and topics that are sure to brighten your day–as well as your mood!

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