About 75% of American workers said they experienced burnout in 2020, and 40% connected this state to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data from FlexJobs and Mental Health America. Given the circumstances the year brought on, the statistics aren’t surprising but worth addressing as many essential workers continue reporting to work during a health crisis and others continue to work from home.
A lack of emphasis on self-care can set workers up for burnout, according to Rachael Todd, a former Wall Street consultant who developed an autoimmune disorder from pushing herself too hard. Todd recently launched Return To Flow, a coaching service that offers overworked professionals a tailored path to discovering balance and reclaiming their lives .
“So many people, especially women, have a difficult time setting boundaries and saying no,” says Todd. “This is usually borne out of a fear of disappointing (or) upsetting people or the belief that saying yes will earn others’ acceptance of them.”
The problem with this approach, according to Todd, is that when you say yes to everything, it’s easy to lose sight of what you need and deserve. It also leaves you depleted, since no one can effectively do it all.
Todd says it’s important to set boundaries in the workplace and learn how to say no in order to “free up space to focus on the work tasks that are most important and most aligned to your skill set, make time for self-care and ultimately avoid exhaustion and burnout.”
If you’re among the many who are feeling burned out, a good place to start getting a handle on workplace stress is by recognizing whether or not you fall under one of the seven “burnout types” Todd has identified. Here are the signs you may be experiencing work burnout.
Burnout Type 1: Overachiever
Todd explains that the cause behind becoming an overachiever is “chasing the product — for example, getting a promotion — rather than enjoying the process.”
She says you might be an overachiever if you exhibit these symptoms:
— Craving praise for your achievements.
— Feeling guilty if you’re not working on something, or always chasing after something with no end in sight.
— Holding distorted and unrealistic expectations of yourself and others, such as judging a healthy, balanced schedule as unambitious or lazy.
Burnout Type 2: Taskmaster
Just as the name sounds, taskmasters are those who always drive themselves to keep working. The cause behind the taskmaster type, according to Todd, is “focusing too much on doing instead of being.” Be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms to determine whether you’re a taskmaster:
— Judging yourself for not working hard enough.
— Believing that the harder you push, the more likely you are to succeed.
— Insisting on an intense focus on discipline.
Burnout Type 3: Perfectionist
Perfectionists believe that anything less than perfect is a failure — a sure recipe for burnout. The symptoms that you might be a perfectionist include:
— Not allowing yourself to make any mistakes.
— Having trouble completing a project because you think there is always more room for improvement.
— Exhibiting an “all or nothing” mentality. As Todd explained, you’re “either successful or not, no gray area.”
— Honing in on imperfections.
[See: 15 Best Remote Working Jobs.]
Burnout Type 4: Controller/Micromanager
If you feel a lack of trust in anyone but yourself and have difficulty dealing with the unknown, then you may be a controller or micromanager. This means that you:
— Can’t trust others to do a good job, so you take it on yourself.
— Believe in the philosophy: “If you want it done right, do it yourself.”
— Have a difficult time coping with uncertainty, so you try to prepare for every worst-case scenario.
Burnout Type 5: Competitor
Do you do whatever it takes to win or succeed at all costs? If so, Todd believes you may be the competitor burnout type. Look for these red-flag symptoms:
— Constantly comparing yourself to others and idealizing people’s lives.
— Working yourself to exhaustion to stay ahead.
— Getting upset about others’ successes, or secretly wishing failure on others.
Burnout Type 6: People Pleaser
Todd points out that the root cause behind being a people pleaser is the belief that saying yes will avoid disappointing or hurting others. The problem with this is that you end up taking on more than you can effectively manage. People pleasers are characterized by:
— Difficulty setting boundaries and saying no.
— Discomfort if someone is upset with you — so you always comply even if it doesn’t suit your best interests.
— Difficulty asserting yourself.
Burnout Type 7: Ruminator
Ruminators mistakenly believe that “focusing intently on a problem will solve it or at least relieve the discomfort of not knowing the answer,” Todd says. She flagged the following symptoms to watch for with ruminators:
— Spending more time thinking instead of doing and getting stuck in minutiae.
— Having trouble sleeping because your brain won’t shut off.
— Asking lots of “what if” questions.
— Spending a lot of time worrying about things you have no control over.
If any of these seven burnout types feel too close for comfort, Todd stresses that it’s important to understand and reexamine your definition of success. “Set boundaries and prioritize self-care,” Todd says. ” Prioritize work tasks that are meaningful to you and give you a sense of purpose. Delegate activities that drain your energy or are not aligned with your strengths and skills.”
Todd also suggests that it’s critical to practice mindfulness and spend time on the hobbies, activities and people that are important to you and help you recharge. “Be aware of the habits, patterns, activities, etc. that cause you stress,” Todd concludes.
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