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Side Effects of Burnout


It's real, and we need to be talking about it. In case you need some reasons WHY, let's dive into some of the many side effects of burnout.

If anything, my hope is that by talking about the side effects of burnout, you will gain a greater understanding of the significant impact burnout can have on our lives and workplaces and be motivated to create change!

Side Effects of Burnout

The World Health Organization now recognizes burnout as an "occupation-related syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed".

Research now shows us that burnout has MANY side effects for both individuals and workplaces

Side Effects of Burnout: Physical Health

Burnout can have a significant impact on your physical health, which in turn impacts workplaces through sick leave and time off.

Physical burnout can include sleep disturbances (insomnia), muscle pain, headaches, and lowered immune function.

Studies have also shown increased risk of specific health challenges, including:

  • 84% increased risk of Type 2 diabetes (Melamed et al., 2006)

  • 40% increased risk of hypertension (von Känel et al., 2020)

Are you paying attention yet?

Side Effects of Burnout: Mental/Psychological Health

Workplace burnout may impair short-term memory, attention, and other cognitive processes essential for daily work activities (Gavelin et al., 2022).

Also, those experiencing untreated burnout are at 180% increased risk of developing depressive disorders (Ahola et al., 2005)

(been there, got the t-shirt!)

Experiencing my own burnout and depression diagnosis journey is why I spend so much time talking about burnout, in the hopes that I can help others on a road to prevention.

Side Effects of Burnout: Organizations/Workplaces

It's probably no secret that with such significant individual impacts, burnout is also going to have significant impact on workplaces.

This includes:

  • Increased absenteeism (sick leave/stress leave)

  • Lower productivity

  • Lower job satisfaction

  • Higher rates of turnover

  • Presenteeism (physically there, but not mentally performing)

  • Increased errors/mistakes (increased risk of safety incidents/accidents)

Ready For More?

Like this content and want more burnout prevention tools for yourself 

Join the RESILIENT email list for a free weekly Sunday email with tools to prevent stress, overwhelm and build resilience in your personal and work life.


Check out the Burnout To Boundaries™ virtual course!

Are you a manager or leader looking for tools to support your team with burnout prevention

The burnout prevention leadership program is designed specifically for managers and team leaders to build burnout prevention and psychological safety with their team. Learn more here.


Hi, I'm Alison and welcome to the blog.

I have been a speaker and trainer for 20 years. I offer Mental Health First Aid in Canada and work with workplaces to improve mental wellbeing and psychological safety and reduce stress and burnout.

Join my free weekly email list Resilient for tools & resources to reduce stress, overwhelm & burnout , delivered to your inbox.

Be sure to connect with me on IG @alisonbutlernl or on LinkedIn.

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