As we get to the end of the year mental health is top of mind for many of us, workplace burnout might be taking on forms that are harder to identify than usual. According to MetLife’s recent Employee Benefits Trends Study (EBTS) 2022 40% of employees feel burnt out more than half the time they are working.

What is burnout? The World Health Organisation define it as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

How can you recognise when burnout is happening? Here are some of the symptoms of burnout that could be easy to miss:

  1. You're not sleeping well
    Getting restful sleep regularly may already feel like a struggle, which is one reason why you may end up ignoring this symptom. Here are some tips from the 360Health team to help you Improve Your Sleep.
  2. Your personality has changed
    Maybe you used to be highly motivated but now struggle to get yourself motivated in many aspects of your life. Or you used to be the most relaxed person in the room but now you’re irritated by the smallest things or problems and find yourself experiencing conflict with colleagues, family and friends.
  3. You’re more forgetful and can’t focus
    Can’t remember where you put your keys last night? Or your sunglasses? Or what meetings you have on your calendar for the day? It’s normal to forget or misplace things from time to time, but if you’ve noticed that you’re constantly forgetful or feel disoriented, that could be a sign of burnout.
  4. You're craving unhealthy foods
    If the stash of chocolate in your desk drawer is calling your name louder and more frequently than usual, or you're craving snacks throughout the day, it could be a sign of burnout. In fact, one study reported that individuals suffering from burnout may be prone to emotional eating and burnout may be associated with frequent consumption of unhealthy foods.

Suffering from burnout

Think you might be suffering from burnout? Try taking these steps:

  1. Identify the cause of your burnout
    Ask yourself about the cause of your stress: Is your workload too much to manage or outside of your control? Are you stressed about more than just work, like juggling family commitments? Do you feel frustrated or unchallenged by your day-to-day work? Knowing the answers can help you take the appropriate actions to find help.
  2. Reset expectations
    Assess your workload and expectations , if you’re dealing with an unrealistic level of responsibility, speak up and discuss potential solutions. Once you've set expectations, chat to your colleagues so you're all on the same page.
  3. Lean on others
    Talking to someone can help you feel better, reach out to a friend, family, colleague, or chat to a health professional.  Also, check with your human resources department to find out what options are available to you – there are employee assistance programs (EAPs) sponsored by your employer that can connect you to resources to help you manage stress.

Physical health

Sometimes you can feel less stressed if you take one—or more!—mental health days to reset, speak to your manager or HR team. Being physically healthy can help you think more clearly and can help with stress. These tips from ReachOut show how you can prioritise your physical health:

  • Get the recommended six to eight hours of sleep a night
  • Eat healthy meals, with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and protein
  • Make time to exercise

Although burnout traditionally focuses on problems related to work, it's also like—and sometimes indicative of—other mental health issues, like depression. If you’ve experienced any of the above symptoms and your attempts to fix the issue don't seem to be working, reach out to a therapist or medical professional to find out what additional help is available.

Where to get help if you think you or someone else needs it?

If you, or someone you know needs help and are not coping, here are some links and numbers to contact. Reaching out is winning, it should not be considered defeat:

REMEMBER: Listen, Look and Ask.


Finally, we’re partnering with Teladoc Health to deliver an extensive program called 360Health Virtual Care. This includes a service called Mental Health Assist, which provides access to mental health specialists who provide an in-depth review of your mental health  and make recommendations for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

MetLife offers 360Health Virtual Care at no additional cost to eligible MetLife customers* via Teladoc Health and to get started, it is as easy as...

  1. Visit MetLife 360Health
  2. Input your details and request a call back