Quiet Quitting Is a Sign of Burnout. Try These Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

The TikTok trend of "quiet quitting" can actually be a sign that you need a break from your job. Here's how to avoid burnout.

Caroline Roberts Digital Editorial Intern
Caroline Roberts writes articles and notifications for CNET. She studies English at Cal Poly, and loves philosophy, Karl the Fog and a strong cup of black coffee.
Caroline Roberts
4 min read
Please, not today

Work responsibilities are a heavy weight on your shoulders.

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Although exhaustion and stress have become common symptoms in corporate America, they are also signs of work burnout. This is especially true for those who work in jobs that require sleepless nights and continuous intensive labor. We all know that a job can be tiring, but burnout is different; it usually leads to a total loss of interest. Some have even hopped on the TikTok trend of "quiet quitting" -- only doing what you're asked to at work and not going above and beyond.

Read more: Quiet Quitting: The Work-Life Debate Is Having Another Viral Moment

Screenshot of the hashtag quiet quitting on TikTok
Screenshot by Nasha Addarich Martínez/CNET

According to a Deloitte survey, 77% of respondents said they experience burnout in their current job. Furthermore, your stress can actually warrant a diagnosis: the World Health Organization deemed burnout a classifiable "workplace phenomenon." It is a state of chronic stress that can lead to fatigue, inability to be successful at work and even anxiety and depression. 

If you think you might be experiencing work burnout, here are the signs to look out for and how to avoid it. 

1. You dread going to work and can't wait to leave

Your job used to bring you joy, but now the minutes tick by like molasses. Everyone has a few boring items on their task list, but this goes deeper. Even the fun and exciting parts of your day are unappealing and frustrating to complete. 

2. You find yourself unproductive and have difficulty concentrating

Not only does your job feel unmanageable, but simple tasks take much longer to do and distracted breaks grow more common. You might simply not have the energy to be productive, the work may not seem interesting anymore, or you can't concentrate no matter how hard you try. 

3. You lack patience with co-workers and clients

Irritability is at an all time high and even your friends in the office are getting on your nerves. Impatience is a symptom of the underlying stress and anxiety associated with burnout.

4. You suffer from unexplained headaches, stomach aches or nausea

Chronic stress causes physical symptoms that make you feel unwell. These could also be signs of another mental health issue or another underlying medical condition, so get them checked out by a doctor if they interfere with your daily life.


You can't shake your sicknesses as quickly as you used to.

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5. You can't seem to get over that one cold

Burnout compromises your immune system. Your sniffles and sore throat won't go away no matter how many home treatments you try.

6. You're exhausted all day, but can't sleep at night

Not only is fatigue a symptom of burnout, but insomnia also ranks high on the list. Your workload feels so overwhelming that you can't fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. 

Read more: Is Anxiety Ruining Your Sleep? 5 Tips to Relieve Anxiety Before Bed

7. You stop enjoying activities outside of work

Even when you clock out, spending time with family and friends isn't nearly as enjoyable as it once was. As burnout progresses, disinterest in work spreads to the rest of your life.

How to avoid burnout at work

If any of the above ring true for you, burnout may be sabotaging your life. The good news is that there are concrete steps you can take to alleviate the condition. Now that you know what you're suffering from, here are eight ways to reverse your burnout.

Eat your vegetables and drink more water

You've heard it a thousand times, but focusing on a balanced diet and staying hydrated really does help. If you're having trouble staying motivated to up your water intake, these water bottles will help. 


Moving your body has been shown to be a natural remedy for stress, anxiety and depression. Don't fret if the gym isn't your thing. Building your own home workout area or streaming fitness videos to your living room are easier than ever. Or, use Alexa to remind you to get your exercise in.

Read more: 8 Science-Backed Exercises to Reduce Stress

Get more sleep

Try to log the recommended seven to eight hours. If insomnia is interfering with your nighttime rest, improve basic sleep hygiene like leaving screens out of the bedroomWeighted blankets have also been shown to help end sleepless nights.

Read more: These Tricks Will Help You Fall Asleep in 10 Minutes or Less

Say no to extra work responsibilities

Don't shirk your basic job description, but if side projects come up consider declining. Wait until you have renewed passion for your work until saying yes to taking on extra tasks.

Take a break, then take another

No, one vacation won't solve your burnout issue. But regularly incorporating weekend trips or staycations can help cut down on burnout. Oh, and leave the laptop at home so you won't be tempted to work.

Spend time with positive people and limit contact with those who bring you down

Make an effort to connect with people that uplift and support you. Cut down on time spent with negative people that lower your self-esteem or sap your creative energy.


I know, it looks boring, but yoga is a very effective stress reliever.

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Practice yoga or try mediation

If stress is making you feel antsy, meditation and yoga may be the last things you want to do. But, forcing yourself to slow down and take a few deep breaths can help you calm down. You can also try breathing exercises to help relieve anxiety and stress.

Read more: 5 Life Hacks for Relieving Anxiety

Schedule time to play

Reconnecting with the playful side of your personality may also be the key to relaxation. Everyone has different passions, so find whatever activities you deem "fun" and make time to do them. If going off-road ATVing is your idea of a good time, find a way to hit the trails after a stressful day of work.

Burnout isn't an issue that will resolve itself in a matter of days. It takes time, but if you make an effort to incorporate a few of these steps in your daily life, you will be far better equipped to handle workplace stress and exhaustion.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.