skip to Main Content
An illustration of a match after it's been lit and blown on, with smoke rising off of it.

Maybe your loved one seems more irritable than usual, flat or out of sorts, more negative about work, or projecting an unusually careless attitude in general. It can be difficult to know how to respond to someone’s burnout, but how you approach the situation can make a difference.

  • Start with listening. Your loved one may be feeling unseen or unappreciated at work. Some gentle questions (“How’s work going?” “How does that make you feel?”) will get the dialogue going.
  • Be constructive. Try to preface your response with something positive. Talk about how he or she excels at work when given the right support or recall a recent achievement before engaging with any negative feelings.
  • Frame positive requests. Because they’re feeling boxed in already, people experiencing burnout can shut down when given advice. Framing suggestions as questions (“Do you think you would be able to talk to your supervisor?” “Is there anything I or anyone else can do to support you?”) can help them feel some agency.
  • Maintain your boundaries. Many of us have the impulse to jump in and empathize by stoking negative feelings or grievances. Try to offer understanding for frustrations or trapped feelings while suggesting that there might be more options than are apparent at the moment.
  • Try not to call it burnout. While making resources on burnout (like this article!) available would be helpful, keeping the conversation from dwelling on the term will help your loved one focus on being a dynamic, evolving person rather than a condition.

This article originally appeared in Experience LifeLife Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.

Quinton
Quinton Skinner

Quinton Skinner is a writer and novelist in Minneapolis. He’s also the cofounder of Logosphere Storysmiths.

Thoughts to share?

More Like This

Woman lying face down on a couch.
By Courtney Helgoe
A therapist who specializes in burnout offers tips for self-care during a crisis.
An illustration of an eye.
By Erin Peterson
What you put your attention on grows. Here’s how to train your focus on what matters.
An illustration of a woman with flowing hair looking to the side.
By Karen Olson
Expert tips on how to let go of grudges.
Back To Top