Work Stress

Work stress appears when the worker feels that his resources are not enough to cope with an excessive demand for his work environment. If the demanding situation is maintained, symptoms such as anxiety, frustration, physical and mental exhaustion, and finally depression are likely to appear. This in turn can cause sleep problems, alteration in feeding and irritability.

In turn, work stress has as a consequence a decrease in productivity and, in the long term, it can be a reason for sick leave due to the discomfort that the worker has to cope with.

What are the causes of work stress?

  • Work stress is caused by an excessive workload (Burnout) in terms of number of functions, excessive responsibility or lack of time and resources. This makes the worker feel too demanding, having to make a very high effort, sometimes achieving lower than expected results. This can generate a great frustration, as well as feelings of insecurity and depression.

  • Relationships at work are also a source of stress. A situation of isolation where the worker is alone, or a situation of rejection by the bosses and colleagues has dire consequences for the welfare of employees. In addition, sometimes there is work mobbing

Burn out

   Burnout Syndrome (burned, melted) is a type of work stress, a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion that has consequences on self-esteem, and is characterized by a gradual process, by which people lose interest in their tasks, the sense of responsibility and may even reach deep depressions.

Stages of the Burnout:

  • Stage of Idealism or Enthusiasm. The worker has a high level of energy for the job, unrealistic expectations about it and still does not know what he can achieve. At the beginning of the work activity the person gets too involved and professional capacity that leads him not to recognize the internal and external limits, something that can affect their professional tasks. The breach of expectations causes, at this stage, a feeling of disappointment that makes the worker move to the next stage.

  • Stage of stagnation: It supposes a diminution of the activities developed when the individual verifies the unreality of his expectations, producing a loss of idealism and enthusiasm. The worker begins to recognize that his life needs some changes, which necessarily include the professional field.alvaro-reyes-507651-unsplash

  • Stage of apathy. It is the central phase of the Burnout syndrome. The frustration of expectations causes a paralysis in their activities, developing apathy and lack of interest. Emotional, behavioral and physical problems arise.A common response in this phase is the attempt to remove the frustrating situation. Contact with colleagues is avoided and in many cases the abandonment of work occurs and in the most extreme cases the profession is left. These behaviors begin to become constant opening the way to the last stage of burnout, distancing.Stage of distancing. The worker is frustrated in his work, causing a feeling of total emptiness that can manifest in the form of emotional distancing and professional devaluation. There is an investment of time dedicated to work in relation to the first stage. The enthusiasm and professional idealism is replaced by trying to avoid challenges and customers frequently trying not to risk the security of the job, because it believes that despite being inadequate, it has compensations (salary, for example) that justify the loss of satisfaction. his life needs some changes, which necessarily include in the worker a paralysis of his activities, developing apathy and lack of interest. Emotional, behavioral and physical problems arise.

Types of Burnout:

  • Active Burnout: Characterized by the maintenance of assertive behavior. It is related to the factors organizations or elements external to the profession.

  • Passive Burnout: The feelings of withdrawal and apathy predominate. It has to do with internal psychosocial factors.rawpixel-com-395556-unsplash

Symptoms of burnout:

Emotional exhaustion: a professional burnout that leads the person to a psychic and physiological exhaustion. There is a loss of energy, physical and mental fatigue. The emotional exhaustion is produced by having to perform some work functions daily and permanently with people who have to be served as work objects.

Depersonalization: negative attitudes in relation to users / customers, there is an increase in irritability, and loss of motivation. Due to the hardening of relationships, it can lead to dehumanization in the treatment.

Lack of personal fulfillment: reduction of personal self-esteem, frustration of expectations and manifestations of stress at a physiological, cognitive and behavioral level.

   It is important to differentiate between stress,  and burnout. Burnout is one of the possible responses to the cumulative impact of chronic work stress. The fundamental differences between stress and burnout are:


  1. Over implication in problems

  2. Emotional overactivity

  3. Lack of physical energy

  4. Depression can be understood as a reaction to preserving physical energies


  1. Lack of involvement

  2. Dullness

  3. Exhaustion that affects motivation and psychic energy

  4. Depression in burnout is like a loss of reference ideals – sadness

   Burnout has psychological, physical and emotional consequences for the worker. At first it may manifest as difficulty getting up in the morning, migraines, back pain or fatigue, and later evolves into anxiety and apathy. Therefore it is important to carry out an early psychological intervention before the first symptoms to avoid the harmful consequences of burnout both for the health of the worker and the company.

Psychotherapy can help you with these symptoms. Do not hesitate to contact


Diana Faon Psychotherapy  – Psychologist in Madrid-