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Talk to your boss about burnout
Naluri5 min read

How to Talk to Your Boss about Burnout

Have you ever felt work piling up faster than you can keep up with? That even the simplest tasks feel like climbing mountains?

It happens to the best of us. From the stress of the pandemic to economic uncertainty and other workplace pressures, it’s no wonder so many of us are feeling the weight of the effects of burnout in the workplace on our shoulders. And here’s where it gets really important: if you don't address it, it can start to take a toll, not just on your own wellbeing, but on the entire workplace too.

That’s where talking to your boss about workplace burnout comes in.

Your boss isn’t just there to assign tasks and evaluate your performance. In fact, managers have a more significant influence over a person’s mental health than their spouse, family or therapist. Therefore, it is important to share with them how you are feeling so that they can be there to support you and help you thrive in your role.

By opening up about what you’re going through, you not only gain their support and understanding but also open the door to potential solutions. They might also make accommodations that can make a real difference in your wellbeing by helping you manage your workload more effectively, or they might be able to point you towards resources that can support you in taking care of yourself. 

So, take a deep breath and build confidence in initiating a conversation with your boss. Talking to your boss is a brave and essential step towards positively addressing workplace burnout. 

However, it's understandable that you might feel overwhelmed and exhausted, and discussing such a sensitive topic with your boss can be challenging and intimidating. Therefore, in this article, we dive into a step-by-step guide on how to talk to your boss about burnout.


How to talk to your boss about burnout


Preparing yourself

  1. Understand your current state of burnout

    Before talking to your boss about burnout, it's essential to recognise and acknowledge how you're feeling.

    Burnout can be more than just feeling stressed and overwhelmed; it can drain your energy, enthusiasm, and joy. It can make everything feel much heavier, like a dark cloud hanging over your head. 

    Do you find yourself feeling unusually tired, no matter how much rest you get? Is it becoming increasingly difficult to muster enthusiasm for your job?

    These are signs of burnout you shouldn't ignore. Burnout can manifest itself through a variety of symptoms, including:

    • Feeling exhausted and drained

    • Lack of motivation and interest in work

    • Increased frustration and irritability

    • Decreased performance and productivity

    • Feeling overwhelmed and helpless

  2. Identify the root causes of your burnout

    Now, let’s dig a little deeper. What could be behind these feelings of overwhelm? Is it the workload? Maybe some dynamics at work are stressing you out? 

    Understanding the root causes of your workplace burnout can help you explain it to your boss and come up with potential solutions. Take some time to reflect on what’s been causing you stress lately and jot down some notes.

  3. Think about potential solutions

    Once you have identified the root causes of your burnout, it’s time to think of ways to make things better. 

    • Would taking a day off or having more flexibility in your work schedule help? 

    • Is there something you enjoy doing outside of work that you could reconnect with to bring back some spark?

It can be challenging to come up with solutions when you're feeling burnt out, but it's crucial to think about potential solutions for dealing with burnout that could help create a more productive conversation when raising this issue with your boss.


Talking to your boss

  1. Get the conversation started

    Now, it’s time to start the conversation. Approaching your boss about workplace burnout requires courage and vulnerability. Remember, your boss might not realise how you're feeling, so it's okay to share. 

    Here are some gentle ways to start the conversation:

    • “Hi there, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. Can we chat about how to make things a bit lighter?"

    • “I really want to do my best at work, but I’m feeling a bit stretched thin. Can we brainstorm some ways to make things more manageable?"

    • “I’ve been struggling a bit lately and could use some support. Can we talk about ways to make things a bit easier?”


  2. Be honest and direct

    When you have this conversation, be honest yet compassionate, focusing on how you're feeling rather than assigning blame.

    Using "I" statements can help convey your emotions and thoughts clearly. This approach fosters open communication and allows your boss to understand your perspective. 

  3. Explain the impact

    Next, it's also essential to describe how workplace burnout is affecting your performance, productivity, and motivation. 

    Provide concrete examples to illustrate the severity of the situation and help your boss understand why it's important to address it. 

    Explain how this is affecting your mental health and your ability to do your work well. Be specific about how it’s impacting your work and your life outside of work.

  4. Set boundaries

    Finally, clearly communicate your boundaries and limitations to your boss. Let them know what you can realistically handle and what support you need to prevent burnout in the future. 

    Establishing clear boundaries and learning how to say ‘No’ helps ensure that your workload is manageable and sustainable.


Follow Up

Remember, talking to your boss about workplace burnout is just the first step. After the initial discussion, ensure that you follow through on the agreed-upon actions and practice self-care at work.

Schedule regular check-ins with your boss to evaluate progress and adjust strategies as needed. Consistent communication fosters accountability and reinforces your commitment to prioritising wellbeing and dealing with burnout.


Talking to your boss about workplace burnout can be a challenging but necessary step towards improving your wellbeing and work performance. Approach the conversation with professionalism, honesty, and a constructive mindset, and you may find that your boss is willing to support you in dealing with burnout and thriving in your role.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. For more guidance and support, book a 1-on-1 consultation with a Naluri Mental Health Coach. If you're in need of more immediate assistance, Naluri Careline & Textlines are available 24/7. Let’s take the first step toward addressing workplace burnout and fostering a culture of holistic wellbeing.

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