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How Burnout Can Impact Your Budget

Symptoms of burnout may not only impact your day-to-day experience at work, but also your spending habits and budget if you’re not careful. 

November 18, 2021

Burnout may be the latest workplace buzzword, but it’s also an authentic experience impacting many. According to a 2020 Gallup poll, 76% of employees reported feeling burnout at least some of the time. 

Symptoms of exhaustion can not only impact your day-to-day experience at work but can also impact your spending habits and wreak havoc on your budget if you’re not careful. 

Let’s explore the signs of burnout, the impact of stress on your budget and how to combat money management and stress.  

What is burnout? 

Burnout manifests in symptoms of exhaustion, often stemming from extended periods of stress or overworking. The term “burnout” was used as early as the 1970s by psychologists but has been adopted by the mainstream in the past few years to help characterize the workplace epidemic felt most acutely by Millennials. 

Burnout is commonly used to describe the exhaustion people feel with too much work. Still, you can experience burnout in any part of your life, whether it’s caretaking or money management. Oftentimes, people associate burnout with working too much, but that isn’t always the case. Someone may experience burnout when they feel constantly overwhelmed or feel a lack of direction in their work or personal life. It isn’t just about the hours logged, but how the work is managed and your feelings towards it at the end of the day. 

Signs of burnout

Burnout isn’t just about feeling tired after a long day at the office. It can encompass prolonged feelings of depression, exhaustion, and even cynicism around the work you do. You may be experiencing burnout if you feel: 

  • Drained. One of the primary signs of burnout, feeling exhausted, could mean physical or mental exhaustion. You might feel run down and without enough energy to carry out simple tasks. This drained feeling can even apply to bodily sensations – you may experience pain or gastrointestinal distress. 

  • Emotionally distant. The impact of stress in your daily life could lead you to sever relationships in the workplace or your personal life. You may feel numb towards colleagues, friends, or even family members. 

  • Inability to concentrate. When you experience burnout, it may feel impossible to complete even the most minor task at home or work. You could feel a lack of creativity or be unable to get projects started. 

While many people report experiencing burnout, there’s no one-size-fits-all burnout diagnosis, and determining whether or not you are burned out often relies on self-assessment or through the treatment of a medical professional. 

Combating burnout

Burnout may look different for everyone, and recovering from it will look slightly different for each person. Your first instinct may be to take time off, and while a vacation is always welcome, this may not be a long-term solution. 

Instead, try combating burnout by:

  • Eliminating workplace distractions. This could be everything from using noise-canceling headphones to avoiding office drama to limiting the times you check your email each day. 

  • Asking for more autonomy or clarification in a role. One of the primary drivers of burnout seems to be feeling a lack of direction or clarity in a role. Solving this issue likely means working with your boss or manager so the two of you can have a better understanding of job expectations. 

  • Brightening up your workspace. Exposure to natural light, or a good sun lamp, can help reduce feelings of stress at your desk. Bring the calming elements of nature into your cubicle or home office. 

  • Finding ways to work collaboratively. When you feel isolated or on your own, you may be more likely to experience burnout. If you can find a way to collaborate and work with coworkers, you may feel burnout disappear.

How can burnout influence my budget? 

It’s easy to draw a direct line from workplace performance to burnout, but the connection between burnout and budgeting may be a little harder to connect. However, money and stress go hand in hand, and you may feel a profound impact of stress on your budget.   

Impact of stress and spending

There are many ways burnout can do a number on your budget. Here’s a few of the most common: 

  • Compounding stress. Being in debt can create an atmosphere of stress, so if you feel burnt out and you’re already in debt, your budget may compound feelings of stress, creating a cycle of anxiety.

  • Overspending. When you feel a sense of lethargy and exhaustion, you may be tempted to make impulse purchases. Whether that's more frequent takeout or a pricey new outfit to try to cheer you up, that exhaustion you feel with burnout may lead to additional debt.

  • Neglecting debt repayment or lack of motivation to stay on budget. When a person feels burnout, they’re less likely to keep up with even basic tasks. Replying to an email can feel like a chore. Similarly, keeping up with debt repayment or tracking your spending to stay on budget might slip when you’re experiencing burnout. Missing a credit card payment could lead to hefty fees and a drop in your credit score. 

Poor money management and stress will likely compound the burnout a person is feeling. Neglecting a basic budget and overspending can lead to more debt, which only accelerates the symptoms of burnout.


Combating money management and stress

Putting a stop to the cycle of money and stress could help relieve the symptoms associated with burnout. Creating more stress with spending can only accelerate the feelings of exhaustion that are associated with burnout. 

To help stem the stress that comes with spending, consider one or more of the following strategies: 

  • Setting aside a “mad money” fund. If a job or workplace makes you feel hopeless, having mad money, savings that could help you take an extended leave from the workforce could help reduce some of the stress associated with it. 

  • Negotiating a raise. If you feel your job is asking more and more from you, it may be time to discuss a raise and title change. Burnout is often a symptom of how people are managed on the job, so opening the conversation around growth and compensation could help reduce burnout and alleviate some of the stress you may associate with money.

  • Working with a professional. Financial anxiety is a genuine issue for many, and you may be experiencing it alongside burnout. Working with a professional, whether it's a therapist or a financial planner, might help clarify some of the stress you feel around money. 

  • Finding ways to reduce stress with automation. Burnout can lead to a lack of motivation, both on and off the job. If you’re finding it hard to remember to pay bills on time, or transfer funds, consider automating these transactions. Financial automation just takes one more task off your plate, leaving you space to cope with and work through burnout. Tally can help you pay off credit card debt faster, and the debt payoff tool will even make payments for you using a low-interest line of credit1, meaning you’ll also avoid late fees. 

There’s no doubt that burnout can impact our professional and personal lives. However, many of us might not even notice how stress can also affect our spending habits, debt management, and financial future. 

Tally† may be able to help take some of the financial stress off your plate. The credit card repayment tool can make automatic payments and use smart tools to pay off credit card debt faster. 

And please note, if you’re experiencing burnout or other related symptoms, consider contacting a medical or wellness professional for assistance.

​​†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.