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Burnout can happen if tremendous change occurs or if stressors aren’t appropriately handled. Now, with retail stores being bombarded with customers, employees are facing a side of burnout they may have never experienced before. Retail worker burnout is growing as physical stores reopen their doors, causing employees to find unique ways to overcome their struggles. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that just in the month of June 2021, approximately 632,000 retail workers left their jobs. A major reason behind this hefty statistic has to do with the psychological effects of working retail. When employees do not fully understand the emotions they’re feeling, overcoming those challenges can be even more difficult.

What is Retail Burnout?

When you work in a competitive environment where people with different personalities ask you questions all day long, you’re bound to become a little stressed—sometimes very stressed. When you begin losing that competitive edge, dreading the start of your work day, and arguing with fellow employees and customers, you may be experiencing retail worker burnout. Below are some symptoms you may feel if the psychological effects of working retail begin getting to you.

Retail Burnout Symptoms:

No Fun or Energy at Work

You want to enjoy going to work every day, even if that alarm in the morning is tough to turn off. Once you’re in the store, you want to feel a natural transition in your mindset and energy. When that transition and joy isn’t there, you may have the beginning of retail worker burnout.

Treating Customers Poorly

Whether you’re an energetic person or someone on the quieter side, being respectful to customers and coworkers is a given when working in retail. If your patience and respect turns into anger and frustration—especially when those customers and coworkers are doing nothing wrong—you may need to take a step back and find support. 

Cannot Separate Work and Personal Life

It’s normal to think about work once the workday is over. However, complaining and worrying constantly about work after you’ve clocked out could be a red flag. Retail worker burnout may be something you’re struggling with if this is the case for you or one of your employees.

Overcoming Burnout:

Face Your Feelings

Don’t ignore how your body and mind are feeling. If you feel any of the above symptoms or have appetite loss, insomnia and trouble focusing, it’s time to figure out the next best step to better yourself for both daily life and work. Once you’ve accepted how you’re feeling, you can move toward overcoming burnout at work.

Learn Your Limits

If you are beginning to feel overwhelmed at the retail store you work at and you know hectic holiday chaos is coming, think about how you’re going to mentally handle it. Discuss work hours and whether there is a schedule that could better suit your mental needs. Work on coping skills you could use during the work day or before you even get to the store that could provide you with a better state of mind. 


Talk to your supervisor about the psychological effects of working retail you are experiencing. Do not push the emotions down and force yourself through them. Communicate your feelings and work with your boss and coworkers to find a solution. If you do not speak up, you will never come to a solution.