Burnout is on the rise globally. WHO (World Health Organization) considers burnout to be an organizational phenomenon. The term burnout first came on the scene in the early 1970s by a psychoanalyst named Herbert Freudenberger.
But what is burnout, how can you identify it, why is it spreading like wildfire, and how do you deal with it effectively? This post addresses solutions to fix the burnout dilemma of our times.
What is burnout?
The dictionary describes burnout as the result of extensive chronic job stress which occurs over long periods. Burnout can make you feel empty and tired, experience feelings of regression in your professional abilities, and even cause feelings of being unable to cope with daily life in extreme cases.
Physical and mental symptoms of burnout
Physical and mental symptoms accompany burnout. Some most common physical symptoms are:
- headaches (including chronic)
- gastrointestinal problems
- high blood pressure
- weakened immune system (sicker more often)
- aches and pains (muscular/other)
- low energy levels
- problem sleeping
- possible changes in appetite
There are also mental and emotional signs to look out for when it comes to burnout. Some mental and emotional symptoms include:
- loss of concentration
- loss of interest/pleasure
- feelings of powerlessness
- feelings of significant distress
- feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness
- emotionally numb
- feel like one´s efforts/talents do not make a difference
- increase the risk of depression
- possible suicidal thoughts
- lack of creativity
- doom and gloom outlook
Interesting burnout facts
79% of employees report they experience some form of work stress.
1 in 3 doctors experiences burnout at a given time.
Teachers and health care workers have a high tendency to burn out.
2/3 of full-time employees say they experience burnout at some point in their careers.
Workplace burnout is on the rise.
Women are more likely to suffer from burnout than their male counterparts.
Employees with no support from their managers are 70% more likely to experience burnout.
63% of employees struggling with burnout are more likely to take a sick day, and unfortunately, some are very likely to visit the ER.
Job-related stress contributes to roughly 550 million lost work days and costs the US economy an estimated $550 billion annually in loss of productivity.
What are the most causes of burnout?
The perfect storm
We are living in uncertain times. The stock market, Bitcoin especially, took a slight hit. We survived a pandemic, holding on for dear life as inflation costs rise, and we´re in the middle of a war with no end in sight.
We have responsibilities. We have to pay bills and put food on our tables. So work is mandatory. Some people take any job to make ends meet for numerous reasons, perhaps because they no longer have their regular job, or to supplement their income.
Whatever the reasons, watch out for signs/causes of burnout from your end, which may include:
- you have strong negative feelings about your employment
- you hate your job
- you get no satisfaction from your work
- you dread going to work
Although some professions are at higher risk for burnout; (physicians, social workers, healthcare workers, and school teachers), it can occur in any career. If you handle stress effectively; a high-stress job is not necessarily a recipe for disaster.
However, some job features, personality characteristics (it is vital to know what you can and cannot tolerate), and lifestyle factors may play a role in burnout.
Unhealthy and unfavorable work conditions that can lead to burnout are:
- Unclear job description/requirements; frequent protocol changes, hard-to-understand protocol.
- Impossible requirements/expectations; responsibilities surpass completion times.
- Constant non-stop high stress with no recovery time; crunch time is in over-drive.
- Dire consequences for failure; from management.
- Non-existent recognition of one´s accomplishments; no incentives, awards, bonuses, or tokens of appreciation.
- Employees have no personal control; feelings of restriction and no means to add a personal touch to one´s environment.
- Poor communication; is the root of many problems.
- Insufficient Compensation
- Poor Company Leadership; may lead to uncertainty in job requirements and security, feelings of being treated unfairly, or under-valued/appreciated.
How do you deal with burnout?
Burnout is on the rise, and it can affect your mental, emotional, and physical health. It is wise to pay attention to the signs and feelings of burnout.
Also, it is good practice to deal with burnout promptly to prevent it from developing into worse conditions. You can protect yourself and take measures to prevent burnout in your life.
Here are a few solutions to help you overcome burnout.
1) Structure your day
2) Consider the transition from one task to the other
3) Make a habit of taking short breaks (this help keep you refreshed)
4) Keep boundaries in place to separate work life from personal life
5) Exercise (an exceptional tool to reduce cortisol levels in your body and strengthen your immune system)
6) Nutrition (healthy meals can have a tremendous impact on your health and mood)
7) Breathing techniques (can help you remain calm in stressful situations)
8) Healthy Living (gives you empowerment and control in your life)
9) Medical Assistance (if you think you are experiencing burnout or have severe burnout, please seek medical advice and ask about Wellness centers)
Some other quick tips for stressful moments
1) As soon as you feel stress coming on; take control of your breathing. Take deep, slow, meaningful breaths and count backward slowly.
2) Listen to uplifting soft, calming music. Music can have a significant impact on your mood.
3) Take a quick 5-minute break to gather yourself. Go to the restroom and splash water on your face if you have to.
4) Tackle tasks one after the other as much as you can, starting from easiest to most difficult.
5) If time permits, plan a quick schedule of tasks for the next day.
6) Transition yourself from work into home mode.
7) On your commute home, listen to your favorite podcast, upbeat music, sermon, or whatever uplifts you.
Many people are good at knowing what they want. They have aspirations, dreams, and hope. These are commendable. But sometimes, we neglect to even consider what we don´t want.
And those can be even more important than knowing than what you want. When you set boundaries about what you are not willing to accept, you may very well protect yourself from getting into disastrous situations and spare yourself drama/trauma of proportional amounts.
Burnout is a serious job-related phenomenon that can wreak havoc on your mental, emotional, and physical health. Recognize and avoid unhealthy job environments as much as you can.
As devastating as burnout can be, there is hope, and possible solutions available to prevent and combat burnout. Healthy lifestyle choices can tremendously impact your overall well-being and coping systems. A Healthy lifestyle can radically change and transform your life.
For more information on stress read our article here.
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