September 17, 2019
If you find yourself consistently late to work, irritable, disillusioned, or troubled by unexplained physical conditions, you may be experiencing job burnout. Finally getting recognition by the media and medical community, burnout is caused by work-related stress that surpasses the average missed deadline or difficult client. It’s much more chronic and can have an overwhelming impact on your body and mind. Job burnout can be caused by a wide range of career stressors and isn’t isolated to any particular industry. Risk factors for burnout include a lack of control at work, unclear job expectations, unhealthy workplace relationships, extreme periods of excessive work, and a lack of social support.
To avoid the consequences of chronic burnout, including fatigue, insomnia, and substance abuse, consider these five tips to keep you happy and performing your best:
If you’re feeling concerned with your ability to perform while experiencing burnout, it’s important to communicate clearly and effectively about your state with a superior. While this can be an intimidating idea, it’s the healthiest way to move forward and begin to heal. As you prepare for the discussion, talk to a friend or family member. They can help you unpack the emotions you’re experiencing and even role-play the conversation in preparation for a meeting with the boss. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to present a solution to the problems you’re experiencing. While you might want to exemplify your greatest problem-solving skills, it could prevent you from having an honest, vulnerable, and realistic discussion.
While friends, family, and co-workers can be strong sounding boards in times of crisis, they don’t have the knowledge and resources of a mental health professional. A licensed counselor can also help you understand the root causes of burnout, assess whether there’s an underlying condition compounding your experience, and even help you better understand how to explain the situation to colleagues and managers.
A huge contributor to burnout is an overall lack of sleep, caused by pulling late nights or tossing and turning due to anxiety over upcoming assignments, meetings, or events. Making the decision to prioritize healthy sleeping habits can reduce stress and make day to day tasks more manageable, ultimately helping you heal and relax. Sleep experts recommend following a clearly defined sleep schedule, practicing a bed time ritual, avoiding naps, and keeping your room cool and quiet. Also avoid too much screen time before bed, and resist the temptation to update your email or check in on other work-related tasks.
Mindfulness, the practice of bringing awareness to the present moment, has been proven to greatly improve a personal sense of calmness and well-being in the workplace. By taking time to center the body and mind, a person experiencing burnout can better regulate their thoughts and emotions. For someone who is feeling anxious and burned out, mindfulness can be intimidating, but there are countless apps and resources to help you get your bearings. Short mindfulness techniques for beginners typically begin with taking a seat in a place you feel comfortable, setting a short time limit, noticing your body and breath, and being kind to a mind that naturally wanders.
Though the advice “you should exercise!” can sound like a broken record, there’s truth in the guidance. Exercise as therapy has been proven to reduce stress and boost endorphins, and picking a new activity can be a promising way to get your mind off work-related stress. If you haven’t exercised for a while and are worried about taking the first step, consult with your doctor about the best exercises for combatting burnout. Remember that consistency is vital for reaping the full benefits of exercise, so be sure to set achievable goals on a routine that works for you.
If you’re suffering from burnout, remember that you’re not alone. Employee stress levels are consistently rising, and workplaces are beginning to explore solutions to help stressed out employees. Take care of yourself, be honest, and don’t hesitate to reach out for the support you need.