More and more people are talking about burnout at work, but there are still some misconceptions about what the term means and its implications. The term goes beyond feeling emotionally and mentally exhausted. According to the World Health Organization, burnout is characterized by increased mental distance, feelings of negativism, and cynicism related to one’s job. Burnout wears away one’s sense of engagement and purposefulness and can lead to emotional detachment, self-doubt, and shame.
Symptoms of workplace burnout
Workplace burnout can result from various factors, including:
· Lack of control. An inability to influence decisions that affect your job — such as your schedule, assignments or workload — could lead to job burnout. So could a lack of the resources you need to do your work.
· Unclear job expectations. If you’re unclear about the degree of authority you have or what your supervisor or others expect from you, you’re not likely to feel comfortable at work.
· Dysfunctional workplace dynamics. Perhaps you work with an office bully, or you feel undermined by colleagues or your boss micromanages your work. This can contribute to job stress.
· Extremes of activity. When a job is monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to remain focused — which can lead to fatigue and job burnout.
· Lack of social support. If you feel isolated at work and in your personal life, you might feel more stressed.
· Work-life imbalance. If your work takes up so much of your time and effort that you don’t have the energy to spend time with your family and friends, you might burn out quickly.
Workplace burnout risk factors
The following factors may contribute to workplace burnout:
· You have a heavy workload and work long hours
· You struggle with work-life balance
· You work in a helping profession, such as health care
· You feel you have little or no control over your work
Consequences of workplace burnout
Ignored or unaddressed workplace burnout can have significant consequences, including:
· Excessive stress
· Sadness, anger or irritability
· Alcohol or substance misuse
· Heart disease
· High blood pressure
· Type 2 diabetes
· Vulnerability to illnesses
Surviving workplace burnout
· Evaluate your options. Discuss specific concerns with your supervisor. Maybe you can work together to change expectations or reach compromises or solutions. Try to set goals for what must get done and what can wait.
· Seek support. Whether you reach out to co-workers, friends, loved ones or a mental health professional, support and collaboration may help you cope. If you have access to an employee assistance program, take advantage of relevant services.
· Try a relaxing activity. Explore programs that can help with stress such as walking, yoga, meditation or Tai Chi.
· Get some exercise. Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress. It can also take your mind off work.
· Get some sleep. Sleep restores well-being and helps protect your health.
· Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of focusing on your breath flow and being aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at every moment, without interpretation or judgment. In a job setting, this practice involves facing situations with openness and patience, and without judgment.
If you or someone you know appears to be struggling with symptoms of workplace burnout, don’t hesitate to call Quintessential Health (1-833-QHCARES) for a free consultation.