Do Mondays fill you with dread? Unmotivated to do your work even though it’s almost due? Feel exhausted during workdays even after getting enough sleep? Workplace stress is something that most of us endure but the inability to cope could lead to burnout. Burnout leaves you feeling empty and exhausted. Left unaddressed, it could leave you unable to carry out your everyday tasks.
Burnout, put simply, is when you feel exhausted, hate your job, and feel like you’re underperforming at work. It isn’t a diagnosable psychological disorder but it should be taken seriously because it could negatively impact your physical and mental health.
Signs & Symptoms of Burnout
Emotionally Distancing From Work-Related Activities
Someone who is burnt out would see their job as increasingly frustrating and stressful. They’d view their work conditions and colleagues negatively. This could lead to isolation and eventually not feeling anything about their work.
Chronic stress can lead to physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches and other intestinal issues.
Feeling Emotionally Exhausted
Burnout can cause you to feel drained, unable to get by and lack the energy to finish their work.
People with burnout feel negative about their tasks, whether it’s at their workplace or at home if they are caregivers. They usually have problems concentrating and lack creativity and thus, their performance at work would dip.
Burnout has similar symptoms with depression where they have negative feelings and thoughts about everything, not just work.
What leads to burnout?
High-stress jobs don’t necessarily lead to burnout as long as stress is managed well. However, there are some people and also jobs that have higher risk of it.
The five main causes include:
Unreasonable time expectations
Not having enough time to perform their jobs increases the likelihood of burnout. Thus, jobs with very short deadlines or ones where you’re unable to gain extra time to do your job like emergency personnel or doctors have a higher risk.
Lack of communication & support from higher-ups
Supportive managers can help employees mitigate the effects of stress. Employees who feel supported by their managers are 70% less likely to experience burnout.
Unclear job description
Employees would feel exhausted figuring out what they’re supposed to be doing because expectations about their jobs are unclear.
When your workload feels unmanageable, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Feeling constantly overwhelmed could lead to burnout.
This ranges from unfair compensation to favouritism or even bullying. All of these increase the likelihood of an employee burning out.
Preventing & Treating Burnout
Making a few changes to your work environment could help prevent or treat burnout.
Talking to the HR department or your manager about what’s bothering you at the workplace could help especially if they’re committed to creating a healthier work environment.
Of course, not all workplaces are made the same. If nothing is being done to help you after you’ve made your grievances known, it’s time to leave.
Practicing good stress management by having self-care strategies like eating healthy, regular exercise, and having healthy sleep habits are a few ways to prevent burnout.
Taking a vacation can offer you temporary relief as well. Having regularly scheduled breaks and practicing daily renewal exercises can help to fight it too.
If you’re experiencing burnout and find it difficult to lift yourself out of the exhaustion and frustration, please do speak to a mental health professional. A therapist could teach you the strategies you need to cope and help you feel your best.