Have you ever had a moment in your career where you just did not want to go to work? Has it become more and more difficult each day to drag yourself out of your house and make that commute? Does getting things done seem like a mountainous task? Have you felt like you were on a hamster wheel with no hope of getting off? You may have been experiencing burnout.
While our country is experiencing high rates of employment, employees are experiencing higher rates of burnout. The World Health Organization is blaming workplace stress for the heightened rates of burnout, with 96% of senior managers believing their workers are experiencing at least some form of burnout, while 91% of employees said they are somewhat burned out.
What Is Burnout?
In May of this year, the World Health Organization included an updated and detailed description of burnout in its International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. According to the WHO, burnout is “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” The WHO specifies this is workplace specific and should not be applied to other areas of our lives.
According to WHO, burnout is characterized by:
- A sense of exhaustion or depletion
- Mental distance from or negativity or cynicism about work
- Decreased effectiveness at work.
In other words, burnout happens when the demands put upon you exceed the resources you have available to complete the demands. Your tank is empty. Burnout is more than one bad day or week at the office–there are NO good days and burnout lasts for a long period of time.
What’s Causing the Burnout?
The greatest factors that influence burnout are:
- Unmanageable workloads or unclear expectations. If you’re unclear about what others expect of you, you’re not likely to be comfortable in your job role.
- Career unhappiness or lack of control. If you feel stuck or unable to make decisions that affect your job, or don’t have the resources you need to complete tasks, this can contribute to you feeling dissatisfied with your job.
- Constant Interruptions to workflow or office dysfunction. If others constantly ask for your help, interrupt you, undermine you, or you have an office bully, this can contribute to office stress.
- Extremes of activity. When your job is monotonous or chaotic and you can’t find balance, you can become fatigued and burned out.
- Outdated or slow technology. If you don’t have the resources you need, equipment that functions properly, and still have deadlines to meet, you can become easily frustrated and burned out.
- Work-Life Imbalance. If you feel like you’re isolated at work or work takes up so much of your time that you don’t have time to spend with family or friends on fun activities to relax, you can feel more stressed and burnt out.
How Do You Know If You’re Feeling Burned Out?
You now understand that burnout is something that lasts longer than a day or two, but it can still be hard to identify for ourselves whether we’re just feeling everyday stress or if we’re veering straight to burnout central. Below we’ll break down some of the actual symptoms of burnout to help you identify what you’re feeling.
- You’re not excited about work anymore. If you feel a complete lack of enthusiasm about what you’re doing, you might be burnt out. When you used to feel fulfilled about a job well done, now you feel empty and deplete.
- You’ve stopped trying. The lack of excitement above often leads to an apathetic attitude. You no longer get enjoyment from what you’re doing, so why bother trying to do a good job. You just don’t care anymore. You still get the job done, but you’re not going over and above to do your job like you may have in the past. Many people who experience burnout are over achievers, so this is a red flag for those types of people to pay attention to.
- Your performance is lacking. The disinterest in completing tasks often leads to completing them poorly. People who experience burnout don’t care enough to do things well. You no longer check your work or make deadlines. You miss simple mistakes.
- You’re fatigued. Fatigue and exhaustion are common indicators of burnout. You not only have a lack of energy physically but you’re also emotionally drained.
- You’re self-medicating. You find yourself using food, alcohol or drugs to feel better or to not feel at all.
- You feel physical symptoms. Not everyone gets this far, but there are some physical complaints you should watch out for if you suspect you’re burnt out. These include insomnia, headaches, increased instances of illness, dizziness, gastrointestinal pain–among others.
You Think Your Burnt Out…What Should You Do?
After reading about the signs and symptoms, you suspect you might be burnt out at work. So now what? How can you get yourself back on track? Your first thought might be to take a vacation. While a break is a good idea, you need to be aware that you’re returning to the same job you left. Instead of just pausing for a short time, you need to actively take part in changing your life. The two main things you need to focus on is changing your attitude and changing your workload.
Work with your boss to identify workload issues and find ways to manage them. Learning to say no where appropriate is also helpful in lessening the demands on your time at work. Avoid the tendency to overload yourself.
Changing your attitude is key. First you need to identify negative habits and thought patterns and learn how to change them. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll need to learn to remove these self-imposed pressures so you can breathe easier at work–and other areas of your life. Learning to manage stress when it inevitably occurs will also be key in helping you feel less burned out and more motivated at your job.
Studies have shown that practicing stress reduction and mindfulness will help you reduce stress at the office significantly to prevent burnout. Results of these studies suggest that mindfulness programs help employees better deal with stress and develop the ability to recognize negative emotions and behaviors to remain calm, self-aware and alert. And less stress equals greater job satisfaction.
One of the best ways to reduce your stress and learn to change negative emotions into positive thinking is to utilize your BrainTap and the BrainTap Pro App on a daily basis. Every guided visualization you listen to is specifically designed to help you feel balanced and refreshed and reduce stress in all areas of your life, including at work. Our Stress-Free Me bundle can be a great way to reduce your stress, learn strategies for mindfulness at work and at home and lessen the effects of burnout at the job.
For more information on this and other programs BrainTap has to offer, visit https://braintap.com/bundles/.
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