Most people have experienced some form of burnout at some time or another. Even the most passionate employees struggle with burnout. According to a Deloitte survey, 87% of employees reported being passionate about their work, but 64% are frequently stressed. If you are experiencing this type of fatigue, you are not alone and there are things that can help. This article is here to help educate you about what burnout is, how to recognize it in yourself, and what to do about it.
Because burnout is becoming increasingly common in the workplace, the World Health Organization has actually recognized burnout’s impact on health. WHO defined it as a syndrome that results “from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Burnout is often characterized by visible signs, such as:
- mental and physical exhaustion
- uncharacteristic disengagement or boredom at work
- reduced productivity
- cynicism or complaining related to one’s job
For any of these things, be it tiredness or frustration, it is normal and expected to have off days. However, if you notice you are experiencing an extended period of one or more of the above symptoms, there is likely a bigger issue to address.
This is where you should take an inventory of yourself.
While these symptoms are all key signs of burnout, there is also a chance that the cause is not work-related. Sometimes rough situations in our personal lives, like sick family members or financial stress, can affect our feelings and behavior at work. If there are personal issues at hand, consider talking openly with your supervisor so you can have the help you need to continue being successful at work. Also, consider reaching out to someone you trust who can help you manage your stressors.
If after self-evaluation, the stress you are experiencing is work-related, try to pinpoint what is causing it.
- Do you have too much on your plate?
- Do you have a clear understanding of what is expected and what you should be doing?
- Are you feeling underappreciated?
- Are you having issues communicating with other team members?
- Talk to your supervisor openly.
- Once you understand what is causing you to feel burnt out at work, it is easier to have a productive conversation about how to fix it. You can talk with your supervisor about what you’re feeling, why you think you’re feeling that way, and what can be done to help you be more successful at work. Often, this kind of open communication is effective for getting the support that you need.
- If you usually work with data or numbers, ask if there is a more creative project you can help on. If you usually work with the most difficult clients, ask to manage a smaller/easier account so you can stay productive and have a little rest. These kinds of big work changes can help you feel more interested and engaged during periods of burnout.
- Learn what techniques help you manage various types of stress.
- There are many stress management techniques, from breathing strategies to grounding techniques. There is also counseling for more serious situations. Regardless of what you are dealing with, learning stress management techniques can help you to feel higher satisfaction in all areas of life.
- Getting fresh air and some sunshine can make a big difference when you spend most of your day inside. Exercising also can be a game-changer. Both of these things cause your brain to release positive hormones that will help you feel happier overall.
- Don’t check work emails on your off time if they aren’t urgent. Don’t worry about things at work that you have to do if you aren’t there and can’t work on them. Make sure that your time is YOUR time so that you get the mental rest you need to be fully present at work.
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