Work-related stress is a prevalent issue, with a 2021 study revealing that 79% of people have experienced it at some point. This stress can manifest as work burnout, a state of physical and emotional exhaustion that leaves individuals feeling unaccomplished and disconnected from their personal identity. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of work burnout is crucial for addressing the issue before it affects our work, home life, and personal relationships. Here are some key indicators to watch out for:
Identifying Work Burnout
- Feeling stressed about things that were not previously stressful. Sometimes when we feel stressed, we may be more prone to feeling stressed about things that were not previously stressful. Ask yourself if you have noticed anything bothering you or if you have felt overwhelmed in the past few weeks. Little tasks or events start to feel bigger than they once did. For example, planning a night out with friends or dinner with parents can be more stressful when experiencing work burnout.
- Finding it difficult to get up for work. Do you have a hard time getting out of bed for work? If you find yourself repeatedly snoozing your alarm every ten minutes, this may also be indicative of work burn. Reflect on your sleeping habits and ask yourself if this is something you are experiencing.
- Finding it difficult to complete tasks at work: Work burnout can also present difficulty in completing tasks at work. This can include anything from sending an email to starting or finishing a project. This may also lead to a decrease in engaging with coworkers with project ideas or for collaboration.
- Feeling like you need a three-day weekend every weekend. There are days when we all wish we could have a three-day weekend. However, work burnout feels different from that feeling because it presents itself as more of a need than a wish. Work burnout can lead to dread of going back to work, feeling unsatisfied about work, and feeling tired/fatigued. It feels like you need an extra day of rest to recharge for the week ahead. This not only includes feeling drained physically, but also being drained mentally.
- Feeling cynical: if you notice a shift towards a more pessimistic, cynical, or distrustful mindset about your work or company, it may signal work burnout. Cynicism increases in those with work burnout, resulting in reduced motivation and task fulfillment.
Strategies to Combat Work Burnout
- Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between your work and personal life. Avoid checking work emails or taking calls during your off-hours. This split is crucial for recharging and maintaining your well-being.
- Prioritize Self-Care: Make time for self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, and/or spending quality time with loved ones. Taking care of your physical and mental health is paramount.
- Delegate and Seek Support: Don’t be afraid to assign tasks or seek support from colleagues when necessary. Sharing duties can lighten your workload and reduce stress.
- Manage Time Effectively: Use time management techniques like the Pomodoro technique to stay focused and productive during work hours. Avoid overcommitting and learn to say no when necessary.
- Seek Feedback and Recognition: Communicate with your superiors and colleagues about your contributions and expectations. Constructive input and recognition can boost your motivation.
- Learn Stress Management Techniques: Practice stress management techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or yoga to cope with workplace stressors effectively.
- Consider Professional Help: If burnout symptoms persist or worsen, consider seeking help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in stress and burnout.
Work burnout is a significant concern in today’s demanding work environment.
Recognizing the signs and handling the root causes is important for keeping your physical and mental well-being. By setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, seeking support, and managing your time well, you can combat burnout and strive for a better work life balance. Remember, your well-being is worth prioritizing, and taking steps to prevent or overcome burnout is a crucial investment in your long-term happiness and success.