Job burnout is a special type of work-related stress, a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. More simply put, if you feel exhausted, start to hate your job, and begin to feel less capable at work, you are showing signs of burnout.
The stress that contributes to burnout can come mainly from your job, but stress from your overall lifestyle can add to this stress. Personality traits and thought patterns, such as perfectionism and pessimism, can contribute as well. Most people spend the majority of their waking hours working. And if you hate your job, dread going to work, and don’t gain any satisfaction out of what you’re doing, it can take a serious toll on your life. Job burnout can affect your physical and mental health. Consider how to know if you’ve got job burnout and what you can do about it.
JOB BURNOUT SYMPTOMS
Here are some of the most common signs of burnout:
Alienation from work-related activities: Individuals experiencing burnout view their jobs as increasingly stressful and frustrating. They may grow cynical about their working conditions and the people they work with. They may also emotionally distance themselves and begin to feel numb about their work.
·Physical symptoms: Chronic stress may lead to physical symptoms, like headaches and stomach-aches or intestinal issues.
Emotional exhaustion: Burnout causes people to feel drained, unable to cope, and tired. They often lack energy to get their work done.
·Reduced performance: Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work—or in the home when someone’s main job involves caring for family members. Individuals with burnout feel negative about tasks. They have difficulty concentrating and often lack creativity.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF JOB BURNOUT
Job 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.
JOB BURNOUT RISK FACTORS
You might be more likely to experience job burnout if:
•You identify so strongly with work that you lack balance between your work life and your personal life
•You have a high workload, including overtime work
•You try to be everything to everyone
•You work in a helping profession, such as health care
•You feel you have little or no control over your work
•Your job is monotonous
Consequences of job burnout
Ignored or unaddressed job burnout can have significant consequences, including:
•Sadness, anger or irritability
•Alcohol or substance misuse
•High blood pressure
•Type 2 diabetes
•Vulnerability to illnesses
HANDLING JOB BURNOUT
Try to take action. To get started:
•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 or loved ones, support and collaboration might 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 yoga, meditation.
•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 intensely 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.
Keep an open mind as you consider the options. Try not to let a demanding or unrewarding job undermine your health.
Take Care of Yourself and Each Other