Are you turning cynical? Can’t sleep properly? Feeling useless, depressed, and suffering from frequent headaches? Having pain in your gut and trying to comfort yourself with some drugs, smoking, or alcohol? All these can be the signs of burnout that can cause several physiological and psychological issues.
Burnout is all about showing signs of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that is due to the stress related to workplace and job of a person. Job or workplace stressors can affect our lives in many ways, and these work burdens and corporate issues significantly impact the overall quality of our lives.
Today’s post of LKKG is mainly dedicated to teachers and physicians who are few of those professionals who most commonly experience stress related to their work. Their job demands and work environment is full of stress and hopelessness. It doesn’t mean that doctors and teachers are the only victims of burnout condition. It can happen to any job, with any one employee, and at any stage of a person’s professional life.
What is Burnout condition?
Basically, Burnout is not a medical diagnosis. According to some experts suggest that people with burnout symptoms don’t believe their work is the leading cause of this situation. Other analysts suggest that other psychological conditions like depression or anxiety are behind Burnout. No matter what is the actual reason behind burnout symptoms, but this situation can actually affect the physical and mental health of a person.
Burnout has been recognized as stress syndrome by World Health Organization (WHO). According to the updated definition of Burnout by WHO it is defined as
‘’Burnout is a syndrome that is the result of unsuccessfully managed chronic workplace stress.’’
Signs of burnout at work:
Spotting the early signs of work burnout in your boss, employee, co-worker, family member, or friend can be challenging to diagnose. Burnout symptoms can be different for every individual, but diagnosing work burnout condition for your own self is not so much difficult. Every individual need to ask their self:
- Are my sleep habits changed?
- Am I becoming critical or cynical at work?
- Am I facing a lack of energy to be consistently productive?
- Have I some disillusioned about my job?
- Why am I often having stomach or bowel problems, unexplained headaches, and physical complaints?
- Why all of a sudden, frequent change is appearing in me like the use of drugs, alcohol, or food to feel good or don’t want to feel anything?
- Am I dragging myself to work and facing trouble getting started?
Have you answered these questions as a “Yes”?
If at least for any of the three questions your answers are in ‘’YES’’, you might be experiencing a work/job burnout. The biggest issue with work burnout condition is that people feel ashamed for needing help. The general work environment in our society doesn’t support anyone of getting slow down, and that’s the reason people try to survive in any situation only to remain in job.
Having flu, fever, or any other physical health issue can be ok to take a rest of one day or two. But going through work burnout means they are simply out of the race to win the competition. People try to overcome their work burnout by working even harder, and from here the problems become bigger and broader.
Work Burnout-Possible causes:
Many factors participate in generating work burnout condition:
- Working in a way that takes a maximum of your efforts and time, you find no way to spend quality time with your family, or have no time even for your own self might burn you out more quickly.
- When your work demands constant energy and needs you to be always remaining focused, it causes depression and fatigue that leads to Burnout.
- If your job demands full time attention, and it only ends with no social life, situation of Burnout prevails.
- When a person gets no control over their workload, working schedule, and deadlines to meet – it could lead to job burnout.
- Unclear job expectation and an uncertain degree of authority can also be another reason for Burnout.
- Unhealthy working environment, office bully, micromanaging of your work, and leg-pulling by co-workers are also the reasons that can cause burnout situation.
All of these risk factors enhance when:
- The job requirement is monotonous.
- The person tries to be a part of every new project.
- High workload, overtime, and no holidays at all
- A person is associated with a helping profession like nursing, social services, or teaching.
Why are signs of Burnout more common in specific jobs?
It is observed that signs of Burnout are more common in some particular jobs like teachers, nurses, therapists, and physicians. All of these professionals have a working environment with constant stress with almost no social and family time. Their nature of job bounds them to be committed with their profession nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days in a year.
Especially people related to health profession need to remain alert day and night for any emergency situation. This work nature and load make them feel exhausted and generate conditions of Burnout. Continuous stressors during job or work adversely effect in the long term.
Emotional symptoms of Burnout:
All these professionals who suffer from burnout condition express the following conditions as the signs and symptoms of emotional Burnout:
During their professional life, a point comes when there is nothing new to do. They treat their patients in a similar way with no fresh perspective.
This is a condition when a health professional feels a lack of confidence in the whole healthcare system and the medical establishment. They may feel exhausted and irritated by the demands of patience, co-workers, and even their profession and always see the negative side of every circumstance.
Long working hours, emergency duties, irregular work routine, and lack of sleep collectively promote fatigue and tiredness that cause Burnout.
Unusual tendency to make mistakes:
The frustration, anxiety, and burden become overwhelming, and they start to show an increasing tendency to make mistakes. Poor time taking, prescribing errors, and inattentive behavior towards professional duties become part of their regular routine.
The most frequent emotional exhaustion symptoms of Burnout that medical professionals have explained are:
- Being unhappy at work
- Losing confidence to make decisions
- Remain doubtful about the personal skills and abilities
- Increased absenteeism due to multiple sick days
- Showing no commitment and engagement in professional communications and commitments
- Going for long breaks without any need
NOTE: It is mentioned earlier that Burnout is not only associated with teachers and health professionals. These are the burnout symptoms that are very common in health professionals. But in case if you find these symptoms as part of your professional life, you can also be a victim of work burnout.
You are feeling it, now what?
Finally, if you have recognized several signs of work burnout in you or someone closer to you, now what?
There is no particular treatment for job/work burnout. Many times leaving a work environment temporarily or permanently can solve the issue. Sometimes some other ways are used to deal with the problem like getting a therapeutic support, proactive decision making, and altering the attitude or workplace environment. It means work/job burnout can be treated by changing your work routine in two ways:
Change in Personal Attitude:
This is the best you can do to cope with work burnout symptoms. Recognize your negative thought patterns and habits and try to work on stopping them when they appear. Challenge yourself to come out of hopelessness, dark, and desperation and attempt to realize the situation wisely.
Being ‘’perfectionist’’ is closely related with Burnout. Wish to be perfect and do everything in an ideal manner provokes you from inside and insists to overwork without taking some time out for yourself, family, and friends. Try to remove this self-imposed pressure and allow yourself to breathe freely to feel a little less stressed.
Manage Your Workload:
When you have too much in your plate, it generates feelings of discomfort and uneasiness. Work burnout can happen when you have more workload than your bearing capacity. Try to convince your boss or upper management about your overburden and get some time to be relaxed. This will not only help you to come out of work burnout situation but also improves your abilities and capabilities to manage workload.
What can workplace strategies by employers help to overcome job/work burnout situation?
Don’t forget that those who are overachievers are at higher risk of Burnout. Taking on more work to display top performance is their response to work stress. This is not the way to treat burnout symptoms, but developing the right strategies for better performance is the need of time. Being a boss or employer, it is your responsibility to follow the following procedures to create a better, healthy, and progressive work environment with no burnout situation:
- Provide all the necessary resources to your employees to meet the deadlines.
- Make sure that the employees have the necessary skills to meet the expectations.
- To maintain the competency, provide ongoing training to employees.
- Provide assistance to the workers who feel pressured to work beyond regular working hours.
- Encourage your employees to take regular breaks from the work environment annually.
- Give social support, respect, and promote physical activities to remain healthy.
- Make your employees realize their importance and their contribution to the progress of the organization.
The experience of burnout conditions is different for everyone. It depends upon their profession, personal life circumstances, and medical history. There are three main types of chronic work-related stress:
Under challenged Burnout::
This condition appears when a person gets no job satisfaction. That individual feels to be self-trapped in an unstimulating work environment. This entire situation results in lowering the energy and their mood.
When a person loves their work/job and channels so much energy into their work, but get negative remarks or no reward. As a result, they get anxious. Working with an intensity to reach the point of exhaustion is also a motive to frenetic Burnout.
When a person gives-up after experiencing a continuous frustration and depression during their workload or after getting no reward worn-out burnout situation appears.
Job/work burnout is a condition that is hard to recognize, but it doesn’t go on its own. It’s really not going to get better just by finishing the last project or assignment successfully and finally got a new task. It is in need to have some conscious thoughts and efforts to identify and then address the Burnout.
No doubt it is the last thing you can think while you are burned-out or feeling down. But ultimately a time comes when you realize that no one can help you in this except you. You’re the only one who can do something for your own. You must have to sit and con concentrate and take control over whatever is not working for you in your career.
What should you do?
Try mindfulness to get an increased sense of calm. Many times the problem might be that people experience all the work stress, but they don’t fully understand that what is going on. In this situation, mindfulness helps to develop insights and make you able to observe your mind. LKKG platform strongly recommends taking a look at your work routine and job responsibilities once again. It is good to be committed with your profession and also not bad to achieve perfection at a certain level.
Never exhaust yourself in trying extra hard to be the best employee/professional. Be naturally creative; enjoy your work with extracting some time for social and personal activities also. Only a balanced work life and personal life can help you to achieve your goals. What do you say about this?
Share your thoughts and comments regarding your view about signs of burnout in the comment section below.