Burnout. What is it, and how does one manage it?
According to the World Health Organization, burnout is an occupational phenomenon. It results from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Work burnout results from business-related pressure. It is a condition that includes a sense of decreased achievement and loss of individual character. While burnout isn’t necessarily a medical diagnosis, many factors contribute to it and significantly harm our holistic health.
Job Burnout Symptoms
Whatever the root cause may be, workplace burnout can influence your physical and emotional well-being. People can identify if they are experiencing work-related burnout if they begin to feel a loss of meaning in one’s work. Some chronic stress-related symptoms are
- Detachment from others
- Reduced performance
- Difficulty concentrating
- Erratic sleep habits
- Unexplained physical symptoms (headache, stomach problems, etc.)
What Causes Workplace Burnout?
Every person’s experience varies, which means the factors contributing to workplace burnout can also greatly vary. A few common potential causes are:
- Role Ambiguity & Stress Conflict: Lacking clear expectations in the workplace can lead to burnout.
- Role Stress Conflict occurs when a worker receives incompatible requirements or expectations from more than one party.
- Role Ambiguity refers to employees remaining uncertain about what they must do to complete their outlined job duties.
If you’re unsure of your role’s authority or what others require of you, this stress will likely result in a negative outcome.
- Loss of Control: Feeling powerless can impact our choices that influence our work-related responsibilities. If you are not given proper resources to perform, or your workload grows overwhelming, you may experience a loss of control that prompts workplace burnout.
- Harmful Work Environment: Harmful or dysfunctional office environments can take many forms. From an office bully to micromanaging supervisors, these frustrating stimuli can skyrocket feelings of stress in the workplace.
- Minimal Social Support: Occupational burnout can also stem from feeling isolated, whether at work or home. We are all humans, entitled to any emotion we face. It is beyond challenging when facing difficult times not to allow our personal lives to impact our work lives, and vice versa.
- Demanding Hours: When we find ourselves stuck working all hours of the day, it throws the balance in our lives out of whack. Long, demanding hours can lead to further isolation and decreased social support. Spending time away from family, friends, rest, and hobbies can cause stress to compound quickly.
So, what can we do?
Managing Workplace Burnout
Engage in Self Care
Engage in self-care practices that nurture every aspect of who you are; physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. For many, self-care has become a term viewed as a mainstream trend, but it does not always have to be pedicures and lavish dinners. While those things may work for some, it does not work for all.
Self-care could be drinking an extra glass of water, organizing your desk, budgeting your finances, working on bad habits, dancing in your living room, helping a neighbor, sitting quietly, going for a run; you get the gist. The opportunities are endless. All in all, self-care is not a “quick fix” but an ongoing practice that takes dedication and immense commitment to oneself.
Committing to self-care practices shakes up the chaos of your day-to-day schedule by injecting time for yourself. Setting aside time to care for yourself can also be a helpful reminder to leave work at work—even if you’re a remote worker and your job sits within your home’s four walls.
Advocate For a Better Work Environment
Ideally, we could choose a healthy work environment that cares deeply about staff wellness. However, this may not always be a reality.
Suppose this isn’t a priority in your workplace. Try reaching out to your peers to set up workplace wellness goals and activities. Collaborating for workplace needs can be meaningful by building peer engagement and, hopefully, implementing beneficial changes.
Set Boundaries & Stay Accountable
While it is most certainly easier said than done, setting boundaries at work can help individuals avoid overworking. Try to remind yourself that it is okay to say “no” when feeling overwhelmed.
Talk to someone about your boundary-setting intentions, whether it’s a trusted colleague or family member. This way, you have someone to turn to when you feel like you’re struggling. Having someone help you remain accountable can be highly beneficial.
Highlight the Positive
When facing challenges or negative emotions, search for an experience’s positive side. Doing so may lighten the emotional weight of the situation. Jot down your negative thoughts and feelings, and try reframing them into something positive, or at least an alternative viewpoint. Writing these thoughts out can help physically manifest your mindset shift and help you to no longer have negative thoughts swirling around in your mind.
You can also reflect on what initially appealed to you regarding the type of work you’re conducting in the first place. What sparked your interest when applying for the job? Getting specific can help reestablish the joy you once had at work.
By highlighting the positive, we not only help ourselves seek a healthier mindset, but it can also help bolster our circle of social support—many individuals report feeling comfortable around other people who seem to exude positivity. Radiating positive energy can potentially draw others to you for all the right reasons, boosting meaningful personal connections we all need to thrive.
If you’re experiencing workplace burnout, you can try to talk with your job’s support staff about obtaining additional support.
If that is not an option, consider reaching out to a medical professional or mental health provider, as the symptoms of burnout may correlate with a health condition such as depression. It may also be beneficial to talk with someone unrelated to your workplace from a truly objective point of view.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.