Beat Job Burnout
Job burnout is a serious issue. There are a number of causes of burnout. If suffer from chronic stress at work, feel exhausted and are fed up with work, then you may be experiencing job burnout.
You've got your boss breathing down your neck wanting yesterday's report. You have another deadline looming. You're pulling long days and taking work home....you are in familiar territory - doing it tough!
What you really need is a relaxing break - but the demanding schedule won't let up.
While you think you may simply be adapting to the higher and higher levels of stress - the truth is that sooner or later, this unrelenting stress may lead to job burnout.
If the impact of work-related burnout on your health and well-being is not enough to make you change then think about the lost productivity.
In a national poll of Americans in 2009, just over half said that they were less productive in the office because of stress at work.
Unfortunately many executives and office workers that I see in my practice think that work related stress goes with the territory.
Often their egos don't let them ask for help.
But the consequences of too much stress at work are serious.
The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reported that:
the health expenditures of workers who report high levels of stress at work are 50 percent higher than those who do not report high levels of stress at work.
What is Job Burnout: Some signs and symptoms of burnout
Burnout has tended to be studied in the helping professions – social workers, child care workers, psychologists and service personnel; however burnout can occur in any profession.
In essence burnout is the depletion of your resources to meet the demands of activity and can be defined as:
"to exhaust one’s physical and mental resources…to wear out oneself by excessively striving to meet unrealistic expectations". (Brown, 1993)
These unrealistic expectations can be imposed by us or the values of the workplace or society we inhabit.
Do you find that your productivity is declining? Are you feeling unmotivated and suffering from low morale?
Do you feel frazzled or run down more often than not? Are you noticing that you are getting frustrated easily or that you have lost your humor?
Are you feeling increasingly helpless in your situation or becoming more inflexible?
These are some of the indicators that you could be at risk of burnout.
Risk factors for job burnout
There are a number of possible risk factors of burnout.
Some of these risk factors for burnout may include:
The effects of job burnout
Job burnout is characterized by low worker morale, high rates of absenteeism and decreased productivity.
Burnout is a state of exhaustion in which your mental and physical resources are depleted.
This makes you more susceptible to depression and anxiety and a number of other stress health illnesses.
If you are suffering from burnout you need to switch gears.
There are a number of things that you can do about work-related burnout.
Reduce the risk job burnout through self care and relaxation
When you are suffering from burnout your mind and body are exhausted. It is important to practice some self care and to rejuvenate yourself.
Relaxation exercises. Stress activates the stress response, while various relaxation techniques activate the relaxation response.
The relaxation response short circuits the cycle of stress and can give your body and mind the relaxation and rejuvenation it is crying out for.
Try to bring relaxation techniques into your daily schedule.
Exercise. Exercise reduces stress and buffers you from the effects of stress.
One of the symptoms of stress is increased muscle tension. Exercise relaxes the muscles and uses up the accumulated stress products in your body.
Eat well. Just as you can’t expect your car to run well with no gas nor can expect your body to perform well without the right nutrition. A well balanced diet ensures that you have the right gas in the tank and adequate vitamins for stress. Good stress nutrition can improve your ability to cope with stress and reduce the risk of burnout.
Reduce the risk of job burnout on the job
There are a number of things that you can do on the job to reduce your risk of burnout.
Take a break. While it may be the last thing you think you can do, taking a break from your work is important. Pack a nutritious lunch and get some fresh air. A gentle walk outside will help you rejuvenate and clear your mind.
Don’t take work home. Setting boundaries between work and home is important. With the Internet and the mobile potentially connecting us 24/7, setting boundaries is important for your rest and relaxation. By not taking work home you reduce the chance of burnout and promote balance in the other activities of your life.
Develop your time management skills. Are you working as effectively as you can? Do you feel that you jump from crisis to crisis putting out fires?
Using time management techniques such as delegation and prioritization can free up your time to do things that are more important and add value to you or your company.
See this article on time management at work if you think that this could be helpful to reduce your chances of job burnout.
Reduce the risk of job burnout through finding meaning and purpose
Job burnout is serious and you need to do something about it. Asking yourself some questions can help.
What are you working for? List all the things that you are working for. It may be for the money or the prestige – or something more abstract.
Write down in detail what you get out of your job.
Does your job match up with the values of the type of person you want to be? What does working mean for you?
Do things that you enjoy. This is a variation on the “bucket list”. What activities do you genuinely enjoy? Write down the activities that you enjoy.
Write them all down – see if you can reach 10 activities, what about 20 or 30...now rank these activities in order of importance.
When was the last time that you did these activities?
Make it a priority to bring some of these activities into your life.
Related Articles on Work Stress
Work Related Stress: Signs and Symptoms of Work Related Stress
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