Stress at work is nothing new, but too much for too long can have long-term adverse effects on you. More and more, people are overstretching themselves to meet deadlines, complete projects, and overachieve in the workplace. If your stress isn’t managed properly, it can lead to burnout at work, so make sure to understand burnout, what causes it, and how to avoid it.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a constant feeling of stress, anxiety, and tiredness caused by being overworked. It can make you feel incapable at work, irritable at home, and can even affect your long-term health. It will take a toll on your work performance, which can make your burnout even worse. Most people experience it at some point, and it can be caused by work-related stress or other stressors. Burnout can affect people at any age, in any profession. There are a number of causes and symptoms of burnout, and, fortunately, there are also a number of remedies.
What Causes Burnout?
1. Chronic Stress at Work
Working long hours, taking on huge projects, and upcoming deadlines can cause short-term stress. There is nothing wrong with some work stress, but if it piles on for too long, it can overwhelm you and push you to burnout. This is one of the most common causes of burnout.
2. Poor Work/Life Balance
Working a 9-5 job should give you plenty of time at home to focus on other passions, like spending time with your family, reading a good book, or cooking a nice meal. Slipping into overtime hours, working weekends, or skipping vacations takes away your personal life, and is a major burnout contributor.
3. Social Isolation
Do you have a social life at work our outside of work? Getting lunch with your closest coworkers or going out with your friends on the weekends is great for your mental well-being. However, getting sucked into work for too long can remove these benefits, remove your stress outlet, and cause you to burn out. Consequently, the long-term effects of sacrificing social activities for work commitments can develop into social anxiety.
4. Unhealthy Work Environment
Harassment, hostility, or unfair treatment at the workplace can make you anxious and uncomfortable. Supervisors who ask you to do too much, or don’t properly reward you from work can make you feel overworked and underappreciated. Add this to a poor work-life balance or a stressful project, and you’ll experience burnout.
The Signs of Burnout
1. Loss of Motivation
Struggling to get into the office, or losing interest in things you used to love doing is one of the biggest signs of burnout. Loss of motivation is caused by being overwhelmed by work, making you hesitant to take on anything, even if it isn’t related to work.
You can experience mental or physical exhaustion, having trouble doing any tasks. Exhaustion is caused by overworking yourself without getting any rest time. This can impact your work performance, your home life, and your health.
3. Trouble Focusing
When the fatigue and stress pile up, you find yourself unable to focus on one task at a time. Your mind wanders, and you can’t complete your projects. You have trouble focusing because of you either have too many projects to keep track of, or you lack the mental energy to concentrate.
4. Feeling Insufficient at Work
When you’re experiencing burnout, you lose confidence in yourself. You notice your mistakes more and begin to feel insufficient, which can result in even more stress or anxiety. Feeling insufficient is a self-esteem issue, and can really affect how you handle your workload, making you even more prone to stress.
5. Constant Frustration
When you’re having trouble focusing, can’t let out any steam, and are uncomfortable at work, you become irritable. You might be annoyed other people or your projects and become frustrated more easily. This frustration is the result of an inability to control your situation, which can happen in a bad work environment, or when you’re working too much.
6. Problems at Home
Your work life can spill into your home life, so stress at work can lead to stress at home. You might have a harder time connecting to your family, or you seclude yourself from your friends. While it’s okay to let your work and home life mix, when you’re going through burnout, it can overpower your home life, bringing the stress from work with it.
One of the biggest signs of burnout is chronic fatigue. Constantly feeling tired, sleepy, or overworked, much like many other symptoms of burnout, can make your job even more stressful by reducing your ability to work, or handle stress. Fatigue is often caused by working for too long or too hard.
When things are going well, you have a positive outlook on life. But when you’re having burnout, you have a pessimistic outlook. Your plans feel like they’re falling apart, and you assume the worst of situations. Pessimism can lead to depression, which pushes you further into burnout.
9. Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are major signs of burnout and can be the most overwhelming part. You can find yourself feeling a sense of impending danger, or a constant anxiety.Anxiety can cause you to be uncomfortable in social situations, while depression removes your motivation to participate in activities you typically enjoy.
Tips to Deal with Burnout
1. Slow Down
It can feel like you’re giving up, cutting back on your workload to focus on one project at a time is one of the best things to prevent burnout. You will reduce your stress, increase your focus, and be able to produce higher quality work. This can lead to a number of benefits, including improving your mood, giving yourself more free time, and boosting your self-esteem.
2. Don’t Blame Yourself
It can be easy to think burnout is your fault, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes circumstances make your home life more stressful, pushing you to take on more at work. You might have a hard time socializing, making your work life more stressful. You may even be in a poorly run work environment, putting you in a position to take on too much work. It’s important to have perspective on what is causing your burnout, since blaming yourself can make it work.
3. Get Enough Sleep
This is one of the most important ways to handle burnout. Lack of sleep can make you more prone to stress and hamper your work performance, making you more susceptible to burnout. Getting enough sleep will make you able to handle more stress at work, as well as improving your mental, physical, and emotional health.
4. Ask for Support
Other people can help you through any tough times. Whether you confide in your friends or seek professional help, don’t rely on just yourself to get out of burnout. Getting people in your life to help you through your burnout makes a huge difference, and is easier than it seems. It starts with reaching out and telling someone that you need their support
5. Enrich your Personal Life
Pick up a hobby, learn an instrument, or get involved in a community group. Spend time with family and friends, and find ways to give your personal life more meaning and make sure to keep your work life in check. Having an enriched personal life will improve your health, and can reduce your stress, which can prevent or overcome burnout.
Why You Should Avoid Burnout
Burnout can affect your performance at work, making you even more stressed out. It can make it hard to be interested in your own personal life, making you feel isolated. Most importantly, burnout can affect your long-term health. Stress has a number of effects on your health, including heart problems, skin conditions, and mental health. You may have trouble eating right, exercising enough, or getting a full night’s sleep.
Furthermore, being upset with your job can cause you to make major lifestyle changes you otherwise wouldn’t have to, like changing jobs, or changing what you do in your free time. Keeping your burnout under control will prevent you from ignoring your health, happiness, and well-being.
Stress is a part of life, and that’s fine. But prolonged stress and poor work conditions can be bad for you in the long run. No one enjoys the effects of burnout or the things that cause them, even if they enjoy their job. Go through burnout long enough, and you can face some serious long-term implications. Before you push yourself too hard, make sure to keep your stress in check to fight burnout and keep yourself healthy and happy at work.