Burnout, defined by Psychology Today as “a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress” is at an all-time high, with 69% of employees reporting some symptoms. Once seen as an excuse for laziness, burnout is now considered a legitimate medical disorder and not enough employees know how to manage burnout.
Symptoms of burnout include high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Research conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, concluded that those effected by burnout, whether from work or home life, showed size differences of the Amygdala – a brain structure that is critical in emotional reactions including fear and aggression, and their Prefrontal Cortex – a structure involved in executive function.
Early signs of burnout include overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism, detachment from the profession, a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. Burnout can feel debilitating and, similar to symptoms of depression and imposter syndrome, can convince those effected that the feeling is permanent. Luckily, that’s not the case…
What do I do if I’m Burned Out?
- Self-Talk drastically effects how you see yourself and the world around you. In some cases, the negative emotions caused by burnout build off each other, creating a vicious cycle of negative attitudes that are fueled by previous negative attitudes. To mange the burnout cycle, take time to reflect on why you once felt motivated in your role and how your work affects the total outcome.
Separate Work and Home Life
- In some organizations, employees are expected to be digitally-available on a constant basis. While this may give you a competitive edge at times, the inability to separate your home-life and work-life can be detrimental to your mental health and personal relationships. Practice setting boundaries on your relationship with work by “leaving it at the door”.
Start Your Day Right
- Working from home gives workers the ability to roll out of bed at 8:55am, open their work station, and begin the day in their pajamas by the time the workday starts. While this is tempting, studies show that productive mornings lead to productive days. Even at home, treating your workspace as an office will boast promising results to your accountability.
- Regardless of industry, position, or where you work from, every worker has tasks they prefer over others. Start your day with the tasks you enjoy to set the groundwork for a good day.
Communicate the Concern
- Proactively preventing the feelings that stem into burnout is the key to avoid developing it. Speak with Management about opportunities to deviate from your typical tasks. Not only will this expand your skill and knowledge sets, you’ll avoid the feelings of stagnation that become a hotbed for burnout.
- Despite sleep being directly correlated with mental health, the CDC estimates that 1 out of 3 American adults do not get enough sleep on a nightly basis. Ensuring adequate amounts of sleep can prevent depressive or anxious feelings felt throughout the day, while boosting your overall health and mood.
- Because many are expected to be digitally available at all times, work can feel inescapable. To proactively mitigate the feelings that lead to burnout, taking an occasional, brief break from work (PTO, not sick days!) has proven to alleviate the feelings that lead to burnout, and burnout altogether.