Although Job Burnout is not a real medical diagnosis, it is a very real condition.
What is Job Burnout?
There are many definitions of Job Burnout, but at its core, it is simply a condition caused by work-related stress in which a person experiences mental, physical, and/or emotional exhaustion. In the state of “burnout,” it is almost impossible to focus or feel accomplished. There are typically other conditions such as depression, anxiety, and personal stress accompanying job burnout.
Symptoms of Burnout
Stress-related conditions can have a wide variety of symptoms and can be easily mistaken for other medical conditions, but some of the more common signs of burnout include:
- Lack of enthusiasm for your work
- Decreased energy
- Insomnia or increase in desire to sleep
- Loss of productivity
- Irritability with coworkers
- Difficulty concentrating
- Health conditions such as headaches or stomach issues
We move fast; in 2022, we move faster and expect things more quickly than before. Here on the east coast, I think our pace is even faster than other areas of the country. Due to our increased expectations, stress is more prevalent in the average American. Chronic stress causes physical symptoms that affect our immune system, and this is why you also see an increased emphasis on the importance of mental health.
I want to take a minute and talk about how experiencing burnout and stress can affect every aspect of our lives. It’s important to remember that hormones like adrenaline and cortisol flood our bodies when we feel stressed. These increased hormones cause emotional and physical conditions like increased blood pressure, muscle tightening, and more. This is why you feel on edge when experiencing stress.
When you experience burnout or everyday stress, it makes the simple tasks feel overwhelming, and the smallest things can push you over the edge. Everything feels tighter and insurmountable, and your focus is almost nonexistent. This is why you snap at the driver who didn’t use their blinker or yell at your kids while on the phone with your boss.
How Do You Prevent Burnout?
There is no surprise here; you can’t prevent burnout if you’re unable to change your mindset. Stress is inevitable but how we handle it is completely up to you. You can focus on finding a work-life balance, but you won’t recover from burnout until you establish a healthy way of dealing with the stress in your life.
Stress is a natural part of human nature. The first step in changing your mindset about stress is to realize that it will always exist in your life. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, how many hours you work a day, or what type of job you have.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at it this way: say you are a millionaire and have no reason to work. You have no worries over bills, no dependents to care for, and life is just smooth sailing. What happens when you are going to the airport and your private jet when a car accident has you deadlocked in traffic? That is stress, and since you have no other real stress in your life, you feel overwhelmed and completely out of control sitting in that car.
Maybe that example is too far-fetched for you. Let’s say you have a job that you love. You manage only to work 40 hours a week, and you can leave your work at work at the end of the day. You have a fantastic partner at home and two lovely kids. You have no real major issues regularly, but what happens when the hot water heater blows on the same day that your child has a recital and your partner’s car broke down, so they are currently stuck at the shop? That is stress.
Stress Happens. Get Over it
That sounds harsh, but the reality is that you have to focus on resolving the source of your tension and not become overwhelmed with the “feeling of stress” in general. You need to ask yourself three basic questions when you feel as though you are burnt out:
- What is the source of my stress?
- Can this be avoided altogether?
- Is there an adjustment I can make moving forward?
As an example, let’s say you are unhappy at your job, and as you ask yourself these three questions, you identify that one of the major sources of your frustration at work comes from a coworker not pulling their weight. You are constantly going in and fixing someone else’s work or picking up their slack. That can easily cause everything you do daily to be tainted with negativity and frustration.
Based on your position, you don’t have the power to terminate or move this person, so they cannot be avoided.
Now you are left with identifying adjustments that can be made moving forward. Have you expressed your frustrations and concerns with your superior regarding this coworker? Has this person been given the opportunity of receiving feedback regarding their poor performance? Have you personally tried to talk the situation out with your coworker and even offered to train them further to help your clients or your team better?
In this scenario, the best course of action may be removing this employee altogether, but that isn’t a choice you have the liberty of making. So you have to focus on the pieces that are within your control. Instead of feeling angry, try feeling empowered to help this person improve. If you are willing to help make them better, you will be solving your source of stress and reinvigorating yourself.
No Such Thing As Work-Life Balance
Balance is what we make of it. Time is one thing we can never have more of, so you have to decide how you’re going to use what you have. You can have the perfect job, but it isn’t going to protect you from everyday stress. You can have the perfect family but that isn’t going to keep you from having to deal with traffic or a broken water heater.
Find an Outlet
We can all agree that we can’t avoid stress, but to avoid burnout, you need to find a positive outlet for stress relief. There are many different hobbies and activities that you can use to relieve stress:
- Exercise & Nutrition
- Spending time with family and loved ones
- Arts & Crafts
When we give our body what it needs from us, we lower the levels of adrenaline and, more importantly, cortisol, which helps to balance out your mood and your ability to handle the everyday stressful situations of life. The types of stress we deal with depends on the individual, but the feeling is the same.
The more pressure you have in your life, the higher your tolerance ceiling. Make no mistake, the person with almost zero worries stuck in traffic on their way to their private jet feels the same type of anxiety and frustration that the person dealing with the hot water heater and recital feels. Hormones are hormones, and once they are triggered, it’s up to you how quickly you can mend them.
I think you can handle it.
Last modified: June 1, 2022