What is workplace burnout? Mayo Clinic describes it as “a type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Workplace burnout is prevalent, especially in the U.S., where office culture is the norm, and Corporate America seems to dominate. A recent report from Indeed found that employee burnout is on the rise, with 52% of all workers reporting feelings of burnout, up +9% from a pre-COVID survey. It’s essential to be aware of workplace burnout to address it as it develops and work on ways to reverse it. Failure to do so can result in more severe mental and even physical health issues. Mayo Clinic has shared this list of questions to ask yourself if you think you may have fallen victim to workplace burnout:
• Have you become cynical or critical at work?
• Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
• Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers, or clients?
• Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
• Do you find it hard to concentrate?
• Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
• Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
• Are you using food, drugs, or alcohol to feel better or simply not feel?
• Have your sleep habits changed?
• Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be experiencing workplace burnout. Waiting too long to act against burnout can result in significant consequences such as excessive stress, fatigue, insomnia, sadness or irritability, alcohol or substance misuse, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and vulnerability to illnesses.
So how do we take action? What steps are necessary to deter any more burnout feelings and eliminate them? Reversing burnout takes time, dedication, and consistency. If you’re willing to put in these efforts, there is plenty of hope. Here are some things you can try to combat workplace burnout:
• Evaluate your options. Discuss specific concerns with your supervisor and communicate. Maybe you can work together to change expectations or reach compromises or solutions. Try to set goals for what must get done and what can wait.
• Seek support. Whether you reach out to co-workers, friends, or loved ones, support and collaboration might help you cope. If you have access to an employee assistance program, take advantage of relevant services.
• Try a relaxing activity. Explore programs that can help with stress, such as yoga or meditation.
• Get some exercise. Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress. It can also take your mind off work.
• Get some sleep. Sleep restores well-being and helps protect your health.
• Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of focusing on your breath flow and being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at every moment, without interpretation or judgment. This practice involves facing situations with openness and patience and without judgment.
Your job should not take precedence over your mental health. Your well-being should always come first, and it’s essential to find a work environment that understands and honors that. Check in with yourself and your supervisor, and don’t wait to address your burnout before it becomes a more significant problem.