Are you dreading going to work tomorrow? Do you spend your work hours dreaming about retirement instead of working on your assignments? You may be suffering from job burnout. Feelings such as doubts about the value of your contributions to your employer can lead a combination of physical, emotional, and mental symptoms that creates job burnout. Once more job burnout doesn’t just stay at work. When you are faced with this type of ambivalence day to day it trickles over into your relationships, and your physical health. Job burn out can contribute to emotional stress, relationship stressors, and mental health problems including depression and anxiety. Job burnout is also connected with health problems such as heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke and obesity. The good news is there are ways to address these job stressors, and regain feelings of satisfaction and contentment.
Is this job burnout I’m feeling?
Go through this checklist. If you answer yes to one or more of these questions you could be experiencing job burnout. If you are experiencing burnout you may want to speak to your health care provider. Sometimes these symptoms can be the sign of a physical or mental health issue that is contributing to your burnout.
Do you have feelings of dread the night before going to work?
Do you have trouble getting out of bed, and getting to work on time?
Do you suffer from insomnia or feel fatigued after a good night’s sleep?
Do you get sick more often than you used to?
Do you avoid contact with co-workers or supervisors?
Are your personal relationships stressed?
Do you procrastinate on important projects or miss deadlines?
Do you lack a sense of accomplishment from your successes?
Do you feel disheartened with your career choice?
Have you experienced an increase in alcohol or drug use?
Have you become overly negative and judgmental of co-workers?
Have your feelings effected your relationship with customers or clients?
Why am I burning out?
Many workplace challenges can lead to job burnout. Having a limited support system can make you feel isolated at work and in your personal life. Being faced with constantly changing directions with no clear communication from your team, or supervisors can lead to frustration and tension in the workplace. Lack of a sense of teamwork, community, or a clear line of chain of command are signs of a dysfunctional workplace environment, and can lead to frustration and lack of satisfaction in your employment. If you are diametrically opposed to the manner in-which your employer conducts business these opposing values can cause conflict with your employer and stress for you. If your job is not stimulating enough, isn’t in line with your interests or is too advanced for your skills these mismatched talents can become stressful. Whether your job is stagnant or chaotic, lack of clear and consistent momentum lack of direction can cause burnout. Finally, it is true. all work and no play does lead to workplace burnout. Lastly, if you lack clear boundaries between work and home, or spend inequitable time at the office the lack of work-life balance could be create feelings of job burnout.
I am burned out, what should I do?
Job burnout can happen to anyone at any time. There are steps you can take both in the office and at home to feel more relaxed and control of your life. Use journaling to keep track of things that are stressful in your life for a week. Identifying where the problems are at home and at work can help you come up with a plan to change them. Once you have identified your stressors communicate with your supervisor or supervisors about it. Maybe you’ve developed a new skill that isn’t being properly utilized, or there is too much on your plate. Make sure to bring suggestions on how you see the situation can be improved to the meeting. You can use the feedback from that meeting to evaluate your current situation. Is this the right job for you right now? Do you need to pursue sometime more rewarding, or less stressful? Do you need to go back to school or gain a certificate to move on to a more rewarding company or position? Make sure to remember to look on the bright side. All jobs have their challenges. Discounting the positive is a major contribution to workplace stress. Be a force for good, and acknowledge the hard work and positive contributions of people around you.
At home seek support through online professional groups, career mentors, friends and family. Professionals such as counselors and social workers can be accessed through an employee assistance program (EAP), or your regular insurance program. Sometimes it helps to have a trained neutral third party to talk to. Get out of the office and back into your life. Participating in activities such as exercise, art, meditation and simply spending time with others outside of the office can help reduce stress. Don’t forget to get some sleep. Lack of sleep creates its own set of health issues. Medical providers recommend 7-8 hours of sleep per night for optimal physical and mental health.
Sometimes all you need is a change of pace to help reduce stress and increase job satisfaction. At other times job burnout is a sign of a larger health problem which requires a medical or mental health practitioner’s help. Either way the important thing is to recognize when you are feeling burned out and take steps to get the help and support you need to start feeling more like yourself again.