Classic Burnout Symptoms
- You feel exhausted. Some people describe this as feeling worn out, depleted, or a loss of energy. Either way, your energy levels are not where they should be.
- Your attitude has shifted. If your attitude has become increasingly negative, cynical, or withdrawn this can be a huge sign of burnout. Sometimes this attitude shifts in client care, other times towards an organization, bosses, or with coworkers.
- You’re irritable. You seem to have a shorter fuse than you used to.
- You don’t feel productive. Either you feel your work is less valuable, you notice a decline in your productivity, or it just feels hard to cope with the day-to-day tasks on the job. The mundane becomes burdensome.
- Your coworkers are burnt out. Burnout, like other mental health phenomena, tends to be a cultural issue. When your coworkers are burnt out, your risk for burnout increases.
Causes of Burnout
Burnout has a variety of causes. The most common contributors to burnout include, too much workload with too few resources. Lack of control over your job tasks, or lack of ability to grow with your job. A lack of community or fairness in the workplace also contribute to burnout. Additionally if there is a values gap between you and the organization you work for there tends to be an increase in burnout.
Effects of Burnout
Burnout doesn’t just contribute to a poor work life, but poor health overall. People who experience burnout tend to demonstrate classic stress symptoms including chronic fatigue, headaches, GI issues, insomnia, and reduced immune functioning leading to an increase in illness. People who are experiencing burnout are also at greater risk for being hospitalized for cardiovascular disease. They also are more likely to develop mental health issues. Additionally people experiencing burnout are more likely to struggle in their relationships, and other areas of life.
Prevention and Treatment
You do have some control over your mindbody’s potential reactions to burnout. You can start by making sure you’re getting adequate self-care, this means making sure you’re getting adequate amounts of sleep, exercise, and eating healthy. Other means to manage burnout include practicing relaxation strategies, taking more breaks on the job, and exploring time-management alternatives. Additional strategies include getting social support from family, coworkers and friends, practicing mindfulness, and utilizing your own emotional coping skills. If you have the opportunity, take a vacation. We all need some time to change things up and recharge our batteries.
A lot of treatment for burnout can come at an organizational level as well. Changing work patterns, increasing community, trust, communication, support, creating more individual autonomy, and reducing the workload to resource ratio are all organizational ways to change burnout.