• Tana Daughtrey

Burnout the blog

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

"Burnout is a cunning thief that robs the world of its best an its brightest by feeding on their energy, enthusiasm and passion, transforming these positive qualities into exhaustion, frustration, and disillusionment.”
- Sherrie Bourg Carter

It’s about 3 am. You wake up with what feels like a lead weight in your stomach. You’re wet with sweat, nervous, and stressed. You’re tired, restless, you can’t get back to sleep, and you haven’t slept well in weeks. How many of us have had an early morning awakening like the description above? How many of us can say it was related to work? Workplace stress and burnout are at epidemic levels worldwide.

Burnout is emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged and excessive stress. According to the Mayo Clinic burnout’s physical toll includes illnesses such as type2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, gastrointestinal disease, chronic fatigue, increased illness, and other physical ailments.

The emotional toll results in depression, anxiety, apathy, and increased irritability. The long-term emotional impacts from burnout permanently damage employees sapping their energy and leaving them feeling hopeless and cynical.

How is burnout defined? The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. Burnout happens to those who feel overworked and undervalued.

There are several situations that are at higher risk for burnout than others. High-risk situations include where:

  1. You have no control; you have no influence in the decisions that impact your job such as schedule, assignments, and workload.

  2. You are unclear about the degree of authority you have or what your supervisor expects of you.

  3. You have a dysfunctional work environment.

  4. You lack social support in your personal and/or work life, and

  5. There is a Work/Life Imbalance.

A person with a Work/Life Imbalance generally has the following personality traits that contribute to burnout. The people are generally perfectionists, pessimists, control freaks, and/or Type A personalities.

There are other personality types who may susceptible to burnout. Once such type is a person who spends their time trying to make everyone happy. In the workplace this can result in stress leading to burnout.

What do you do if you are exhibiting symptoms of burnout?

  • Turn to the people close to you. Talk to your partner, family, or close friends. Reach out and make some positive coworkers into friends.

  • Do not work while eating and turn off technology 2 hours prior to bedtime.

  • Do not bring work home.

  • Do not take on extra assignments.

  • Find things you enjoy doing outside of work.

  • Experiment with various stress management/relaxation techniques.

  • Take care of yourself by getting 8 hours of sleep per night, exercising regularly, and eating regular healthy meals.

  • Bring the positive into your life, avoid negative people, and practice gratitude.

All of these steps can help you decrease the stress, but ultimately, if these do not work you have to evaluate your work situation. Evaluating your options means looking at how you can make changes to decrease your stress, and if you can’t, then what’s next.

Stress in the workplace is a constant in our society. Work hours are long, and deadlines are real. Burnout, however, is not something to live with. For your long-term health, you must find a job you’re passionate about and where you feel comfortable.

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© 2018 by Tana Daughtrey.