Today’s workplace culture glamorizes overwork and hustle. It glosses over the important points such as work-life balance, rest, relaxation, and destressing. The workplace is a prime source of stress. Do you think your overbearing mother-in-law is stressful? Try working in a retail store during the holidays. With online shopping in full blast because of the coronavirus pandemic, retail workers are working double hard to get parcels out for delivery. What more, the fact that businesses have laid off workers left those still working to prove themselves to their employers.
It is under these circumstances that a lot of people find themselves burnout. The World Health Organization (WHO) categorized burnout as a medical diagnosis. The organization said that it is a symptom caused by chronic workplace stress. In the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases, burnout is under “problems associated with employment or unemployment.”
Many people find themselves in a mental health clinic seeking help for this feeling. How can one prevent burnout when they need to work? Is it true that people feel this level of stress? Isn’t it just plain exhaustion that a relaxing weekend can cure?
Symptoms of Burnout
Under medical terms, burnout is when you feel exhausted, hate your job or questions its importance, and become less productive at work. It’s not just stress from work that aggravates burnout. Your lifestyle and personality traits may add to the symptoms of burnout. For example, young parents who have a three-month-old at home who wakes up at 3 AM are more likely to feel exhausted at work. People who are perfectionists and pessimists also have increased feelings of burnout.
It also has physical manifestations. Burnout does not only affect you mentally. You’ll start to get headaches most of the time, as well as stomachaches and intestinal issues. Stress from work can also lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Exhaustion and physical symptoms are not the most challenging signs of burnout. It is also often associated with depression. They share some of the characteristics as well—negative feelings, cynicism, pessimism, indifference, and feelings of hopelessness. When you start to feel these things, reach out to a friend, or ask for professional help.
Can you ever prevent burnout? Workplace stress is ubiquitous. Even now when people are working from home, work is still stressful. It may even be more so now because, on top of everything else you have to do at work, you also need to fix the household and take care of your family.
A meeting with your human resource department may be in order. Talking to someone about the stressors in the workplace can be the solution to your work problem. If they are invested in creating a healthy work environment, this should not even be an issue for them.
In some cases, you may have to change position or find a new job altogether. It will also help if you can create clear goals and guidelines on how you can manage feeling burnout. For example, eating healthily, exercising daily, and getting plenty of sleep will reduce the impact of highly stressful jobs.
Impact on Your Family and Relationships
Burnout and exhaustion can lead to you snapping at your three-year-old kid for no apparent reason. The feeling puts you on edge. On top of feeling burnout, you’ll also feel guilty for acting that way to your own family. Instead of enjoying your family life, it’ll become more of a hassle because you are worried about something at work.
You won’t have time for socialization also. While your friends continue with the tradition of meeting every Saturday evening, you won’t even have time or energy for that because you are too exhausted. You will lose these important bonding moments with your family and friends all because you weren’t aware enough that work stress can lead to a medical condition.
When to Seek Professional Help
It is important to know when you need to seek help. Once you feel like you want to hurt yourself, call a friend and ask for help in making an appointment with a counselor. It’s one thing to feel harassed, tired, exhausted, and burnout. It is another thing for these feelings to lead you to want to hurt yourself. Please seek help when you’re at this point.
It should not take a physical and mental problem to make you realize you have to slow down. This society glamorizes hustle and overworking. Stop falling for that trap. Learn when to stop taking on more responsibilities than you can carry.