Job-related stress is a fact of life for many adults in the United States. When that stress continues to build, it can lead to burnout. Many factors can create the kind of stress that leads to burnout, so it’s important to know what they are, how to recognize them and what to do about burnout when you’re facing it.
What Can Lead to Burnout at Work?
Jobs can be stressful and overwhelming at times, but they shouldn’t always be. Working in a stressful environment for a long period of time can lead to physical and emotional burnout.
Knowing what to look for at work is the first step to avoiding burnout, so here’s what you should be looking for:
- Reduced sense of control –Having little or no sense of control over your work can lead to feeling undervalued, which in turn leads to increased stress.
- Value disagreement – Value disagreements involve conflict between your personal values and the mission statement of your company, and working in that sort of environment can lead to shame about your job.
- Lack of compensation – Many employees feel underpaid or undervalued. Companies expect their employees to do more with fewer resources, and this can create an environment where you feel as though you have to give everything and receive very little.
- Overwhelming work load – Work should keep you busy, but having so much work that you feel like you’re always behind isn’t healthy and can lead to longer hours or fretting about work during your personal time.
- Unbalanced setting – Companies that are secretive about motives or promote favoritism lead to lower morale, but companies that are fair and open about their policies encourage their employees to be positively engaged.
- Insufficient community – Work environments that foster in-fighting or rivalry can also lead to employee burnout. When you spend a great deal of time at work, it’s important to have conflict resolution measures in place to keep the environment friendly and healthy.
By themselves, these work situations don’t necessarily lead to burnout, but when they start adding up, employees become stressed and burnout is just around the corner.
Are You Getting Burned Out?
Burning out at work is accompanied by a number of symptoms. It’s important to recognize those symptoms in yourself before you reach complete burnout. These symptoms include:
- Overwhelming stress
- Sleep issues
- Negative impact on relationships
- Substance Abuse
- Health issues like heart disease, high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes or stroke
- Eating issues
- Higher regularity of illness
How Can You Avoid Burnout?
Once you recognize that burnout is a danger, it’s important to take steps to avoid it. Ignoring it isn’t going to reduce your stress, and it could make the eventual burnout even more devastating. Here are some suggestions for avoiding burnout:
- Be honest about your feelings toward work
- Assess your work environment and try to offer solutions
- Set aside time for yourself every day
- Find a support structure
- Be open to your personal needs and feelings
Being honest about work can be difficult, but when work becomes so much of a burden that it’s hard to get out of bed, then the time has come to make a change. Part of that change may be internal. You can attempt to look at your work and try to make recommendations to your employer about improvements, or you can look for aspects that excite you and try to shift into a job that fits those criteria.
Taking care of yourself is another important aspect of avoiding burnout. Every day, you should take a few moments to read, be creative, exercise or do some other activity that sets you outside of your stressful work environment.
Finding people who support you can also prevent burnout. Whether that be a spouse, friends or even co-workers, it’s important to be able to talk about your frustrations with work.
Work can be a stressful atmosphere, but consistent, overwhelming pressure will lead to burnout. Preventing burnout can help you be happy and healthy, both at work and in the rest of your life.