Most people are under the mistaken impression that workplace burnout is a natural part of the work/life relationship. They feel it’s normal to be stressed out and overextended on a regular basis. In fact, a nationwide survey looking at American society’s behaviors and attitudes noted that half of the respondents were always tired because of being overworked.
20 years ago, it was just 18 percent; now 50% of workers are reaching workplace burnout.
One of the leading areas for burnout is in the field of Technology. The people who are feeling the burnout the greatest are mid-executive women. In researching why, I interviewed Joanne Victoria. Joanne Victoria is The I Know What Works Coach. She is also the author of 7 books including Lighting Your Path – How To Create the Life You Want and Pushy For a Moment-Instant Solutions to Everyday Challenges.
According to Victoria, it would appear that most female technology executives see the attainment of harmony in the work/life relationship as nearly impossible. Nearly, but not totally, impossible.
For example, in the past, Victoria says the word “burnout” only applied to people in certain fields – police officers, firefighters, social workers, paramedics and healthcare workers. Today, the term has been expanded and now encompasses most occupations especially those that are hyperactive, connected and overcompensate for whatever reason.
Victoria adds that occasional burnouts are normal – everybody feels burned out by their job. A writer may feel burned out with writing articles after they’ve been doing it for hours upon hours with no substantial break.
However, according to multiple psychologists, experts and organizations, occupational burnout is more than taking a vacation or going on a retreat to refresh one’s mind and body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that long-term, unresolved workforce burnout isn’t just a symptom of a larger problem.
“It’s a major health problem.” Victoria says.
The CDC reports that people are not physically and emotionally designed to stay constantly stressed out. People have succumbed to the notion that always moving means being productive but it’s a dangerous fallacy. It’s not easy to recognize signs of a burnout, which many see as a failure of doing everything. It’s not a failure; it’s a chronic disease.
What Are The Common Workplace Burnout Signs To Keep Your Eyes Out For?
Joanne Victoria instructs that when people are stressed out there are symptoms that are easy to observe. The symptoms include:
- They may become easily angry or violent toward their loved ones and co-workers.
- They may not have the appetite to eat or may overeat.
- They may not have any motivation to do the things they used to do.
She warns that constantly being stressed out is hard on the body – not just physically, but emotionally too. Therefore, what are the workplace burnout signs you need to be mindful of?
- You’re constantly feeling sick or drained of energy, nausea or even fighting a cold-like sickness.
- Your boss or colleagues don’t appreciate your efforts, or you feel withdrawn.
- You’re constantly calling into work.
For example, people who are overworked at work will frequently call in sick, or not pay careful attention to their job. They have a lot of problems seeing eye-to-eye with co-workers and may even exhibit aggressive tendencies toward them.
The bottom line is that work-related burnout could affect a person physically. It also can hinder employees from doing their jobs effectively.
“The real problem stems from the stigma tied to workplace burnout,” say Joanne Victoria. She adds, “Anybody who complains they’re burned out from their job is deemed as being weak and unable to hack it. Since America is bad about glorifying stress and anxiety, people tend to stay silent and do the job despite the stress they face. They don’t want to be seen as less than the best.”
What Are The Typical Work-Related Stressors?
- Unable to understand a new process, software or a change in the workplace setting
- Impractical deadlines
- Random schedules
- Constant scheduling conflicts
- Continuous physical demands such as heavy lifting
- Constant exposure to outside elements
- Adding more to one’s duties that go beyond the role and no compensation for added responsibilities
- Personal demands (interactions with customers, management or co-workers)
How You Can Recover From A Workplace Burnout?
Joanne Victoria challenges her coaching clients to answer the following question. Do you see any of the above symptoms in yourself? If so, then you’ll be glad to know that you don’t have to “get away” to alleviate the work burnout symptoms. According to Victoria, if you can take some time away, then do it. However, if it’s just not possible, consider the following:
- Focus On Your Breathing – By focusing on your breathing, you allow the parasympathetic nervous system to relax. This will help to decrease your stress level and better manage your stress.
- Set Boundaries – When it comes to your work and home life, it’s okay to have boundaries. There’s no reason to bring your home with you and your home with you to work. Sometimes, it’s okay to have two distinct lives that don’t overlap.
- Take Breaks Often – It’s good to take five-minute breaks every 20 to 30 minutes to clear your head, especially if you’re focused on one particular task.
- Ergonomic Setting– Create an ergonomic setting that includes a sit/stand atmosphere with your desk and chair. You can also add plants to the room to create a relaxing ambiance.
- Work Mentor – Sometimes, the best thing you can do is have a work confidant – someone you can bounce ideas off of or who will let you vent when you have a problem.
- Non-Work-Related Hobby – Participate in some kind of after-work hobby that allows you to de-stress and think about something other than work. For example, you can sign up for a gym membership and exercise. You don’t have to lift weights; just walking on the treadmill or doing the elliptical can be enough to relax your body.
According to Victoria, another way to reduce your work stress is to work remotely. Getting out of the office and working somewhere quiet for a time will often spark your creativity. You could also spend time outdoors, enjoying nature.
Or, you could break away from it altogether and just spend some quality time with someone. This is the most effective treatment for burnout.
Your health and well-being are important to connect with others in a positive way. You want a social network that you can depend on – people who will be there for you as you will be for them. If you feel burnt out from work, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and free yourself from the shackles. Do something good for yourself then focus on the work.
Back to you- have you ever reached on the job burnout? What methods do you use to come back or avoid burnout? These are great questions to take into the New Year.
By Dianne Crampton, Founder TIGERS Success Series, Inc.
About TIGERS Success Series, Inc.
We specialize in training your managers in group facilitation methods that build workforce cooperation and high performance team dynamics. Scaled to grow as your organization and leadership performance grows, our proprietary Team Behavior Profile and Management training workshops are based on the six principles we have found to be the right mix to make this happen.
The TIGERS 6 Principles are Trust, Interdependence, Genuineness, Empathy, Risk and Success. Born from our many years of business, psychology, and educational group dynamic research, and subsequent four years of independent evaluation, we instill and sustain behaviors that improve work group performance and talent retention for measurable ROI.
TIGERS serves committed leaders who desire enhanced cooperation among departments, teams, managers and individual employees. This heightened level of cooperation leads to improved revenue, purpose, commitment and impact. Employees quit companies because they don’t get along with leaders and co-workers. Work culture refinement and behaviors that build strong relationships erase this trend in fully measurable ways.
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