09/28/2017 9:02 pm
Recognizing and Responding to Burnout
In today's modern work environment, burnout impacts far too many employees. Achieving a healthy work-life relationship can be difficult. Being tired, ambivalent, stressed, cynical, and overextended has, unfortunately, become an all too common experience in the workplace. The General Social Survey of 2016, a nationwide survey that since 1972 has tracked the attitudes and behaviors of American society, found that 50 percent of respondents are consistently exhausted because of work, compared with 18 percent two decades ago.
According to a study by Dr. Christina Maslach of UC Berkeley, common signs of burnout to watch for include:
- Feeling emotionally drained and mentally unwell. Nausea. Inability to sleep or constantly fighting sicknesses like head colds.
- Feeling alienated by your colleagues and bosses, feeling constantly underappreciated, or feeling ostracized by them.
- Feeling you are not personally achieving your best, or that you are regularly "phoning it in"
Ways to Combat Burnout at Work
If you're suffering from burnout at work, or if any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, there are a few things you can do now (in addition to planning to take some time off for self-care):
- Focused breathing, which can tap into your parasympathetic nervous system to help you reduce or manage stress
- Frequent breaks, preferably five-minute breaks for every 30 minutes spent on a single task, or sitting at your desk.
- Ergonomic chairs and desks, like a sit-stand arrangement, or even a small plant in your office space.
- A trusted mentor at work with whom you can discuss and strategize other ways to deal with work-related issues.
- A hobby outside of work through which you can decompress, de-stress and disconnect from work. It doesn’t have to be anything specific, but regular exercise or another fitness activity works wonders here, and has benefits beyond stress relief.
- Expand your social supports. Look for healthy ways to engage with people, groups, and networks both in and outside of work.
Broadly speaking, Dr. Maslach said in her research, it is the human connection that's most effective at combating burnout. To read the full text of this article, click here