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This post is by Anthony Savage of Sparta Health

Burnout is a severe stress condition that can lead to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion (1). It can often develop into more serious mental health issues if left untreated. Plenty of people become overwhelmed at work, taking on too many jobs and growing bored of the daily grind. As the pressure builds, it increases symptoms such as feeling helpless, isolating yourself from others and an overall loss of motivation. In the workplace, burnout can not only negatively affect your job but also everyone around you. The morale in the room can significantly drop, which can cause high tensions and increase arguments between colleagues and management.

The workplace can often be negatively affected by burnout. There is an overall drop in productivity with a global burden costing in excess of $300 billion annually [2]. Due to these high numbers, it is surprising that companies don’t put more of an effort into supporting their staff and preventing these issues. However, a lot of people are still worried about admitting to their mental health issues, including burnout, which means they often go by untreated and continue to suffer in silence.

There can be a multitude of reasons as to why people experience burnout in the workplace. People with high expectations can be prone to this, due to the high level of commitment they put into their workday. Those that work long hours, with the goal of moving up in their company, are often discouraged when years pass and they are still waiting for their well-deserved promotion, leading to exhaustion and eventual cynicism [3]. Feeling unappreciated in your job can lead to an overall feeling of hopelessness and depression.

Another main reason why people are affected by burnout, can relate to the overall atmosphere at your workplace. If those in leadership roles aren’t encouraging high morale while pressuring staff to work hard and swiftly, it can quickly lower our mental state. Atmospheres like this not only encourage procrastination, but also a lack of respect for those in charge. Arguments are prone in these environments and can leave staff questioning if their job is safe, leading to stress relating to money and a major decline in mental health.

It isn’t just in the workplace that burnout can affect our lives. Research has found that job burnout and stress equate to lower job performances, problems with family relationships and poor health [4]. It is often those around you that notice something is wrong before you do and they can suffer from your change in mood and attitude without you realising.

People suffering from burnout often have too many thoughts in their head to think of what options are available to help them break through this tough time. Below are a list of options that can help alleviate and prevent burnout:

Talk to your colleagues

This may seem ridiculously simple but you’d be surprised how many of your colleagues will also be struggling with stress and burnout for similar reasons to you. Problems can often be resolved by altering the atmosphere within the workplace itself and hearing other people’s issues can be the first step towards a solution. Even if your colleagues aren’t dealing with burnout, opening up means there is someone in the office that understands your troubles. If you’re having an especially hard day they can assist you with your workload or just simply check up on you throughout the day so you aren’t feeling so isolated.

Take time for you

If you’re an overachiever or constantly overworking yourself then it might be wise to start putting time aside in your day to look after yourself. Something as simple as going for a walk, indulging in a long bath with a glass of wine after work or simply going to bed early can lift your spirits. It isn’t healthy to take all your work troubles home with you, so adding these little luxuries and moments to clear your mind might just make the world of difference to your mental health.

Ask for help

Sometimes it’s just as simple as admitting you need help and speaking up. This could be to your parents, your partner, your boss or even your doctor. Whether you’re seeking professional help or would just like a place to let out all your frustrations, it can only get easier when there is someone who knows what you’re going through and can help you get through it. The people around you might have no idea what you’re struggling with and by simply going to your boss and explaining what’s going on, it could revolutionise your working experience.

Set boundaries

If you often say yes to jobs and events you have no time for, it’s time to start putting your foot down and saying no. This doesn’t mean you’re missing out on opportunities, it just means that for the things you do agree to, you will have more energy to put into them. Forcing yourself to socialise and work late when all you want to do is have an early night can only worsen your mental health. Avoiding social media and not reading emails after certain times of the day erases another level of anxiety and gives you more time and freedom to do whatever you’d like. Worrying over what will happen tomorrow is just ruining the time you have free in that moment. Allow yourself to breathe and learn what you want to spend your time on.

Look for another job

If all else fails, maybe it’s time to find something else to focus on. Maybe you want to try something completely different and work in a new field to challenge yourself, or you could prefer a fresh start in what you’re good at, in a new and accepting environment. Sometimes it isn’t the workplace itself that’s bad; it could just not be the right place for you. Good workplace health is always something to strive for. You are never too old to try something new and sometimes taking that step and encouraging yourself to get out there is the best form of therapy you can get.

About Anthony Savage 

Anthony Savage is the Medical Services Manager at Sparta Health, having joined the team in 2017 and is responsible for the overall operational delivery of our high quality services to our clients. He has a solid background in workplace physiology, health and safety, as well over 12 years of delivering, and holding senior management positions, for leading injury and condition management providers.

He is known for his innovative approach in his design and execution of services and his ability to build enduring relationships.

References:

  1. Fraga, J. A Guide to Burnout. 2019 May 18 [cited 2020 Sept 14]; Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/tips-for-identifying-and-preventing-burnout
  2. Bretland RJ, Thorsteinsson EB. Reducing workplace burnout: The relative benefits of cardiovascular and resistance exercise. PeerJ. 2015 Apr.
  3. Maslach C, Schaufeli WB, Leiter MP. Job burnout. Annual review of psychology. 2001 Feb.
  4. Maslach C, Leiter MP. Burnout. Stress and Quality of Working Life: Current Perspectives in Occupational Health. 2006 Mar.

 

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