Burnout is one of those road hazards in life that we often never see coming. We work long hours, take on extreme workloads and put enormous pressure on ourselves to excel, and (*surprise*) this makes us perfect candidates for burnout.
A recent Gallup study of roughly 7,500 full-time employees reported that “23 percent of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes.”
What makes it worse? Most of us don’t use vacation days, so we’re not even taking the earned time we need to recharge and recoup.
And this was before a global pandemic.
In some cases, burnout from work-related stress can be alleviated by merely working fewer hours, taking regular days off or going on vacay. (In short, you can conquer this issue.)
While there’s no set medical definition of burnout, it’s typically characterized by exhaustion, cynicism, listlessness and an inability to do simple tasks. It’s worth noting that depression can also be a cause of burnout (and burnout can cause distress). But depression is a separate medical issue and one to talk about with a physician if symptoms persist.
Here’s what else you should look out for:
Research into work-related burnout has shown that fatigue—feeling extremely tired, unmotivated and emotionally swamped—is common in overworked employees. If work-life has you stressed, it can be hard to unwind once you are home.
You’re Sick A Lot
Studies show that working too much can lead to serious long-term health risks, including high blood pressure or diabetes. You also might catch every virus that comes your way, not a good trait right now.
Read: A Healing Garden
When overtime becomes all the time, you are not productive. This is partly why we’ve been reading about six-hour days or four-day work weeks. Sometimes less really is more.
You Make Mistakes
When we are burnt out, it’s hard to perform our usual tasks, such as making judgment calls in business, reading and interacting with people. It also becomes hard to manage our emotional reactions to things that stress us.
What To Do About This
- Work less. Seriously, take a day off every once in a while.
- Check in with yourself daily, particularly during this difficult year. Set aside time for a stress break in your day.
- Create small goals to give yourself something to look forward to.
- Relaxing is key to getting a good night’s sleep. Light a candle, use some essential oils or take a bubble bath. Do whatever it takes to get some proper zzz’s at night.
- Make a space to unwind in your home.
- Stretch your body, move around, and of course, wash your hands.