June 6, 2008
Understanding Workplace Burnout
Hello on a beautiful Friday, and thank you for reading the Self Help Tips Blog!
Today I would like to discuss a very serious issue for many of us living in a fast-paced society.
It used to be called "a mid-life crisis" – and haven’t all of us joked about it – a turmoil and discomfort that literally turns life upside down.
Nowadays this syndrome is being recognized as “workplace burnout”, and it is becoming more widespread and affecting men and women alike throughout the entire workforce. Workplace burnout has been pinned as the main cause of reduced morale and absenteeism.
Who is affected?
You may be experiencing the symptoms of workplace burnout even if you are as young as 30 years of age, though most people affected are in their early 40’s.
Some people experience a sudden grief and loss, while others perceive that something is changing but it may take several years to manifest.
Are you feeling a lack of personal achievement and satisfaction at work? This is one of the early warning signs. Is going to work a time-consuming drudgery, and work itself a day-long bore? Do frustration levels increase exponentially as you grapple with life issues which could show that you are not in control? If so, you’re not alone. You’re on the downhill slide to workplace burnout.
Don’t expect your spouse or boss to understand what you are going through, as workplace burnout is extremely personal in nature – you’re having the crisis, not them! You may be led to blame your spouse or boss for the way you’re feeling, as they seem to be the closest source of your pain and angst.
However, if your condition is true workplace burnout then you will need help to shift your perceptions into a more realistic balance.
There are emotional and physical symptoms associated with what you are going through.
The emotional symptoms usually show up as the first sign that you are burnt out. You may often feel an unrelenting stress, lack enthusiasm, have a sense of loss of control as well as experience an unexplainable grief.
You may want to blame those around you for the way you feel, but this rarely resolves the inner turmoil that you are experiencing.
Workplace burnout often results in a loss of productivity and creativity. It also fuels negativity and cynicism, with a quickness to get angry and blame others. Over time you may find solace in detaching yourself from others, however this rarely resolves the issue.
Workplace burnout also affects your body. The feeling of “never being able to do enough” may drive you to work extensively long hours in an effort to catch up.
You may be losing sleep over your sense of failure to achieve anything meaningful, which in turn leads to physical exhaustion.
Physical exhaustion may take the form of headaches, physical shaking from head to foot, an inability to think clearly and being unable to relax.
Physical exhaustion also causes you to lose your natural communication ability, so communication between your spouse and children, your boss or co-workers may sometimes become explosive.
There is also the possibility of experiencing gastrointestinal problems as your body is unable to cope with extensively long hours of work.
Is there a solution?
People experiencing workplace burnout need to take time out of their busy lives to confront the underlying issues that are causing them stress. There is no easy fix, and the solution that you arrive at is most likely going to place you on a different life course than the one you have been traveling.
One method of finding the root cause of your uneasiness is to use a notepad and start writing out your thoughts. The thoughts, impressions and images that are filling your mind can be captured and you will be able to identify a pattern, which in turn you may be able to address.
A further use of your notepad is to go into a deeper realm of writing to discover the thoughts and impressions that are flooding your spirit. In a quiet environment, spend at least one hour with your eyes closed and write down the thoughts that come to you. As you perform this activity, your thoughts should change from first person to third person as your focus shifts from your head to your inner being. It’s as if you can hear someone else talking to you and giving you direction and counsel.
A visit to your local General Practitioner may also help you cope with the effects on your body due to workplace burnout. Prescription medication may be given to assist you to relax and get your body rested again, while you sort through the underlying issues. You may be prescribed relaxants or sleeping aides. You may also be referred to a gastroenterologist if the need exists.
Finally, the most efficient way of resolving workplace burnout is to rely on the services of a professional counselor. A trained counselor can travel this journey with you. Their assistance can help make the hard decisions become easy as you work through the process of resolving the cause of your workplace burnout, so that you can be on track for a happy and healthy life once again.