Do you have "secret" job burnout?
I remember the first time I felt burnout because I had no idea it was burnout. I just thought, "yea! I'm tired and yea this sucks, but this is work, suck it up." Then I looked up the definition of burnout—to summarize, it's a chronic work space dynamic causing more stress than usual over a long period of time.
I say "secret" because for me it was, but in most cases burnout is a slow burn over time that's hard to recognize instead of fire you feel immediately. It's like a pilates class when all of the sudden the burn hits, but you're barely moving. Compared to a kickboxing class where the fire starts when you put the gloves on. Ya know?
So how do you know if you have it if it's secret? Here are some questions and symptoms the Mayo Clinic lists to assess if you have burnout. You don't have to answer yes to all of these to have it either. Bolded are the ones I had answered yes to.
- Anxiety (Restlessness)
- Detachment (The biggest symptom for me, completely lacked any care. Not like me.)
- Mental exhaustion
- A negative spillover into home life
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Vulnerability to illnesses
- Excessive stress
- Have you become cynical or critical at work?
- Unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical complaints?
- Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
- Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
- Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
- Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
- Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
- Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
- Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
Did you answer yes to any of those questions or recognize any of those symptoms? If yes, don't fret. First, find the causes. Below are some of the leading causes according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Lack of control. An inability to influence decisions that affect your job — such as your schedule, assignments or workload — could lead to job burnout. So could a lack of the resources you need to do your work.
- Unclear job expectations. If you're unclear about the degree of authority you have or what your supervisor or others expect from you, you're not likely to feel comfortable at work.
- Dysfunctional workplace dynamics. Perhaps you work with an office bully, or you feel undermined by colleagues or your boss micromanages your work. This can contribute to job stress.
- Mismatch in values. If your values differ from the way your employer does business or handles grievances, the mismatch can eventually take a toll.
- Extremes of activity. When a job is monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to remain focused — which can lead to fatigue and job burnout.
- Lack of social support. If you feel isolated at work and in your personal life, you might feel more stressed.
- Work-life imbalance. If your work takes up so much of your time and effort that you don't have the energy to spend time with your family and friends, you might burn out quickly.
What to do:
If you've made it this far, I'm with you. Burnout can make you feel out of control, but below are some things that helped for me and some things Doctors prescribe. You can start taking control right here right now.
- Manage the stressors that contribute to job burnout. For me it was having some sort of control of my schedule. Having an absolute "must leave at this time" at least once a week. #BalletClass.
- Take control of your options. Discuss specific concerns with your supervisor. Establish expectations to reach compromises or solutions. This can seem daunting, but come to the conversation prepared and you will get out of it what you put in.
- Attitude adjustment. HARDER SAID THAN DONE I KNOW. Lunch walks can be helpful or just a mid-day matcha is all you need. Take a minute or 30 or 60 to reset.
- Talk to your people. Whether you reach out to co-workers, friends or loved ones...support and collaboration can help you cope with job stress and feelings of burnout.
- Make an honest assessment. You spend a lot of time at work, obviously, and if it's not matching your interests or core values it can get exhausting. If you're feeling burnout, make an honest assessment of your interests, skills and passions and whether you should consider an alternative job.
- Exercise!!! Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress. It can also help you get your mind off work and focus on something else. If you're in NY, I HIGHLY recommend The Class during burnout.
- SLEEP. And to add to this, start using the headspace app nightly. I really can't say it enough.
Lots of love!!!!