We’ve all been there, staring at our screens, and nothing is coming. No words, no action, just a complete mental blank. You’re exhausted, and every single thing at work is driving you insane. Melly over in accounting used to be cool, now, she annoys you, and for no real reason, it’s just…. because.
If this sounds familiar, you might be dealing with job burnout. If you’re wondering if being burned out is real or just something the parts guy at your auto shop always talks about, trust us, it’s very real.
No matter what industry you’re in – from working in a kitchen, cleaning bathrooms, or signing paychecks for a team of workers, burnout is a potential problem, everywhere. People are working long shifts, or consecutive days in a row, or never seeing the light at the end of their work tunnel.
If you’ve ever been at the verge of tears from frustration at the job, it’s probably not you, it’s probably the job.
There’s a lot of reasons for burnout, maybe the company is growing too fast and can’t scale, or you need to work a lot to pay off the monthly bills, but no matter what, you shouldn’t leave the job and still be buzzing with negative energy after you’ve clocked out.
Burnout isn’t a strict set of X things, but instead, manifests in a variety of ways: depression, anxiety, a feeling of reduced accomplishments, no personal identity – just one as a worker drone. The problem is so severe that the World Health Organization classified burnout as a clinical medical condition. The WHO labels it “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
What do the symptoms of job burnout look like?
- Unfettered cynicism at work
- Irritable attitude toward everyone job-related
- Dragging yourself in every morning under protest
- Lack of satisfaction from achievements
- Zero motivation
- Hard to concentrate
- Filling a void with food, drugs, or alcohol to not think about work
- Bad sleep habits
- Unexplained headaches, stomach problems, or other physical complaints usually related to anxiety or depression
Ignoring burnout can wreak havoc on your body. According to the Mayo Health Clinic, the most common burnout side effects are:
- Excessive stress
- Sadness, anger or irritability
- Alcohol or substance misuse
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Vulnerability to illnesses
What can you do? How can you fight burnout head-on? You need to look inward and take stock about what’s going on with your job. For a lot of people, the situations are strikingly similar:
There’s no communication
If you’re doing a good job, or a lousy job, whatever the case, people like to know where they stand. Lack of communication can make someone feel isolated and turn inward with their thoughts. Ask your boss how it’s going, what the future looks like, there’s needs to be open communication on all sides.
Who’s the boss?
Is there an office bully or is a boss making your life stressful with micromanagement? Add in a terrible schedule, and anyone would go insane.
What’s a break?
If you can’t plan around a work schedule, how can you have a life? People need to plan vacations, even if it’s just a quick getaway. People need “Me-Time” whether it’s buying groceries or wanting to take their girls to the park. This also works with inconsistent workloads, if you’re slammed one day and then dead, bosses may blame everyone but the business for the customer flow.
How can you come back?
Talk to the boss
Be transparent. Explain what’s going on and hope for a civil conversation. If the boss doesn’t treat you like a human, it’s probably time for a new job.
Seek out help
Talk to a professional. Mental health is coming to the forefront, and we’re better off for it. Culturally, we’re talking about what’s bothering us and moving forward, we need to continue to keep the conversation moving upward.
Relax and unplug
When you do get the rare chance to relax, do things you love. Try meditation, read a book, take a long walk, play guitar, paint, whatever outlet you can come up with to soothe your mind, invest in it as a means to de-stress. Stop answering messages late at night, don’t check your email every 15 minutes, and stop arguing about something via text. Leave the laptop in your bag, and set firm boundaries of when you’re not available.
Get some sleep
You need more than five hours of sleep. Burning the candle at both ends isn’t suitable for anyone. Get at least seven hours of rest and invest in your health instead of trying to squeeze that extra hour out of the day. Lack of sleep can negatively impact not only your job but your life. Every year, more and more studies are published, citing how important sleep is to overall well-being. Consistent sleep makes your brain sharper, but also makes life a lot easier.
Organize your life
If someone is feeling overwhelmed by the work they have to do, consider looking into making life move a little smoother for everyone. Look into the agile methodology, maybe starting organization tools, which can help prioritize how work gets done. If you’re an orderly person, this might be a significant piece to a personal puzzle.
If you liked this blog, check out the rest of the content on the Adia blog. There’s a little something for everyone.