Signs of Burnout at work
All industries have busy periods, and at times even the most enjoyable jobs can be stressful. But when work gets too stressful, it can lead to burnout and become a significant issue. With the world health organization classing it as a syndrome ‘resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.’ While it isn’t currently considered a medical condition, research from the Journal of Applied Biobehavioral research shows burnout leads to problems for employees and employers alike, causing an increase in absenteeism, more accidents at work, and higher employee turnover. Long-term, it can also lead to substance abuse and depression. As mental health insurance claims are now as common as physical claims, at VouchForMe we take burnout seriously, so if you’re finding work too stressful, or think a colleague might be, here are the things to watch out for.
Being tired after a busy day is one thing, but if you’ve found your energy levels have dropped significantly, it could be an early sign of burnout. In the early stages of burnout, you might feel a lack of energy at work, and feel too tired to do anything else once you’re home. If you don’t deal with burnout, it can lead to chronic fatigue, where you’ll find yourself still going to work despite feeling completely depleted.
Unable to switch off from work
Burnout isn’t a new phenomenon, but it has become more widespread as companies become more connected and digital. With more people working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the line between home and work has become blurry. You might not be in the office, but if you’re constantly checking your work inbox, you’ll struggle to wind down. This stress can then affect your home life, so make sure you switch off each night.
Being exhausted and thinking about work too often can lead to problems with sleeping. This will make your exhaustion worse, increase the likelihood of accidents at work, and impact your performance.
Exhaustion, lack of interest, and enjoyment at work are bound to impact your work performance. Again it’ll start small, it might be that you’re struggling with a project or with one specific part of a job, but if the burnout continues to worsen, you may find you’re unable to do even the most basic tasks without making mistakes.
If burnout becomes too severe, it can manifest itself in mental health conditions. People struggling with burnout are more likely to develop anxiety, especially if they fear their job is at risk. Anxiety makes it harder to relax and can cause problems at home and work.
Work-related burnout can also lead to depression if untreated, where individuals may feel a complete disconnect with their job, lack of purpose, and feelings of guilt and worthlessness. If you feel that work is making you depressed or anxious, you should see a GP and seek help.
Remember, burnout can happen to anyone.
Hopefully, you’re not feeling any of these symptoms, and the occasional bout of workplace apathy is probably nothing to worry about, but do keep these symptoms in mind. Remember that they start mildly and gradually worsen, burnout can sneak up on you.
If you feel you might be in the early stages of burnout, take some time to assess what to do about it. Talk to your colleagues and line manager if you feel you’re comfortable, burnout isn’t the type of thing that you can just push on through until you’re better that’s a sure way to make things worse.
For next week’s blog, we’ll discuss burnout again, and show some strategies for avoiding it before it gets too bad. Click here to follow us, and stay in the loop.
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