The top 8 signs you have burnout and how it's impacting your health
Burnout is the impact of too much stress over a long period. Working excessive overtime also increases the risk of burnout. The symptoms are irritability, fatigue, mood swings, and decreased work performance.
The psychological and physical problems associated with burned-out employees cost an estimated USD 125 to 190 billion a year in healthcare spending in the United States (Garton, 2017).
Burnout can include the following behaviors:
- Cynicism in the form of anger and criticism toward others
- The judgment of the administration, leadership, managers, colleagues, and family
- Detachment from others at work or in personal life
- Easily irritated or reactionary
- Lack of life and work satisfaction
- The feeling of ineffectiveness in what you do
- Unhealthy life choices such as alcohol abuse, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition
Chronic stress is one of the most common health issues in the workplace. Stress leads to physical consequences such as digestive troubles, hypertension, chronic aches and pains, and heart problems. Chronic stress negatively impacts mental health and is linked to a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
A recent survey of 3,000 employees in eight countries, including the United States, Britain, and Germany, found that nearly half thought they could efficiently finish their tasks in five hours a day if they weren’t interrupted. In reality, many workers work more than 40 hours a week, with the United States leading the way, where 49 percent of survey respondents worked overtime (World Economic Forum, 2016).
Technology has also introduced work creep by making it easier for work to creep into our leisure and family time. But employees are now starting to step back from a 24-hour digital life and becoming more aware of the mental health impacts of always being connected to work.
The harmful effects of stress
People react to stress in many different ways, but the ways stress can manifest are threefold, impacting on the mind, the body, and general wellbeing. Get to know your stress signals by looking for the symptoms listed below.
How stress affects you mentally:
- You might experience poor cognitive function.
- It can impact on your concentration and attention span.
- You might struggle to remember things.
- It can make you pessimistic.
- You might have difficulty making decisions.
How stress impacts you physically:
- You might feel fatigued.
- You might experience skin conditions.
- Your immunity can be lowered.
- You might sleep poorly.
- You could experience headaches.
- You might have an upset stomach.
- You could feel a muscle tension.
How stress affects your wellbeing:
- Stress lowers your mood.
- It creates anxiety.
- Stress can make you feel irritable.
- You can be quick to anger.
- You might feel impatient.
- You could feel nervous.
Health and stress
Stress impacts your health in the following ways:
- Stress can contribute to unwanted health conditions.
- Learning to manage stress better can help you live a happier, healthier, and longer life.
- Having a level of stress that you can manage helps you perform and keeps you motivated.
We all feel stress at one time or another. Many of us feel stress on an all too regular basis, and some even feel stress constantly.
Learning to manage stress better can help you live a happier, healthier, and longer life.
Causes of stress
What causes stress is different for everyone, but there are some common triggers. These include:
- too much work or study
- concern or uncertainty about the future
- worry about finances
- health concerns
- difficulty with personal relationships.
Other significant causes of stress may include:
- a death in the family
- going through divorce or separation
- attending family gatherings
- undergoing substantial changes to sleep, routine, and diet.
- falling pregnant
Why stress is inevitable
The reality is that all of us are exposed to some level of stress throughout our lives. Like death and taxes, stress is unavoidable.
Stress can be channeled in a healthy way
Having a level of stress that you can manage helps you perform and keeps you motivated. This is an optimal amount of stress.
Either too little or too much stress may be counterproductive. Too low stress leaves you unmotivated. Too much stress makes you feel overwhelmed, lowers your performance, and hinders your cognitive and emotional abilities.
Tips for managing stress
The next time you feel stressed, follow these five tips to help manage the feeling.
- Develop an understanding of how stress affects you physiologically and psychologically.
- Learn to recognize the symptoms of stress.
- Develop techniques for releasing stress, such as meditation or practicing mindfulness.
- Learn how to avoid or minimize the situations that cause you to stress.
- Understand what your personal triggers are.
Stress and burnout can be overcome, and there are many effective strategies for managing and reducing your level of stress. I'll dig deeper into this topic in future posts.