Job and career burnout comes on gradually as a reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress that results in exhaustion, cynicism, and a feeling of less professional competency. There are several online quizzes that can provide a reasonable assessment of your own possible burnout (Psychology Today, Oprah, Mind Tools). While taking them, they ask questions that look for some of the most common signs of burnout:
- Alienation from work-related activities is common. Feeling as if work is stressful and frustrating no matter what you do. Feeling cynical and emotionally distant from and about the people you work with. Or feeling numb about your work.
- Physical symptoms may include headaches, stomachaches, intestinal issues, tics, chest pain, dizziness, fainting and/or sore muscles. This is just a short list of ways are body may be telling us that their is a problem.
- Emotional exhaustion can show up as feelings of being drained, unable to cope, or too tired to handle anything at work or at home.
- Concentration and creativity are often negatively affected. Feeling negative about work translates to becoming sloppy, missing details, and not being interested in coming up with new ideas.
According to a 2018 report by Gallup, employee burnout has five main causes:
- Unfair treatment at work
- Unmanageable workload
- Lack of role clarity
- Lack of communication and support from manager
- Unreasonable time pressure
To start taking back control of your mood and your motivation for work, some changes need to happen. Starting with areas that you may be able to control in your current environment is a great first step such as approaching your HR department, talking to a supervisor about the issues, or even looking for a new job. Next, developing clear strategies to help you manage your stress will improve your current burn out and help prevent further stress related problems. While any self-care plan has to reflect a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep to reduce stress, don’t be afraid to make sure this plan works for you and isn’t another source of stress. Vacations are critical but they won’t cure your burnout. Start planning to use your vacation time more systematically with regularly scheduled breaks during the day and during the year.
If you are experiencing burnout and you’re having difficulty finding the creativity you need to build a happier and more satisfying life, please reach out to us for help and support or another healthcare provider.