Work Stress & Job Burnout

Recent economic downturns have left many workers feeling frazzled and burned out.

Recent economic downturns have left many workers feeling frazzled and burned out.

That mental fog and overall achiness that you feel when you go to work has a name: job burnout. Work stress and job burnout often coincide with overwhelming workloads, shrinking staffing levels and a sense of having no control over your workplace environment. Recent economic slumps have forced many workers to concede that they’re happy just to have a paycheck, even though they feel the battle fatigue from working longer hours, reports "USA Today."

Indicators

Unexplained headaches, stomach troubles and sleeplessness can be signs that you're on stress overload at work. Some of the mental red flags of job burnout include low concentration, impatience with co-workers and customers, and a failure to feel any sense of accomplishment. When your bad days turn into unhappy weeks followed by miserable months, job fatigue most likely is the root cause, MayoClinic.com warns. It suggests speaking with a health care professional about your physical symptoms to ensure they're not indications of an unrelated illness such as diabetes or a thyroid disorder.

Root Causes

Several factors can drain your sanity at work, leaving you unmotivated, cynical and weary. You may have little influence over your schedule or your assignments, or your boss might forget to show appreciation when you work extra hours. Conflicting personalities at work -- including the micro-manager and the office intimidator -- also take their toll on worker psyches. Additionally, your company's values might clash with your own. Sometimes an overall sense of malaise can be a forewarning that your skills are not a good fit for your current job.

Recovery Strategies

Taking a break from the daily grind can help you rebound from work stress. Even if you face pressing deadlines, several days of vacation will leave you feeling more relaxed and productive when you return to work. If you can't take time off, consider working one or two weeks without putting in any overtime. A regular 40-hour work week can feel therapeutic. Try taking a brief walk during your lunch hour so you get a quick mental break and learn to delegate or use better time management practices.

Future Insights

When job stress becomes prolonged, short-term techniques might not be enough to combat a deepening feeling of despair. A long-range approach could mean a job search or a complete career overhaul. A change in scenery and renewed passion can be invigorating, but many can't afford a new start, especially if finding a different employer means a smaller paycheck or reduced benefits. You can also stick with your current job, but adjust your attitude. Stop trying to be super human and admit that it's unhealthy to cram 80 hours of work into a 40-hour work week.

 

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