How to prevent job burnout

If your job feels like a never-ending to-do list, you could be approaching burnout.

By Donna Fleming
We spend a large chunk of our time at work, so the last thing we want is to suffer from job burnout. This particular type of stress can lead to a host of health problems if it gets out of hand.
You could be suffering from job burnout if:
  • You feel as if you have to drag yourself to work every day
  • Your usual high standards have dropped
  • You are disillusioned about your work
  • You get easily irritated or impatient with colleagues, customers or clients
  • You struggle to be productive
  • You get little or no satisfaction from your achievements
  • Your sleep habits or appetite have changed
  • You use food, drugs or alcohol to help you feel better
  • You suffer from unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical complaints.
Job burnout can be caused by many things, including boredom, a dysfunctional workplace and lack of support.
Job burnout could be due to:
  • Having too much on your plate. Stress caused by being overloaded is one of the major causes of burnout
  • Having too little to do
  • Boredom and feeling as if you should be achieving much more can also cause stress
  • Feeling that you have a lack of control when it comes to making decisions to do with your work
  • A dysfunctional workplace. Issues with your colleagues or boss can leave you feeling undermined or unappreciated
  • Not being suited to your role. You may find yourself having to go against your values or act in ways that are contrary to your normal behaviour
  • Lack of support. If you feel isolated at work, you’re going to find the job harder
  • Out-of-whack work/life balance. You can burn out quickly if work takes up so much time you don’t have a personal life.
You’re more likely to experience job burnout if:
  • Your work is so important to you that you don’t have a work/life balance
  • You worry about letting people down
  • You work in a helping profession like healthcare, counselling or teaching
  • You feel you have little or no control over your work
  • Your job is monotonous
  • You have more work than you can cope with.
Left unaddressed job related stress can lead to insomnia, depression and even alcohol or substance abuse.
If you don’t get help, job burnout can lead to:
  • Excessive stress
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Weakened immune system.
The best ways to avoid or treat job burnout include:
  • Dealing with whatever is making you stressed. Write a list of everything that is troubling you and then go through it, working out what you can do to change your situation. You may be able to eliminate some of the things that are stressing you, but there may be others you have to learn to live with
  • Seek support. Talk to your boss, colleagues, human resources team or friends about what you’re going through
  • Changing your attitude. Approaching your job with a different mind-set can make a huge difference. Focus on the parts of the job you really enjoy, and don’t dwell on the others. If work is your be-all and end-all, find other interests outside of your job
  • Becoming friends with your colleagues. Having someone to talk to, or who can make you smile when the going gets tough, can make a stressful work situation easier to handle
  • Taking regular breaks. Get outside to make the most of any sunshine or, even if it is cloudy, natural light
  • Eating well and exercising regularly. Stress is less likely to take a toll on you if you are lacking crucial nutrients, and exercising helps to ease stress
  • Having a good laugh. It will ease your stress response and release feel-good endorphins
  • Take a holiday. A rest can be as good as a change. You can come back feeling refreshed and better able to cope.
Want to read more health articles? Take a look at this essential men's health checklist here.
Images: Paul Suesse/ bauersyndication.com.au, Rob Shaw/ bauersyndication.com.au.

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