If you’ve ever felt overworked, underappreciated, bored, and overwhelmed at work, then you may be flirting with burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion “ it’s more than a need for that grande latte in the morning. When you’re constantly stressed out at work, you’re a lot less productive and it could even lead to health issues. If this sounds like something you’re experiencing at your job, you’re not alone!
A Science Daily report surveyed 409 employees and found three main risk factors that can lead to burnout.
The number one culprit? Logging too many hours at your job. Not surprisingly, when you’re constantly coming in early and leaving late, without vacation, stress is an obvious consequence. The study (as featured on the Cosmopolitan website) found that working over 40 hours a week makes you six times more likely to develop burnout.
But it’s not just those workaholics that experience burnout. Another risk factor is working on tedious assignments. Ever felt like all you do is stuff envelopes at work? Or maybe you feel like a 24/7 intern, with no room for development? When you’re unchallenged at your job, burnout is a definite possibility.
Finally, the third risk factor in the study is the number of years at your job. You may not necessarily encounter this particular factor for a while, but the study found that workers who’ve been at their job for 16 years or longer are five times more likely to experience burnout. This is compared to workers who’ve been on the job for less than four years. The reason for this one? Think about it this way: if you’re at a job for a really long time, your efforts may eventually go unnoticed or unrecognized, so it can often lead to feeling like you’re being taken advantage of.
If any of these three factors have popped up in your career world, don’t jump the gun and go out and quit just yet. Burnout happens to everyone from time to time, but to ensure it’s not a case of chronic burnout, here are some helpful tips to follow:
¢ Start the day with a relaxing ritual: start your day off right with a great breakfast. Give yourself a little bit of time to enjoy being at home before you head off to work. When you start the day off with a little time to yourself, the rest of the day can go a lot more smoothly.
¢ Adopt health eating, exercising, and sleeping habits: this isn’t just for losing weight “ when you eat, exercise and sleep properly, you’re giving yourself the energy you so desperately need at work.
¢ Set boundaries: don’t overload your work pile. If you’re asked to take on a project that you can’t handle, ask for help, or simply say no thank you. A simple and clear explanation that you’d love to take it on, but need to focus on other tasks already assigned is a perfectly good way to let your boss know that they can still count on you, but your efforts are needed elsewhere first.
¢ Take a daily break from technology: get up and walk around at work. Need to call a co-worker? Walk down to their desk instead. Sure it’ll take you an extra 5 seconds, but that break away from your computer screen or telephone can go a long way.
¢ If you don’t ask, you won’t receive: if you’re feeling unchallenged and you know that you can handle more, ask! There’s no harm in trying, so if you want to take on more responsibilities, have a meeting with your manager or boss, and let them know. If you feel useless at work, you might end up becoming a slow-poke or unproductive.
¢ Stay creative: if you’re not challenged at work, make sure your personal life is exciting. For example, make sure you continue to make time for your favourite activities and hobbies. Choose activities that have nothing to do with work, and look forward to those at the end of your work day.