What is Job Burnout?

As the last quarter rolls around many people are beginning to feel that old discomfort; job burnout What is job burnout though? Those who have never experienced it may struggle to identify with the symptoms and consequences of burnout, but it really is a thing and more importantly, it can be managed. There are so many tell-tale signs and its time we learn what they are so that we are better able to take care of ourselves and those around us who may be experiencing similar symptoms.

The Symptoms of Job Burnout

When you Google job burnout you are faced with at least 100 results which offer little more explanation than the word exhaustion. Sure, we’ve all been tired after a long day; we’ve all had restless nights, we’ve worked through the night, sat up with sick children, maybe even stupidly partied all night and had to go to work the next day (zero sympathy for that one though). The thing with burnout is that its different. You feel like you can’t get enough sleep, even if you get a full eight hours you still wake up exhausted or you get into bed and just lie awake all night. When they say exhaustion, they mean it on a physical, mental and an emotional level. The problem is such that just that one word doesn’t seem to do justice to the feeling and nor does it prepare you for what comes with the feeling.

The Effects of Job Burnout

You’ll manage to shrug off the tiredness for a few days or maybe even for a week but eventually, something has to give. You may not notice the effects straight away but soon enough you dread going to work, you can no longer identify with your job, you feel less capable at work and worst of all you feel like giving up. For a lot of people, these feelings are especially uncharacteristic. Sure enough, not everyone has a job that they absolutely adore but for most people its only lightly peppered with bad days and all the rest are okay. When you’re facing job burnout you are unlikely to find the positives even in your dream role in your dream company.

Why Your Body is Reacting This Way

In the early 90s, the buzzword was stress. Stress begins to describe the origins of a burnout. As hunters and gatherers stress served humans pretty well, it was the result of the fear we experienced at the threat of being eaten by a tiger or something similar. Ideally, the fear and anxiety are supposed to abate once the tiger is no longer a threat. These days however our bodies often to hold onto the state of heightened stress and instead of breathing a sigh of relief, we are stuck in your primal fight or flight mode.

Burnout Accelerates Disease and Sickness

Studies have shown that the long-term effects of continued stress have a devastating albeit slow impact on our bodies. Those hard at the grindstone are often plagued by diabetes, cardiovascular disease, bone disease and suffer strokes. The hormones running through our bodies leave our cells inflamed and depleted which also lead to lower immunity. It’s really in our best interests to prevent continued stress before it turns into burnout.

There are so many tell-tale signs but often we don’t even notice them until it’s too late. Our best defence is to remain vigilant and to manage our stress effectively. Often easier said than done but if we recognise the causes of stress we can prevent a full burnout and maintain our health and happiness in the process.

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