Health & Wellness

What Is Burnout and What Can You Do About It?

November 14, 2019 By

Over the past several years, “burnout” has popularized as a term to describe the feeling of being overworked and over-stressed. The phenomenon can have damaging effects on your mental and physical health.

When someone reports feeling “burnt out,” they may experience:

  • Mental fatigue
  • Frustration with colleagues or working conditions
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Frequent experiences of “zoning out” during the workday
  • Reduction in creativity
  • Increases in anxiety

These burdens on your mental health can easily translate to symptoms in your physical health, such as:

  • Physical exhaustion
  • Recurring illnesses and/or delayed recovery
  • Worsening in existing health conditions

If you’re experiencing burnout, you’re not alone. Approximately 3 in 4 employees worldwide report experiencing at least some degree of burnout at work.

Top 3 Reasons Employees Give for Feeling Burnt Out:

  • Unreasonable workload
  • Not enough time in the day to get the job done
  • Conflicts with co-workers

Feelings of burnout often coincide with long work hours. The US has the highest rates of overtime, with nearly half (49%) of employees working more than 40 hours each week. Ironically, there is a lot of evidence that working too much actually lowers the quality of your work.

Thankfully as we approach a new decade, the days of glorifying busy-ness seem to be fading (at least somewhat). A healthy work-life balance is becoming a priority of both businesses and employees. Some influential companies are even making major structural changes to reduce burn out and improve productivity.

For example, Microsoft recently experimented with a 4-day workweek. It was an overwhelming success. Labor productivity spiked 40%, indicating the valid connection between healthy work-life balance and quality of work.

When employees are offered more flexibility, it opens up time to innovate, learn new skills, collaborate and build stronger workplace relationships. Additionally, more time to rest causes employees to take fewer sick days, which also boosts productivity.

While we seem to be moving in the right direction, society’s work-life “balance”… is still far from balanced. So, if you’re struggling with burnout, what can you do?

We asked our team of SteadyMD doctors: What would you recommend to someone struggling with “burnout?

Acknowledge the burnout and actively manage your life to start working for you. Stop making excuses and take the lead in your life. – Dr. Josh Emdur

Find what makes YOU thrive and brings you joy and purpose. Don’t make your happiness and success contingent on factors outside your control like a broken system. Enjoy the little things and practice daily mindfulness of the positive aspects of your profession. – Dr. Seth Larsen

Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure what you are experiencing is not an episode of depression. Feeling little pleasure and fulfillment at work is common, but it can be masking a bigger problem. – Dr. Darya Blednova

Other practical steps you can take to improve your work-life balance:

  • Speak with your manager. Describe the imbalance you’re feeling in your work day. Come prepared with suggestions for how you think your work effectiveness could be improved. For example, maybe you can block off 2 hours in the mornings twice a week dedicated to working on a specific project. Or maybe you won’t check emails from 3-4PM each day. If you open the lines of communication with your manager, perhaps there’s a solution you haven’t even thought of yet.
  • Determine what behaviors ground you. Then make them a habit. Maybe exercise feels like therapy to you. Or you’ve found that taking a walk during your lunch break gets you out of your head. Perhaps meditation makes you feel more focused and energized. Practices that ground you will become valuable tools to rely on when other aspects of your life feel unbalanced.
  • Get organized. When it feels like you have a million things to do, write them down. Make a to-do list. Once what feels like a mess in your head gets organized on paper, the tasks at hand go from overwhelming to manageable.
  • Talk with your doctor. A licensed professional can listen to your unique situation and offer solutions. Your doctor can guide you in how to improve any health issues related to burnout.

To find a doctor compatible with your lifestyle, dietary preferences and medical needs, take our quick quiz to see if we have a doctor on our team who is right for you.

You don’t have to keep struggling with burnout. Acknowledging how you feel is the first step. Then you can take action. To find out more about how SteadyMD can help with your health goals, visit SteadyMD.com.