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Published on April 2, 2019

Why You’ve Reached the Point of Burn out at Work & How to Deal with It

Why You’ve Reached the Point of Burn out at Work & How to Deal with It

You’ve finally hit a wall and enough is enough. You’re not just stressed—you’re feeling physically, mentally, and maybe even emotionally burnt out.

When serious exhaustion sets in and you either feel completely indifferent or totally repulsed by your job, you have to start taking action toward restoring balance not only in your professional life, but in your personal life too. Sources of stress can’t always be eliminated, but their negative effects can certainly be minimized.

What if you could walk into work and actually feel enthusiastic about taking on your tasks for the day? Believe it or not, it’s possible to go from dreading those tasks and suffering through them to embracing them and enjoying the challenge.

Burnout doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the wrong job. It might just mean that your approach to your work life isn’t currently working for you.

Once you identify and understand what has led you to burn out, you can examine your experiences under a mindful microscope to expand your level of self-awareness. Only then can you work to counteract the effects of burn out with specific lifestyle changes, habits, and mental practices.

By implementing some of the strategies shared in this article, you might save yourself weeks, months, and even years of prolonged suffering. Because when it comes to burnout, you can’t really make a full recovery by simply waiting for it to go away.

Read on to discover what some of the leading causes of burnout are and what you can do to get back to a place of happiness and harmony.

1. You Sacrifice Your Own Self-Care for Your Job, Your Family, and Others Who Need You

If you’re a people pleaser, then you probably have trouble saying “no” to anyone who asks anything from you.

When you think you have no choice but to say “yes” to your boss, your coworkers, your partner, your kids, your friends, and your relatives, you’re left with little time and energy to devote to doing the things that keep you healthy and happy—like sleeping enough, eating well, and enjoying activities you love. You’re essentially allowing others to dictate how you spend your life.

According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, people who said “I don’t” instead of “I can’t” had more success in avoiding things they didn’t want to do.[1] In other words, it led to a greater sense of self-empowerment.

By remaining aware of the fact that you have a choice in how you decide to spend your time, you can learn to say “no” to others confidently and respectively.

2. You’re Putting Too Many Hours Into Your Work

Working 12 to 16 hours a day or 60 to 80 hours a week doesn’t mean you’re being productive during all or even most of those hours.

A UK study found t hat the average office employee is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes out of the entire workday.[2] As if that weren’t bad enough, research has shown that jobs with overtime schedules are associated with a 61% increase in risk of injury;[3] and long periods of sitting in office chairs are as potentially detrimental to workers’ health as smoking.[4]

Working longer hours means you have less downtime to recharge properly, so you might want to rethink staying late at the office, clocking a double shift every so often, or giving up your weekends to try to get more done.

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Examine where you can cut back on your time spent at work—particularly during your most unproductive hours. If your workplace won’t allow it, you might need to consider working somewhere that will.

3. You’re Constantly Connected to Your Work Via Your Devices

Many professionals check their work email first thing when they get up and continue checking after work hours, meaning they never truly get a chance to disconnect and relax a little.

Remaining available to answer emails or take calls during non-work hours has been linked to higher levels of stress and anxiety in workers.[5] Even just the anticipation of receiving emails or calls during non-work hours can cause negative effects.

You might need to have a chat with your boss, coworkers, or clients about your electronic availability during non-work hours if there’s an expectation to answer emails and calls at all times of the day and night. Once you’ve clarified this, you can turn off notifications, put your devices on Do Not Disturb or turn them off altogether when you’re not at work.

4. You Work in a Toxic Environment

Working with patronizing authoritative figures and coworkers can be downright degrading and humiliating, leading to feelings of isolation and resentment.

When there’s a breakdown of workplace community, your sense of belonging is compromised. One study showed that the number of people who’ve admitted to feeling like they have nobody to talk to about relevant topics has nearly tripped between 1985 and 2004—suggesting that despite people spending so much time at work, the relationships they have with their colleagues are not necessarily high-quality ones.[6]

Practice separating yourself from negative energy at work so that even when you do have to engage with colleagues, you have mental and emotional boundaries in place.

Look toward the most positive and trustworthy people at your workplace and work toward building relationships with them. Even if you don’t work directly with them, having them there can help increase your sense of connection and belonging.

Finally, avoid taking work issues home with you. Instead of venting to your partner about a problem going on at work, focus on letting it go by engaging in activities that take your mind off of it, lift you up, and remind you of what you’re grateful for in life.

5. Your Workload Is Too Heavy

There’s only one of you and there are only so many hours in a day to get your work done.

When there are too many tasks, projects that are overly complex, or requests that are unrealistically urgent piled onto your plate, the stress and overwhelm of it all can be too much to bear. Research has shown that employees with heavy workloads have difficulty balancing work and family life and are at a higher risk of emotional exhaustion.[7]

The only way to combat work overload is by offloading less urgent tasks, getting help and support from other colleagues, and postponing deadlines. Figuring out how to balance work and life comes down to prioritization, which requires getting real about your own energy expenditure and time limitations.

6. You Never Take a Vacation

If you’re a workaholic, you might not even realize that you’re hopelessly addicted to your work and haven’t taken any time off in what might seem like forever.

Maybe you’re worried about all the work that will pile up when you’re gone or you want to keep working as proof of your dedication to what you do. But the costs of not taking any real time off include decreased productivity and creativity.[8] It can even exasperate office tension, workplace accidents, work-related mistakes, stress, fatigue, and illnesses.

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If you feel unwilling to go away for as long as a week, try something shorter—like a weekend. You can even make it a staycation to start.

Eventually, if you spend your time off going places and doing things you love, you’ll start to become aware of the restorative benefits of taking your vacation time, and you might even inspire colleagues do the same.

7. You See Your Job As Your Identity

It’s important to feel passionate about and connected to what you do, but when all or most of your accomplishment, pleasure, and self-worth comes from your work performance, it can be hard to deal with things when they don’t go your way.

You’re far more likely to burn out if you place little value on other areas of your life like relationships and hobbies. The people in your life and the activities you enjoy can serve as effective pick-me-ups when work life gets rough.

Try making a list of all the relationships and hobbies or activities you have in your life that you love. Then rank them in order of importance and brainstorm ideas for how you can start devoting more time and energy toward them.

8. You Feel Like You Don’t Have Any Control

When you don’t have enough freedom to have a say in how decisions at work are made, or what your schedule looks like, or what the most important goals should be, you might find yourself feeling more cynical and less motivated.

A study found that people with high-stress jobs and little control over their workflow live shorter lives or are less healthy overall compared to people who have more of a say in how they handle their schedules and work.[9] Control is important for maintaining your sense of autonomy at work.

Depending on your position, you might be able to go ahead and take control of your schedule and workflow the way you see fit—as long as you complete the work needed and hit your goals.

If not, you might have to have a discussion with your manager or boss and come to an agreeable decision about how to make your workflow more flexible in a way that benefits both you and your boss’s expectations.

9. Your Efforts Are Not Recognized or Rewarded

There’s nothing more demeaning than having your work go unnoticed or taken for granted by your colleagues and superiors.

It turns out that when it comes to work, recognition matters more than pay. 70% of respondents to a survey admitted that they could not place a dollar value on their most meaningful experiences of recognition.[10]

You can’t exactly walk into your boss’s office and start demanding more recognition for what you do, but you can make an effort to keep your boss updated on your accomplishments, build a better relationship with them and take initiative with additional tasks or issues that they bring up.

When sharing your accomplishments, make sure you emphasize the benefit it had on the organization as a whole.

To get more recognition from other colleagues, start by recognizing theirs. Those who appreciate your recognition will take notice and likely return the favor.

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10. You’re Being Treated Unfairly

It’s hard seeing colleagues get promoted when you think they didn’t serve it, or witnessing hiring or compensation decisions that seem to be based on biased opinion or favoritsm.

According to a workplace survey by workforce management software company Kronos, unfair compensation was the top contributor to employee burnout at 41%, followed by unreasonable workload and overtime work at 32%.[11] Unfair treatment at work can suck the drive to achieve right out of you, leaving you feeling disheartened and disengaged.

To feel as if you’re being treated fairly, you must get clear on what you need to do to be rewarded, compensated appropriately, or promoted. Ask your manager or boss what you need to do, and then do it.

If you still don’t receive the compensation or promotion that you think you deserve even after doing everything you were told you should do to get it, consider working somewhere else where your efforts are actually valued and save yourself from exasperating the effects of burnout.

11. You Don’t See Any Clear Way to Advance Your Position

You’ve stopped learning, you’re stuck doing the same thing day in day out, and you feel trapped in a dead-end job.

The human brain is hardwired for novelty and gains pleasure from taking on tasks that are just challenging enough to tackle, so a workflow that’s too routine or too drudgerous will slowly drain the sprit right out of you.

When there’s no way up and nothing different to do, you’ll start to care less and less about your work at all.

Even if there’s no higher position to work toward, you can still find new and meaningful ways to learn and challenge yourself. If you’re not sure how, talk to your boss or colleagues about shaking up your workflow.

If a significant shake-up at work just can’t happen, consider doing the best you can with what you have to do while focusing your efforts on learning and being challenged outside of work. Get back to an old hobby, start a new side hustle, or join a club to help balance those boring workdays or shifts.

12. Your Personal Core Values Conflict With the Values of Your Workplace.

When what you have to do at work violates something that you believe in and stand for, your sense of integrity suffers.

In order to keep working at an organization where its values are out of alignment with your own, you basically have to kill those parts of yourself that have always helped define who you are.

This is very difficult to do, given that your core values are typically ingrained in early childhood and remain in your subconscious mind throughout your adult life without you even being aware of them.

The first step you should take is identify what you truly stand for. Next, you have to consider what’s meaningful about your work versus what could slowly kill you inside, and then weigh them against each other.

If you find that there’s not enough to fulfill you by staying, you’ll likely need to prepare to find another job that’s more closely aligned with your values since your subconscious will lead you down the road anyway.

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13. You’re a Perfectionist About Your Work

You might have extremely high personal standards about your work performance, leaving no room for error.

Perfectionists are known to be extremely self-critical—even when things go right (but worse when things go wrong). It’s no surprise that research links perfectionism to burnout, suggesting that it’s more of a self-destructive trait rather than a sign of virtue.[12]

As a perfectionist, you have to learn how to adopt a growth mindset (as opposed t o a fixed mindset) by seeing mistakes and failures as an opportunity to improve.

You also have to learn to practice self-compassion when work goes less than perfectly if you want to become a more resilient worker.

14. You’re Really Only in It for the Money.

Work is work, but if every component of it feels completely meaningless and unfulfilling, then something is seriously wrong.

A whopping 87% of employees worldwide feel disengaged with their work.[13] If you’re one of them, your disengagement could lead to your downfall (by demotion, layoff, or firing).

Finding something fulfilling about your work takes a change in perspective. One way to do this is by putting yourself in the end user’s shoes—the customer or the client. Another way to do this is by looking at the bigger picture and thinking about your organization’s overall mission or goal.

Next, identify the connections between your work and the end user and/or the organization’s mission. This should help you become aware of how your contribution is helping to make a real difference—even if it seems small.

15. Your Genetics Might Make You More Susceptible to Burnout

If you think you’re simply more prone to stress and anxiety than your fellow colleagues, you could be right.

Research has shown that there’s a potential molecular pathway for stress-related traits, suggesting that some people might be naturally more susceptible to burnout than others.[14]

People who were raised by stressed and anxious parents or guardians might also be more susceptible, although this might be more of an environmental factor rather than a genetic one.

You can’t fight genetics, so your best bet is to work with how you’re built. Double down on your self-care by taking time to recharge, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that restore your energy—like meditation, exercise, reading, or listening to music.

The Bottom Line

Burnout is no joke, and it doesn’t just go away by ignoring it. If you want to save yourself from having to spend a longer than necessary amount of time trying to recover, you have to start taking action sooner rather than later.

It’s important to view the solution to burnout as a lifestyle balancing act. You’re going to have to identify the contributing factors to your burnout and connect them to all the other parts of your life—including health, relationships, hobbies, core values, and so on—if you want to neutralize it as quickly and as effectively as possible.

More Resources to Help Tackle Burn out

Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Elise Moreau

Elise helps desk workers lead healthier lifestyles. Visit her website on her profile to get a free list of health hacks.

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Last Updated on January 8, 2020

How to Sleep Through the Night and Get Good Rest

How to Sleep Through the Night and Get Good Rest

“Healthy sleep is an essential part of our life as regular exercise and healthy diet”

. A good sleep directly affects our mental and physical health and also linked to better cognitive function, lower rates of inflammation and heart disease. It is also directly related to daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight. Contrary, people having poor sleep at night may have a higher risk of heart disease. It may also cause depression, confusion in day activities, anxiety and even memory loss.

Poor sleep may also lead to weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children. Much research also shows that poor sleep has instant negative effects on your hormones, exercise performances, and brain functions. Many people are facing sleeping disorders in the world and some of them even know about that. Also, many of us regularly toss and turn at night, struggling to get the sleep we need.

There are all kinds of things that can disrupt your sleep like your daily schedule, your working hours, certain medications, an uncomfortable sleep environment, or changes to your normal sleep schedule (like jet lag or a different work schedule) can make it harder to nod off, too.

Why Do I Keep Waking up at Night?

If you keep waking up at night, it could be caused by various things. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons:

1. Sleep Apnea

It is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. This is a common reason for waking in the middle of the night. It causes shallow breathing, which may cause a person to wake up several times per night. Some people are not even realized that their sleep is interrupted or break. A person who has sleep apnea may notice symptoms such as:

  • Headaches in the morning
  • Gasping for air at night
  • Daytime tiredness
  • Snoring
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
Treatment and Remedies

If sleep apnea is a cause or likely to cause frequently waking up in the middle of the night, a healthcare provider/doctor will probably refer the person to a sleep center. They may also advise or recommend a treatment plan to address sleep apnea.

Best treatment options available are undergoing surgery, using airway pressure devices, or trying oral appliances that help open the airways.

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2. Insomnia

It means a condition wherein a person finds it difficult or impossible to fall or stay asleep or Waking up in the middle of the night is called insomnia, and it’s a common problem. People who have insomnia don’t feel as if they get enough sleep at night. It may have many possible causes like-stress, anxiety, depression, poor sleep habits, daytime tiredness, etc.

Its symptoms include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Frequent wake-ups during the night
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
Treatment and Remedies
  • Start doing meditation or yoga
  • Do not eat heavy or spicy meals before bed
  • Doing regular exercise
  • Do not nap during the day
  • Make your bedroom conducive to sleep

3. Anxiety, Stress, Depression, or Worry

These can cause insomnia. Yes, it is so true that insomnia can cause because of these conditions. Both anxiety and depression makes it difficult for a person to calm their mind or shut down their thinking processes. This can make it hard for a person to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Treatment and Remedies

People suffering from these conditions should consult with their health care providers or doctors. Home remedies or techniques for anxiety and depression are:

  • Playing/listening to soft songs or calm music.
  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing the number of tasks to do
  • Meditating
  • Creating a calming environment in the bedroom

4. Consuming Caffeine Late in the Day

Caffeine is a tonic that can make it harder to fall asleep. A single dosage can increase focus, energy and sports performance.

However, when consumed late in the day, coffee stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. So stop consuming more caffeine in a day to get better and calm sleep at night.

5. Your Exposure to Light

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain produces more melatonin when it’s dark—making you sleepy—and less when it’s light—making you more conscious.

Exposure to bright lights just before bed might affect your quality and quantity of sleep. So turn off all mobile screen lights before bed and avoid all artificial lights before bed, it helps you fall asleep at night.

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6. Indigestion

Eating some spicy food, junk food or unhealthy food just around bedtime can also create sleep issues. Indigestion causes uncomfortable bloating and gas make it difficult to fall asleep at night and even and it may wake someone up in the middle of the night.

To avoid the indigestion problem,  eat healthy and light food at night. If you want to eat heavy or spicy food, do it earlier in the day and not before or around bedtime. This may help you to have good sleep at night.

7. Your Bedroom/Sleep Environment

One of the possible reasons that you are not getting enough sleep is that your bedroom environment is not properly optimized. Factors include the temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement, etc.

You can improve the sleep environment by doing these:

  • Minimize disturbing or external noises
  • Keep it dark and cool
  • Ban work from the bedroom
  • Reduce light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks
  • Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place
  • Don’t overheat your bedroom temperature

How Do I Stay Asleep Through the Night?

To stay asleep through the night and get some good rest, start trying these:

1. Take a Warm Bath

Just before or around bedtime, take a warm bath, it helps to drop down the body temperature and may help you to feel tired. It can also help you to relax and calm and slow down, so, you are ready to go to bed. Studies show that they can improve overall sleep quality and helped people get more deep sleep.

2. Make a Habit of Regular Exercise or Can Do Meditation or Yoga

If you are spending your whole day watching TV, playing games on mobile phones or tablets, etc, it can make you lazy and inactive. And this usually makes it pretty difficult to fall asleep at night.

Active people tend to get better sleep at night.[1] Hence, by exercising or doing yoga, you can reduce stress and anxiety—which in itself might help increase sleep time by more than 20%.

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Don’t do exercise just before bedtime though, it could affect sleep.

3. Eat Healthy Foods to Promote Sleep

Make a habit of eating healthy foods and fruits and avoid eating spicy food, junk food.

To help you sleep better, you can eat these:

  • Cherries
  • Bananas
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Salmon
  • Toast
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Spinach

4. Improve Your Sleep Environment

As mentioned in the last section, a peaceful and good sleep environment sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses.

Make sure your room temperature is not too cold or hot as it affects your sleep too.

To get good quality sleep, do these things:

  • Keep your room cool
  • Keep noise down
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable
  • Reduce all external noises like traffic noise, etc.

5. Create a Bedtime Routine

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps to fall asleep quicker. And to bring that feeling of sleepiness, it helps to have a quiet bedtime routine.

Bedtime routines have two serve purposes: it is meant to be relaxing and calming, not so exciting, and it helps to form a behavioral association and gives signals to the brain to feel you sleepy.

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Here’s How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier.

6. Take Time to Relax and Calm Your Body

Take a deep breath before going to bed, calm and relax your body. It helps to reduce all-day stress and calm down your mind which may make you fall asleep fast. If you watch TV around bedtime or use mobile phones, switch it off for some time and calm yourself down before going to bed.

7. Rule Out a Sleep Disorder

An underlying health condition may be the cause of your sleep problems. One of the causes is sleep apnea which causes inconsistent and interrupted breathing, and disturbs your sleep at night. People with this disorder stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping. If you any have symptoms of this disorder, you must consult a doctor immediately.

The Bottom Line

Sleep plays a crucial part in your health. Conserving energy, healing the body, consolidating memories, and regulating emotions are some of the key reasons why we sleep. Studies say that due to inadequate sleep, obesity risk is increased in children by 89% and in adults by 55%.[2] Other research concludes that sleeping less than 6 hours per night enhances your risk of developing heart disease.[3]

So besides nutrition and exercise, sleep is a major pillar of overall health and well being, and you should take steps to ensure that you always get a good night’s sleep.

More Tips to Help You Sleep Better

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

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