I used to believe that workplace burnout only happened to those who pushed themselves to the limit, working insane hours day after day. But since then, I’ve had my fair share of experiences that have completely changed my perspective.
It all started during a demanding project when the cracks started to show. I found myself lashing out at my co-workers, battling relentless insomnia, and succumbing to various alarming signs of burnout.
I’m sharing my story because I want you to know you’re not alone. If you’re feeling burned out, there are ways to manage your stress and get your life back on track.
In this article, I’ll share a few methods that worked for me. Read on to learn how you can deal with workplace stress.
Signs of Workplace Burnout
Before we delve into how you can beat work-related stress, it’s essential to know what signs you should look out for.
You see, most people who experience workplace burnout only start realizing it when it affects their personal or work lives. However, like any other mental health issue, the earlier you catch it, the easier it’ll be to manage and get your life back.
So, here are a few warning signs that you or someone you know is suffering from workplace burnout.
- Emotional Detachment: Work starts feeling like a chore, and you can’t connect with your colleagues anymore.
- Decreased Performance: Ever feel like you’re giving it your all but still falling short? Burnout can seriously mess with your performance. It’s like your brain hits a roadblock, making it hard to concentrate, make decisions, or meet those pesky deadlines.
- Insomnia or Sleep Disturbances: Workplace burnout can severely interfere with your body clock and leave you tossing and turning all night. Ironically, it might also lead to drowsiness during work hours when you’re supposed to be wide awake.
- Physical Symptoms: Stress takes a toll on your body, and burnout is no different. You might start experiencing headaches, muscle tension, tummy troubles, or even getting sick more often. It’s like your body is saying, “Enough already!”
- Increased Irritability: Picture this — every little thing sets you off, from a coworker’s innocent comment to the printer jamming for the umpteenth time. Burnout turns you into a ticking time bomb of irritation and frustration, ready to explode at the slightest provocation.
While the symptoms above don’t automatically diagnose you for workplace burnout, they’re warning signs, especially if you’ve been working in unusually stressful situations.
How Do I Manage Excessive Stress at Work?
Whether you’re suffering from obvious workplace burnout symptoms or just need to let off some steam, it’s essential to have a few work stress management techniques. Let’s look at a few classic examples that can help you through the most stressful situations at work.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
Job stress can have negative effects on both your physical and emotional health. Studies have shown you can reduce stress by eating a healthy diet and improving your overall well-being. So, avoid stress-eating or starving yourself when you have a heavy workload.
You should also take sick days whenever you feel under the weather to avoid stressing your body at work.
Get Enough Sleep
In addition to good nutrition, you should get enough sleep to prepare for a workday. This helps with stress management and is a great way to avoid stress-related health conditions like high blood pressure.
If you’re having trouble getting good sleep quality, you can talk to an expert about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which works wonders for insomnia patients.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool for managing stress. Take moments throughout your workday to bring your focus to the present moment.
Engage in deep breathing exercises, pay attention to your senses, or take short breaks to clear your mind. This helps calm your racing thoughts, improves concentration, and allows you to respond to workplace stressors in a more composed and thoughtful way. It’s like giving yourself a mental reset button that promotes a sense of calm amidst the storm.
Communicate and Advocate for Yourself
One of the leading causes of stress at work is failing to communicate your concerns with superiors. If your job demands are becoming increasingly difficult, consider delegating some duties to other employees.
You can join an employee assistance program or suggest your organization create one to offer struggling employees social support. Any company with good organizational values will consider such a request because employee health directly affects productivity.
Make Time for Your Personal Life
According to the NIH, there’s a close relationship between workaholism and chronic stress. Find a healthy balance between work, family life, and hobbies.
Avoid working extra hours on your off days because, while this might have positive short-term effects on your career and income, it might end up causing work stress.
Make some friends outside work and enjoy your hobbies with them during your free time. This will help relieve stress and refresh your mind for the next work day.
Talk to Someone About Your Work Related Stress
Bottling up unnecessary stress is dangerous as it might lead to chronic stress or health complications like hypertension. So, associate with supportive friends and family members you can talk to at the end of a stressful day. Sometimes the best way to relieve perceived stress is just opening up and admitting that things are not okay.
You can also talk to a licensed therapist to help you manage stress or find lasting solutions for your work stressors.
Improve Your Well-Being Today by Managing Work Stress
Workplace stress can have catastrophic effects on your physical and mental health. If you feel overwhelmed at work, slow down and manage your stress. Talk to a close friend, family member, join an employee assistance program.
It’s also important to talk to a licensed professional to help you find lasting solutions. Remember, healing is a process, and you’ll need all the help you can get.
If you feel pressured at work and have negative thoughts, call this hotline to talk to a mental health expert.