Burnout Prevention and Treatment – and Statistics

What is burnout? Most people feel it from time to time. It’s the seemingly ongoing dread of day to day life and the necessary chores with it. Burnout is complex in that it can occur physically, emotionally, and mentally. In many situations, it creates a very difficult lifestyle and, over time, can lead to emotional trauma and complications. If you are feeling as if you are burned out, perhaps from work, school, relationships, or other sources of stress, you are not alone.

Burnout Statistics

The burnout statistics are clear and worrisome:

  • 3 out of 5 people report that they are facing negative impacts on their quality of life from work-related stress, according to the American Psychological Association.
  • 77% of people in a Deloitte survey responded that they have experienced employee burnout on the job. About half of them cite that this has happened more than one time. More so 84% of people say that burnout leads to their desire to leave their job.
  • 67% of people believe that worker burnout has worsened since the pandemic, according to Indeed. In addition, 27% of those workers report that it is not possible to unplug from work.

What does employee burnout do to a person? A study by the World Health Organization found that, of those who experience burnout related to work stress, they report the negative impacts include:

  • 36% report cognitive weariness.
  • 44% report physical fatigue
  • 32% report emotional exhaustion
  • 26% report a lack of interest, motivation, or energy
  • 19% report a lack of effort at work.

Burnout impacts many people. The more you know about it, why it happens, and what can be done about it, the better your chances are of overcoming it.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion attributed directly to excessive or prolonged periods of stress. A person who feels stress for a significant amount of time may feel helpless, physically exhausted, and disillusioned with the reality of their life at that moment. Many times, a person will feel emotionally drained while also being overwhelmed.

Burnout can worsen over time as the stress continues. This leads to less ability to focus, a drop in motivation, and a loss of interest in the task, even when it is vitally important.

Signs and symptoms of burnout

Being burnt out can be attributed to numerous signs and symptoms, including physical, behavioral, and emotional changes. Consider the following:

Physical signs of burnout include:

  • More frequent illness
  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Changes in sleep habits

Behavioral signs of burnout include:

  • Not completing responsibilities
  • Using drugs, alcohol, food, or other unhealthy habits to cope with stress
  • Isolation from others
  • Procrastination
  • Frustrating others and taking frustrations out on others

Emotional signs of burnout include:

  • Feeling like you are failing often
  • Detachment or feeling alone
  • Loss of motivation often communicated in a negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction with life
  • Feeling less accomplished

The Difference Between Stress and Burnout

Stress and burnout are two very different factors. Burnout occurs as a result of significant, ongoing stress. Stress itself is not necessarily a bad thing when you incorporate improved overall strategies for improving mental health.

The biggest difference between stress and burnout is a person’s outlook. A person who is feeling stressed can still see that when things come under control, they will feel better. Those who are experiencing burnout cannot see any hope that positive change will occur or that their situation will improve.

Causes of Burnout

Burnout occurs from an ongoing, relentless amount of stress. Many times, it comes from work-related activities though it can include burnout from providing physical support to others or work across all aspects of life. A stay at home parent can feel burnout just as much as a person that works 60 hours a week in a factory. The stress is different, but it remains very much the same in terms of outcome.

A person that is overworked and undervalued is at the highest risk for burnout. These are individuals who are constantly working hard or consistently but they are unable to take a break. Burnout is not just physical exhaustion, though. It is caused by the amount of downtime a person has, the outlook at the world, and the amount of support they receive.

Dealing With Burnout

Dealing with burnout is complex but absolutely worthwhile. By focusing on making some changes, it is possible to rebuild a healthy life with a better focus. Even if you continue to do the same type of work and the stress remains, dealing with burnout allows you to do so without such a negative impact on your quality of life. Here’s how to do so.

Tip 1: Turn to other people

One of the most common aspects of being burnt out is being unable to get everything done and having a negative outlook on everything. You can only see the “bad” and a bleak future. The best way to gain more of a reality check is to have a conversation with other people. Consider these steps:

  • Talk to someone close to you. Tell them what you are feeling, thinking, and experiencing. You do not need them to tell you what to do, but just to listen.
  • Do something that has nothing to do with what is stressing you out. For example, spend time talking with a good friend about anything but what is worrying you.
  • Move away from negative people. These are people who will further tax your mental health.
  • It seems impossible, but sometimes, finding something with a purpose to do can be healing.

Tip 2: Reframe the way you look at work

Think about how you see the work you do. It may feel boring, limiting to your quality of life, and even downright unfulfilling. Try to reframe that thought so that you can find more balance. Consider these steps:

  • Incorporate work-life balance into your life. No matter the list of things to do, find a way to spend time away from work. You absolutely need that mental break even for just a few hours a day.
  • Find friends within the work you do. Sometimes, adding friendship and camaraderie to the workday helps to lessen the negative impact it can have.
  • Focus on the value you provide in your work. Are you helping someone? Are you doing something to support coworkers? Determine what your value is.

Tip 3: Reevaluate your priorities

The next step is to consider your own priorities. Your life is not meant to focus on work but to achieve things that make you happy and feeling satisfied. By readjusting your priorities, you can improve your view. Here are some steps:

  • Put in place real boundaries. Work does not come home with you. You do not say “yes” to everything everyone else asks of you.
  • Put in place time every day to relax, somehow. That could include going for a walk, meditating, or watching a comedy show with a friend.
  • Add in creativity. Find a way to express yourself creatively. This could include hobbies you love. Try something new.

Tip 4: Make exercise a priority

Exercise is a big deal for stress. It helps to burn off the stress hormone, helping you to feel better but also giving you more energy in the process. You don’t have to run a marathon, especially when you are feeling exhausted, but consider these tips:

  • Spend 15 minutes a day walking. The easiest option costs nothing.
  • Go to a workout program with a friend. Doing something with someone else can help ease the stress and keep you engaged with the activity.
  • Practice yoga at home. You can learn to do so over a period of time, gaining skill while also working your body’s muscles.

Tip 5: Support your mood and energy levels with a healthy diet

Your body needs nutrients to help it function at its best. That’s especially true for the brain. You can provide your brain with support to reduce negative outcomes in several ways:

  • Reduce sugar intake. Sugar taxes your body and limits your energy. Reduce refined carbs as well.
  • Reduce caffeine and unhealthy fats from your diet. These can directly impact your mental health.
  • Improve the quality of nutrients consumed, including a higher amount of omega-3 fatty accidents, vegetables, and fruits.

FAQs on Burnout

Should you get treatment for burnout?

When burnout is overwhelming you and impacting your quality of life, reaching out to a professional for help makes sense. They can offer insight into what could be causing it and what steps you can do to see improvement.

I can’t stay on task. What should I do?

That is a sign of burnout. The best way to get back to work is to take a break, burn off some steam and energy, and then recenter yourself. Try to motivate yourself to accomplish a single task within 30 minutes. Then, take a short break.

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