Stress is one of the leading causes of employee burnout all over the globe. Though it may not be prevented most of the time, there are some ways to manage them; you just need to learn how to regain the balance once again.
Stress and burnout are two different things. Though the two are not medical diagnoses, they share a lot of similarities. The reason why most workers say that they feel burnout is because they need to constantly spend their time dealing with work stress — which is the first stage a person faces before it booms to become a burnout.
In real life, no book has ever expounded what burnout is. That mental state was only referred to as “vital exhaustion” and never gave enough limelight to people. But thanks to the World Health Organization’s initiative to finally emphasize the meaning of burnout.
In May 2019, the WHO published its International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems – 11th Revision wherein they interpreted work burnout as “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
With that said, one can easily interpret that a person who loses control of the stress they are feeling while they are working causes burnout. Indeed, it is more than just a bad day or a tough week at work. It is more of consecutive bad days and prolonged stress, and in the end, unfortunately, the employee burnout gets out of the hand.
While it is still can be regulated, you must know all the warning signs of this kind of mental, emotional, and physical status and deal with it as soon as possible.
Though it can be challenging for you to recognize it on yourself, you must learn how to control it once you finally feel it at work. As you scan through this article until the end, you will learn some tactics about work stress management that can, later on, help you in dealing with work stress.
2. Stages of Burnout
– Honeymoon Phase
– Onset of Stress
– Chronic Stress
– Habitual Burnout
3. Stress Management: Ways To Deal With Burnout
– Review Your Work
– Try Looking For Support
– Take a Break
– Engage Into Physical Activities
1. Work Burnout Causes, Signs, and Symptoms
If you are working for the same company for years now, you might find distinguishing the root cause of work burnout a little harder now. That is mainly because dealing with stress for years and not being able to do anything about it can already make you have a very long list of possible causes — too much that you no longer know what the root cause is.
But to help you shed some light on the current issue, we listed the following most prevalent symptoms of burnout to let you be able to recognize where your stress and burnout are coming from.
- You are feeling uneasy at work. Overthinking about the things you should do and cannot do can ultimately cause work burnout. At this point, preventing yourself from exploring more by confining yourself inside your comfort zone will not do anything useful.
- Dysfunctional workplace. Working with toxic people — those who are trying to bring you down — can contribute to job stress, which will eventually turn into employee burnout.
- Bland Work Environment. Employee burnout is sometimes originated from those employers who offer an uninteresting work environment. Also, doing the same thing over and over again can eventually lead to fatigue and burnout, until an employee finally gives up their job because “too little” is already “too much.”
- Too Much Workload. Seeing a mountain of paperwork on your table and hearing that you need to accomplish it as soon as possible is like putting so much pressure on you. If this happens every day, you will feel like you are not achieving anything when, in fact, you are.
- Work-life imbalance. No matter how busy you get, you should know when to work and when to spend your time with your family and friends. It is unhealthy when you spend all your time at work as it can only make you feel restless and tired.
Experiencing work burnout cannot only compromise your work and relationships, but it can also cause significant consequences once prolonged. Excessive stress at work and not finding the correct and ideal work stress management can inevitably lead to burnout. And once you felt it, your personal problems will look like as if they are insurmountable. Everything will also look unfavorable to you, making it even more challenging to take care of yourself.
Because of these potential causes, your symptoms will be more noticeable, and they might put your health on the line. Lack of work stress management, aside from exhausting you physically, can affect your mental and emotional state. You will be at high risk of experiencing insomnia, which can lead you to alcohol or substance misuse.
Also, you will be more at risk of getting heart disease, high blood pressure, and the likes since lack of sleep and rest can make you vulnerable to those kinds of illnesses.
To check more on your symptoms, Mayo Clinic has created questionnaires; you can apply to yourself to check if you are already dealing with work stress. You can ask yourself if:
- You have become cynical or critical at work
- You drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started
- You become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients
- You lack the energy to be consistently productive
- You find it hard to concentrate
- You require satisfaction from your achievements
- You feel disillusioned about your job
- You are using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel
- Your sleep habits changed
If you can relate to any of the queries above, definitely you do have burnout. Now, the only things that are left to do are to know what level of employee burnout you are already in and determine the ideal work stress management for you.
2. Stages of Burnout
Fortunately, you can resolve your burnout problems as soon as you recognize the warning signs. However, some people tend to overlook what they are feeling that are ending up setting aside what they think.
It is essential to learn the red flags of the at hand burnout since you might already reach — or worst, past — your breaking point. Allowing yourself to suffer from work stress all the time will only cause further physical, mental, and emotional damage.
As you read through this, you can take a break and pause for a moment to learn to defeat the phase so you can feel healthy again.
Depending on the stress you are feeling right now, you can determine the intensity of your burnout based on the following stages. This guide, which is inspired by Winona State University’s burnout study, can pinpoint where exactly you are right now.
By determining the level of your stress and burnout, you can easily pick the best stress management plan for you.
1. HONEYMOON PHASE
No symptoms can arise on this stage yet, since, as what its name implies, it is the beginning of everything. Whether it is a new job or new business, this is the name where you can still experience satisfaction on your situation and give your all to it. As days go by, your enthusiasm starts to fade a little. However, if you are too busy to notice these small changes, you might end up entering the second phase.
2. ONSET OF STRESS
From this stage, the work burnout symptoms start to arise, and determining them may be more complicated than previous days. This is also the time when you start dealing with work stress that causes you to lose a few positive thoughts.
3. CHRONIC STRESS
From here, you can observe a massive change in the way you deal with work stress. You should begin your more intensified work stress management here to prevent the occurrence of extreme symptoms compared to the ones you felt in stage two.
What can welcome you in this stage is a set of critical symptoms that can make your stress even worse. The strength of exhaustion is already affecting your day-to-day life, and working as if you do not have this is not possible anymore. Immediate care is a must.
5. HABITUAL BURNOUT
The most critical and final stage of employee burnout is habitual burnout. Dealing with work stress on this stage already needs the most effective work stress management since this burnout already affects you most cruelly. In the worst-case scenario, you might develop the chronic disease because of this constant burnout.
To stop all these, you must seek immediate help. But most importantly, self-care is the most important thing you can do for yourself during this period.
3. Stress Management: Ways To Deal With Burnout
Just like any other physical, emotional, and mental health problems, burnout can be controllable and curable. Saying goodbye to the days you feel down and out is the first step to keep your burnout at bay. People can learn to manage stress and lead happier and healthier lives. Here are some tips to help you keep your weight at bay.
1. Review Your Work
Making a to-do-list at work can be the most significant part of applying work stress management in your life. Jotting down the things you need to, from the most important thing to the least ones, and accomplishing them one by one without a hurry can keep you relax at home.
There are also some things at your workplace that should not be at the top of your working table yet, and doing them when you already have free time can help you prevent burnout.
Installing a calendar app on your phone is also helpful most, especially when you are the type of employee who likes everything to be in sync. This can also let you manage your schedule so you can still take care of yourself without compromising your work.
2. Try Looking For Support
If your work becomes too overwhelming once again, seeking help is okay. Every burden gets a little lighter once you allow someone to lift it with you.
When there is something in your workplace that is bothering you in any way, communicating with the person concerned politely can help them be aware of the impacts they are contributing to their workmates.
This can also help you become more open with them and establish a more substantial relationship within the company. It is worth noting that having at least five minutes to talk with them about the things that you like, and learning about them as well can help everyone relieve their stress.
3. Take a Break
When things get a little suffocating once again, stand up and do some breathing exercises. You can also opt for a comfort room break or a coffee break. This can also let your brain replenish so you will not cause stress to anyone as well.
By taking a break, you should also learn the importance of saying “no.”
If you are already tired of your workloads and someone asks you to help them out with something, it is okay to guide them as long as you will not let it bring your energy down once again. You, too, have limits, and you should be familiar with that.
Handling your limitations properly is like managing your stress the same way.
4. Engage Into Physical Activities
Ask yourself when the last time you shut down your office’s computer and walk out to breathe some fresh air was?
Treating yourself at least several times a month can help your body recharge itself. You can visit a salon and get a haircut, or give yourself a relaxing massage. Spending your day off to do the things you love the most can bring you happiness and healthy life.
When you rest, make sure that you reflect on the things you did at work. Did you establish a life-work balance already? Did you take care of yourself? Appreciating your efforts and achievements in life can make your mental status healthy.
Thinking about yourself first is not a sign of selfishness, but a sign of self-love — and you deserve that.