Burnout. Stress. Words we always knew, but since the 2020 pandemic, they seem to be heard everywhere. From longer work hours to increased demands at home, the COVID-19 pandemic introduced new stressors to nearly every part of our lives, particularly at work - and boy do we feel it.
U.S. workers are some of the most stressed employees in the world, according to Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report. The report cites that workers' daily stress reached a record high, increasing from 38% in 2019 to 43% in 2020, and some 57% of U.S. and Canadian workers reported feeling stress on a daily basis, up by eight percentage points from the year prior. The physical and mental effects of stress are well-known, and include sleep disturbances, weight gain/loss, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, the list goes on.
Along with workplace stress comes burnout. According to the World Health Organization, burnout results from workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Signs of burnout can be feelings of fatigue and exhaustion, having a persistent negative attitude towards one's work, and a reduction in productivity or sense of accomplishment.
So what do we do? Despite the challenges at work, quitting or changing jobs is not an option for most. If we must stay in a stressful job and push through the burnout, there are a few things that can help.
Stay away from that negative coworker that will only reinforce the negative feelings you’re already feeling. Keep conversations positive and brief and don’t get dragged into complaint sessions during the work day.
Take frequent breaks. Experts say one small break every 60-90 minutes makes a big difference. If possible, get out of your chair and stretch or step outside for a minute of fresh air. If this is not possible, take a mental break: look away from your computer screen at something 20 feet away, take 5 deep breaths, or just close your eyes and visualize something pleasant - even for a few seconds.
Unplug at home. Avoid checking emails to “get ahead”. Each day make a point to do something you enjoy. Cooking a nice meal, taking a short walk, participating in a hobby you enjoy, or cuddling with a loved one, will reduce stress and remind you that you are a person with a life outside of work.
Call a professional. If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, most of the day, nearly every day for more than 2 weeks, or if family members or friends are concerned, it may be time to get professional help. Your company may have an Employee Assistance Program (or EAP), your family doctor may be able to recommend someone, or websites like Psychology Today can link you with a therapist in your area.
If you are looking for help with burnout and are in PA, give us a call. We have openings for in-person and telehealth and can usually work around your work schedule.
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