You’ve hit a wall and it’s become clear that you’re struggling with work burnout.
You’ve been putting in too many hours at work, caring too much about something that doesn’t give you any emotional payback, and not having time or energy for anything but work, your boss, and more work.
You’re at the end of the line, and now you can’t muster the energy to care at all about the work you do.
You need to recover.
Work Burnout vs. Depression
Work burnout is caused by chronic stress, but it can look a lot like depression.
Symptoms can include negative thoughts and feelings, disrupted sleep, exhaustion, trouble concentrating, frustration or a sense that what you’re doing doesn’t matter, and irritability with others – just to name a few.
It can even spill over into problem behaviors such as substance use or fighting with your spouse.
But depression is a clinical diagnosis, which can probably be triggered by work burnout if it’s left unchecked, which is one reason why it’s so important for you to notice if this is happening and to do something about it.
The 5 Stages Of Burnout
It is said that the path to burnout happens in 5 stages:
- Enthusiasm: Yes! You’re excited about work. You are optimistic about what you can accomplish.
- Stagnation: Your personal life suffers as your life becomes all about work. Your efforts to change this do little.
- Frustration: You feel failure and powerlessness. You don’t get positive feedback and you begin to feel incompetent and inadequate.
- Apathy: Despair, disillusionment and indifference. You become resigned and see no way out of your situation.
- Intervention: Feeling helpless or burned out leads you to find help out of your situation.
Work Burnout Symptoms Test
It’s easier to miss the signs and symptoms of work burnout than you might think because we sometimes believe that these feelings just go along with being at work.
We might notice we’re feeling terrible, but don’t give full credit to the idea that you’re really not supposed to feel that way about work.
“Work is work,” you might think, and therefore you’re not supposed to enjoy it. But there’s a big difference between enjoying work and suffering through it. (Even though I would say you should enjoy your work!)
Suffering through work and being chronically stressed is bad for your health. In addition to depression, chronic stress has been linked to heart disease and obesity.
But are you really burned out? Take the test here to find out.
Work Burnout Recovery Strategies
If you’re burned out, try to relax and unplug.
There’s nothing better than some time away to recover. If you’re unable to take a vacation, try to make the time away from the office relaxing. Try exercise or meditation as well as getting together with friends and connecting with loved ones.
For the longer term, you’ll have to think about setting boundaries. What’s happening that things have gotten so bad at work? Is there too much travel? Do you have too much on your plate? Does your boss call you at all hours? Think about what is happening and see if there’s any way to resolve it.
If not, think about alternatives. Do you need to leave the job in order to get a better work life balance? Ultimately, if calling it quits is the only way to restore some sanity to your life, it might be the best move for you and your health.
Decide when it’s time to call it quits.
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