Aside from being a source of income, having a job gives you fulfillment and boosts your self-esteem. It also helps you connect with people from diverse backgrounds and make new friends. In addition, working exposes you to new skills and enhances your personal development.
However, there are also numerous risks associated with having a job. For example, you may be exposed to specific occupational illnesses depending on the industry you work in or sustain injuries in a work-related accident. There’s also a tendency to overwork yourself and develop stress-related conditions like fatigue and burnout.
While fatigue and burnout may not sound like serious health challenges, they are. According to the National Library of Medicine, excess fatigue can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. The bad news is that no one is immune from fatigue and burnout; however, you can learn to prevent or develop strategies to cope with them.
How Can You Differentiate Between Burnout and Fatigue?
There are many words to describe stress-related situations. They include fatigue, burnout, tiredness, and exhaustion. Although they describe different conditions, many people use them interchangeably. Knowing the difference between these terms can help you develop the correct coping strategies for them.
The CDC describes fatigue as feeling weary, tired, or lacking energy. It’s often due to too much work that causes you to lose sleep. If you work in industries with nonstandard job schedules like night shifts, you’re highly likely to develop fatigue.
Job burnout, on the other hand, is more than just getting tired or lacking energy. It comprises emotional exhaustion, loss of personal identity, and a sense of reduced accomplishment.
In the long run, burnout can lead to medical conditions like depression. In summary, fatigue is physical exhaustion, while burnout is both physical and emotional tiredness and frustration with life.
How To Cope With Work Burnout and Fatigue
There are many ways to deal with work burnout and fatigue. These are the most effective ones:
Determine the Source
First things first, what is the cause of your fatigue and burnout? Just like doctors must discover the source of your illness before treatment, you must learn to determine your burnout triggers.
There’s no way you can cope effectively with your burnout when you can’t trace the source. That’s because coping strategies differ depending on your peculiar situation.
Is your caring for a sick family member and having to meet job demands simultaneously overwhelming for you? Are your job schedules too demanding? Does your bosses’ high-handedness cause you mental exhaustion? Regardless of the source of your fatigue or burnout, there’s always a solution if you can determine it.
Get Enough Sleep
There’s no dealing with fatigue or burnout without adequate sleep and rest. Sleep is essential for maintaining good health and functioning properly. Sleep is essential for overall good health as a balanced diet.
Poor sleep can lead to other mental health issues and trigger burnout. It can also affect your social life and emotions. Every adult requires at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. So, if you have been sleep-deprived, learn to get back on track as soon as possible.
Practice Yoga and Other Relaxing Activities
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) lists relieving chronic stress patterns as one of the benefits of practicing yoga. So, if you’re suffering from work burnout, you should seriously consider this. It’s one of the most effective self-healing methods for burnouts and emotional exhaustion. There are other relaxing activities you can try, like Tai Chi.
Practice Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness is one of the best ways to tackle burnout. It helps you observe and slow your thoughts while letting go of negativity and soothing your mind as you focus on being present.
There are many mindfulness techniques and exercises you can try. You may decide to explore a few of them till you find the one you’re most comfortable with.
Exercises, especially cardiovascular exercises, can help you deal with burnout. These include cycling, boxing, dancing, and swimming. It helps reduce stress, improve your mood and help you live longer.
Talk To Friends and Family
It’s essential to seek support from friends, family, and loved ones when going through something as overwhelming as work burnout. Their moral support can go a long way in helping you cope better. Many times, merely letting someone in on the struggles can provide you with some instant relief. If your work has an employee assistance program, leverage it if you can.
Setting boundaries doesn’t equate to selfishness. It just means that you’ve accepted that you’re human and can’t simply be available to everyone. It also means that you wouldn’t overstretch your capabilities by undertaking tasks that overwhelm you. Learn to say no to commitments that sap your time and energy unnecessarily, especially when dealing with fatigue and burnout.
Perfectionism may make you undertake tasks that you have no business doing. However, it’s essential to understand that your health is more vital than anything else. Take back control of your life by delegating specific duties to your subordinates. Also, learn to prioritize tasks and refuse to take work home.
Sometimes, there’s no single way to deal with work fatigue and burnout. In such situations, you’ll have to examine and explore different options. For example, if your burnout is due to an overbearing boss, you can discuss your challenges with them. Politely let them know that their behavior affects your health and reach a reasonable compromise.
Take It Easy on Yourself and Practice Self-Care
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Many times, the inadequacy you feel when your burnout is just that — feelings. It doesn’t portray reality. So, try to practice self-compassion and self-care.
Discover the positive activities that make you happy and do them unapologetically. Listen to your needs.
Talk To a Therapist or Other Mental Health Experts
If you’re finding it difficult dealing with your burnout, it will help to talk to a therapist. They’re professionals with expert knowledge and expertise on matters like this. They’ll help you identify the cause of your burnout and proffer the best coping strategies to help you recover quickly.
Possible Causes of Job Burnout and Fatigue
These are the common causes of employee fatigue and burnout:
Working Long Hours
Employees, especially those in health care, work long shifts with little time to rest. This can contribute to high-stress levels that result in fatigue and burnout.
Sometimes, your burnout may result from not knowing what to do. When you have unclear instructions on your job description, you can quickly get confused.
This can cause mental exhaustion and burnout. It’s worse when there aren’t proper communication channels to relay your challenges.
Overly Strict Penalties
As a human being, you’re prone to making mistakes now and again. However, some bosses can be overbearing and impose enormous consequences for even honest errors. This can dull your work experience and cause burnout.
Your inability to balance work with other areas of your life can become a stressor for burnout. Sometimes, your work may be so strenuous that it eats into family time. Other times, it may be your family issues disrupting your productivity at work. Either way, work/life imbalance can significantly impact your mental health and cause burnout.
Working so hard for too little puts you at high risk of job burnout. You’ll have no motivation to work and can become irritable pretty quickly.
Lack of Authority and Recognition
If you like to feel in control of your work, having little or no authority to decide your pace can be a stressor.
If you’re experiencing work fatigue and burnout, you can tell by these signs:
- Irritability and impatience
- Lack of energy and zeal to work
- Difficulty concentrating on assigned tasks
- Sudden changes in sleeping habits
- Feeling empty
- Difficulty eating
- Isolating from friends and loved ones
- Disengagement from activities, including the ones you used to love
- Feeling worthless and incompetent
- You no longer care about your appearance
Prolonged fatigue and burnout can lead to the following consequences:
- High blood pressure
- Reduced immunity to illnesses
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Drug or substance abuse
- Stomach and bowel pain
How To Prevent Work-Related Stress Issues
Avoiding work-related stress conditions like fatigue and burnout is easier than trying to correct them. Here’s how to make sure you stay mentally healthy at work:
- Learn stress management skills
- Exercise regularly
- Get adequate sleep
- Prioritize tasks and avoid too much labor
- Show small acts of kindness to colleagues, friends, family, and even strangers
- Perform job analysis to determine your work roles
Dealing with work burnout and fatigue can be overwhelming. It can affect every area of your life adversely. Fortunately, there are numerous preventive and coping strategies to deal with all types of work-related stress.
Do you need more information on how to stay mentally healthy? Then, you can visit our online portal for insight and tips.