Many of us will feel extreme levels of stress during our work lives, often at the end of a busy period or when suffering in our personal lives, but burnouts are very specific types of work-related issues. With workplace mental health issues on the increase, burnouts have now been added to the World Health Organisations list of official diseases.
With some experts long claiming that burnouts are simply symptoms of stress, exhaustion or depression, new research suggests that people who go through burnouts don’t believe their job is the main cause. But, whatever the cause, burnouts are serious health issues and can affect your mental and physical health.
What Is A Burnout?
The term “burnout” is relatively new, first being used in 1974. Simply put, if you begin to feel less capable, exhausted or begin to detest or dislike your job, then you are showing signs of heading for a burnout. Usually, the stress which contributes to a burnout stems solely from your job, but your overall lifestyle can actually be a huge contributing factor. Your individual personality traits can also lend themselves to burnouts, with pessimism and perfectionism known as contributing factors.
Most people spend the large majority of their day at work, so if you begin to dislike where you work or your job, then this can take a huge toll on your wellbeing.
Signs and Symptoms of a Burnout
Before the WHO recently recognised burnouts as an official disease, it wasn’t previously diagnosable. But, although many doctors were unable to diagnose burnouts as a recognised illness, it was still taken extremely seriously in the medical world. Recognising the signs and symptoms of a burnout is vital if you feel as though the warning signs are already there, or if you already suffer from mental health issues.
Feeling alienated from workplace activities is one way that some individuals felt was the start of a burnout, as they begin to view their jobs as frustrating or stressful. Employees may find themselves becoming cynical about their working conditions or environments, or the people whom they work with. This then causes them to distance themselves from those people.
Many employees who suffer from burnouts note feeling emotionally exhausted. Burnouts and mental health issues can cause people to feel unable to cope, drained, tired and lacking in energy. This can then lead to physical symptoms, such as headaches, hair loss, bad skin breakouts or stomach issues.
Burnouts can directly affect normal day-to-day tasks, both at work and at home, and worrying about these tasks or feeling unable to carry them out normally can have a direct impact on workplace performance. Burnouts share the same symptoms as most mental health conditions, so it can sometimes be hard to get to the root of the problem if you are also suffering from anxiety or depression.
Prevention and Treatment
Whilst the term “burnout” may sound like a permanent condition, it is reversible. Individuals who feel burned out, or think they are heading for one, should consider making changes to their working environment. If you can, approach your HR department about any issues you are facing at work, or talk to a trusted supervisor and see if they can help to create a healthier work environment. In some extreme cases, considering another job or career may be necessary to avoid a burnout. You should also consider implementing some self-care strategies to help you manage your stress levels at home or away from work. Implementing a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise and taking supplements and vitamins, such as fish oil capsules, may assist in counter-balancing the effects of a high-stress working environment. High strength fish oil has recently been suggested as a way to protect your body against the symptoms of stress, so it may be beneficial to add these, along with other vitamins, into your daily routine