STRESS AT WORK AND BURNOUT
I have done many seminars and small group workshops focusing on overcoming employee burnout due to stress at the workplace. I love teaching employers and employees how to defeat this monster that not only decreases productivity but creeps outside of the workplace into personal lives, like a hurricane destroying the individual’s health on its path. Stress at work can tear down the individual physically, emotionally and psychologically. With preventative measures and timely intervention employee burnout can be avoided.
Effects of Work-Related Stress and Signs & Symptoms of Burnout
SIGNS: Observable (Example: Sweating, pacing, loss of temper, etc.)
SYMPTOMS: Reported (Example: Inability to sleep, negative self-talk, physical pain, etc.)
PHYSICAL: Irritability, sleep disturbance (hypersomnia, insomnia, etc.) , appetite change, decreased energy, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, somatic complaints (chest pain, muscle aches, gastrointestinal problems, etc.), nightmares and night terrors, hyper-vigilance (noticeable heightened startle response), impaired immune system, etc.
”I am always exhausted. I am always feeling pain. I sleep, but I am never rested.”
EMOTIONAL: Grief, anger, powerlessness, emotional numbness, fear (mild or acute), helplessness, depression, over sensitivity, persistent sadness, chronic anxiety, emotional fluctuation, etc.
*Disillusionment with the company's mission or profession. “Nothing ever changes. I am just a worker bee.”
PSYCHOLOGICAL: Change in perception of life* (Example: “What’s the use in trying to work, the world is doomed anyway?”), decreased feelings of personal safety, loss of professional identity, internal negative dialogue (Internal Chatter Box), isolation from others (physical as well), low motivation, decreased ability to cope with stress, negativity, loss of faith, change in perception of self.
*Interesting phenomenon: Person at this stage may actually want to spend MORE time at work. This does not mean the individual is happy or productive. The person may appear to be on auto-pilot trying to finish work, but the work is never complete and deadlines are never met.
“It is my destiny to work and die at this job. There is nothing more.”
In following blog posts, I will provide information on techniques designed to overcome burnout which could be used by individuals as well as executives. Stress at work does not have to lead to loss of interest in the job, loss of passion for a chosen career, physical illness, or loss of sense of self.