Our health is the most valuable resource you have. Without good health, you can’t expect to find professional success, develop healthy relationships or achieve financial independence. To put it plainly, you’re nothing without your health. Some health problems can’t be anticipated or avoided, but many others are influenced by your everyday life. Work burnout falls into the second category and is one of the most common reasons for poor mental and physical health.
Do you often find yourself wondering if you’re feeling burned out and if what you’re experiencing is common? Anticipating and understanding what will give us energy and what will drain us is crucial to experiencing a life of joy and fulfillment. But many aren’t sure what burnout symptoms they should be aware of, much less what to do when burned out or how to embrace fulfilling strategies. As a result, they feel stressed, sick and burned out. You may have even felt this way for so long you think it’s normal.
The World Health Organization recently described burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” characterized by exhaustion, distancing yourself mentally from your career and being less effective on the job. The Mayo Clinic defines work burnout similarly as a special type of job stress. Like everyday stress, burnout is caused in part by physical or emotional exhaustion. But burnout is unique in that it also entails a lack of fulfillment on the job. You’re more likely to experience work burnout symptoms if your job affords little control (e.g. over your schedule and workload), has unclear performance expectations (e.g. requirements for getting a raise), has a dysfunctional organizational culture or creates an unhealthy work-life balance. If you don’t learn what to do when burned out, burnout can create physical and mental health symptoms that wreak havoc in almost every area of life, including your finances.
Your stress levels can directly impact your health – and what’s the number one source of stress in most people’s lives? Money. How do you acquire money? By working. A rewarding career is just that – a source of contentment, empowerment and provision. But when you’re experiencing financial stressors in addition to workplace stressors, you’ve found the perfect recipe for work burnout.
Does this sound familiar? You’ve chosen to stay in a workplace you hate because you’re terrified that you won’t be able to make ends meet. You desperately want the steady paycheck, so you stagnate in a job where you hate being at the office day after day. “I can’t quit,” you say, so you keep clocking in, working the long hours and obeying a disrespectful boss. You lose sleep – and the sleep that you get isn’t particularly restful. If you keep this up long enough, you pass the threshold of stress and head into work burnout.
Financial stability is so fundamental to human survival that it’s virtually impossible not to have it subconsciously impact your work life. You’re approaching your career with a base level of money-related anxiety, which depletes your internal stress-management resources and worsens your burnout symptoms. Even on a good day, you’re drained before you even get to work. What’s more, when you’re burned out and anxious about money, you’re more likely to make unwise financial decisions, like prioritizing convenience over savings.
What to do when burned out and broke? You must create work-life balance so all your physical, mental and emotional needs are met, on the job and off.
Stress doesn’t just impact you, either. When you are consistently showing burnout symptoms, you are directly affecting the people around you, even if you don’t mean to. Relationships with coworkers, friends and loved ones are all impacted by your stress and signs of burnout are commonly recognized by others before you even notice them yourself. Here are some common work burnout symptoms:
Developing relationships with your colleagues makes working in a team environment invigorating. Whether this is during your lunch break, happy hour or around the water cooler, these non-work related interactions should be enjoyable. When you become unhappy at work, however, this can start diminishing. If you start going home for lunch to avoid your co-workers and no longer want to go to after-hour activities, it could be one of the work burnout symptoms.
Work burnout and the related stress that comes with it can manifest itself in physical ailments. You may experience frequent headaches, stomach upset or chronic fatigue that can’t be explained by anything else. If not addressed, your stress could prematurely age you and lead to chronic diseases.
One of the most telling burnout symptoms is a change in attitude. If you are normally an optimistic person with an abundance mindset and you suddenly start seeing the bad in every situation, you could be burning out. Watch for signs of anxiety, depression and an overall negative outlook on life when you’re learning what to do when burned out.
Combining work burnout with financial stress creates a powerful cyclical loop, where your finances provide “evidence” of the misery you’re experiencing on the job and vice versa. If you find yourself in this position, it’s time to do what you need to do to stop feeling burned out. Whether that means finding a new job or changing careers entirely, this is your opportunity to take massive action and improve your life.
Although feeling burned out doesn’t constitute a medical diagnosis, burnout does impact physical and mental health. Skyrocketing blood pressure and a lowered immune system are common burnout symptoms. A cold might knock you down for two weeks instead of two days. Your memory might start slipping. Headaches, premature aging and insomnia are other burnout symptoms you shouldn’t ignore.
If you’re miserable at your job, then you should make preparations to move on – but in the meantime, you can fight back against work burnout by changing how you handle stress. Do you face numerous obstacles at work? Treat them as opportunities to learn and grow instead of something placed squarely in your path to stop you.
As you change the way you handle stress, you should change the way you think about your situation. If you’re telling yourself – even subconsciously – that you’re trapped and experiencing work burnout symptoms, eventually your mind will believe it. This can stop you from taking action which leads to even more stress. One of the most effective ways to ensure you stay happy and don’t experience work burnout is to find a career that involves work you love or learn how to love the work you already do. Sometimes reframing how you look at your career can be the key to stop feeling burned out.
Understanding what to do when burned out is only one step on the road to total wellness. Poor diet and lack of exercise, aging, illness, cost and access to healthcare and stress impact millions of people each year. By taking control of your life and focusing on the elements that you can influence, like choosing to adopt a sustainable health diet and start an exercise regimen, you can become a healthier, stronger and happier person.
Many of these health triggers can be mitigated if you’re aware of them and focus on prevention. Burnout symptoms and other forms of stress are usually quite similar in nature and learning how to deal with them as a whole can prolong your life. While there may not be much you can do about aging, maintaining a healthy, active life goes a long way in retaining mobility and independence. Physical activity can strengthen the body and the mind and help control your stress levels and prevent work burnout. Gaining control of the stressors in your life – including stress itself – can ease symptoms of burnout and help you get back on the road to a happier, healthier life.
Don’t settle for struggling through life under the tyranny of work burnout symptoms. Without health, you won’t achieve any of your goals. Get the support you need with Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within, where you’ll develop strategies to stop feeling burned out and start feeling alive.