Sometimes, the harder you work and show the desire to achieve success, the easier it is to get in over your head and lose sight of your mental and physical wellbeing. With the rise of technology and the ability to do work wherever you are, employee burnout is an increasing phenomenon.
In fact, research from the American Psychological Association and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reported that 48 percent of Americans experienced increased stress over the last five years; 31 percent of employed adults have difficulty managing work and family responsibilities; and 53 percent say work leaves them “overtired and overwhelmed.”
Burnout can get the best of you and, unfortunately, it does not matter that you have a strong passion for your work. It is important to recognize the signs that you are burning out so that you can try to make the changes necessary. Here are some of the common signs that you are burning out.
When you start a new job, you also begin the “honeymoon phase,” where you see everything through rose-colored glasses. Your motivation tends to come naturally, and you are just excited to get things rolling and do the absolute best job you can. However, once you begin to enter the burnout state, you will notice that your motivation fades and you struggle to get the job done. While you may complete some tasks, and even complete some of them well, the drive you once had is now gone. So, rather than doing work because you enjoy it, your motivation comes from the fear of missing deadlines, letting people down, or even worse, getting fired.
One of the biggest signs of burning out is the effect it has on your mental and physical health. Some of the common physical signs of burnout is back pain, depression, heart disease, and weight gain amongst others. It is essential that if these symptoms appear, you recognize that work is playing a role in your illness. At that point, you will want to consider whether it is a good idea to continue in the direction you are heading in, or give yourself a necessary break to recharge and feel like yourself again.
You will also find that within the burnout state, you begin to experience cognitive difficulties. Research has shown that stress puts pressure on the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive function. This executive function impacts memory, decision-making, emotional control, and focus. So, if you find yourself making senseless mistakes, or forgetting to complete important tasks, it is likely that you are burning out.
If you find yourself experience some of these signs, one of the best things you can do is seek support from a manager. You might be able to work out a way to take on a smaller workload until you feel like yourself again, or maybe take an extra day off to catch your bearings. In the event you feel like things are getting worse, you should consider taking a much longer break, maybe even a sabbatical. Your health should be your main concern and if you find it being compromised due to work, you should take the necessary steps to bring yourself back to full form.