You thought you’ve found your dream job, but it just made you tired and snappy all the same? Could myths about Millennials being lazy and narcissistic actually be true? How come that an occupation you’ve been working hard for has got you so fed up so soon? Are you really that spoiled and impatient?
No, you most definitely are not.
The American Institute of Stress is often asked to construct an official list of most stressful jobs. The fact that we still haven’t received one only goes to show that no occupation is harder or more challenging than other ones. It’s the people-environment fit that matters, not the job or the person.
According to NIOSH report, 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful.
That’s almost a half of us complaining about the usual signs of burnout. None of them means that you are unassertive, sluggish, or spoon-fed, nor that you’ve spent your entire life pursuing a career that isn’t for you. Work burnout signs only mean that you are human.
Here’s what they are, and how to recognize them.
Fatigue is not your everyday tiredness. The symptoms feel similar, though – a fatigued person is sleepy and experiences muscle weakness, slow reflexes and responses, just as well as impaired decision-making and moodiness. But, unlike tired people, they feel physically and mentally indisposed for days.
The best way to find out whether you’re fatigued or just tired is to try and sleep it off. If you don’t wake up refreshed, your sleepiness is probably chronic. You might notice headaches and dizziness too, but the worst things about fatigue are low motivation, poor focus, and short-term memory problems.
If you’re not feeling well-rested after you wake up, chances are that you’re suffering from insomnia as well. As a sleep disorder, it’s not only common in people who work night shifts or have a hectic work schedule, but also in people who are frustrated about their performance or who are simply burnt out.
Of course, in order to diagnose yourself with insomnia, you’d have to have difficulties falling asleep. Insomniacs usually wake up during the night, or very early in the morning. They feel tired and sleepy throughout the day, which makes them irritable, anxious, depressed, and prone to mistakes at work.
According to Harvard Health Blog, stress and anxiety are just one of seven causes of chronic forgetfulness. If your memory slips are more frequent than before, lack of sleep, medications, depression, alcohol, and inactive thyroid might all be responsible for your aggravating condition.
Unfortunately, each of these reasons can be linked to how your work environment makes you feel. Whether you’re constantly tired or stressed out, try to take better care of your immune system and your hormones. Eat brain foods to boost your memory and focus, and try to get a good night’s sleep.
Do you get easily upset or frustrated? Perhaps you find it really hard to control your anger? If so, your work burnout has made you experience a confusing feeling of agitation, which experts like to call the irritable mood. Though it’s natural in children, irritability afflicts thousands of healthy adults as well.
But, what can you do about it if you can’t really control the effect your job has on your psychological state? Aside from stress, anxiety and depression, common causes of irritability can be physical and hormonal too, so make sure to check your blood sugar, to get some sleep, and to get regular exercise.
Stressful tasks and toxic environment can quickly amount to work-related anxiety, which can be severe, long-lasting, and eventually trigger the development of anxiety disorders. You can recognize it by dizziness, chest pains, headaches, neck tension, upset stomach, nausea, and shortness of breath.
If your work makes you anxious, but you still love it enough to entirely give up on what you do, there are some strategies you can employ. Make sure to stay busy after work, to exercise on a daily basis, and to gamify your tasks. Whatever you do, seek balance between underachieving and overachieving.
Unless you’re a dedicated workaholic, even the slightest problem in your life can make you less productive. In a context of a workplace, employee productivity usually drops due to the poor management, employee dissatisfaction, or workers’ personal problems. Find out what causes yours.
In case you’re dissatisfied with how you seniors or peers are treating you, address someone from the office who can actually help you with that. In case your low productivity comes from the inside, explore steps for continuous self-motivation. Experts claim there’s nothing as powerful as a positive attitude.
It may happen that your productivity is just fine, and that you don’t feel any symptoms of anxiety or stress at all. What’s manifested in a form of irritability or depression in most of your co-workers, for you is simply a case of increased cynicism. In your office, you are April Ludgate from Parks and Rec.
Cynicism can still ruin your job experience, not to mention that your sarcastic remarks can actually ruin somebody else’s day. You are distrustful, rude, and pessimistic about the future. It’s good that you want to change that. Pay a visit to HR, talk about your problem, and make a gradual attitude shift.
Disruption of Work-Life Balance
The worst thing about burnout signs is that you cannot possibly leave them in the office. They will follow you home, and since they’ve been in your way the entire day, unfinished work will join them too. Sooner or later, you’ll start falling asleep with spreadsheets and invoices on your pillow.
In virtually any case, burnout leads to disruption of work-life balance. The boundaries you’ve set in between your office and you family home will be tested, and eventually cut off. But, if you want to fight the early signs of burnout, your work-life balance is exactly where you need to start.
Always keep your work and your life separate – whatever happens in the office, and however mentally challenging of physically overwhelming it may be, convince yourself that it can wait until tomorrow. Put a kettle on, go grocery shopping with your family, and treat yourself with some quality me time.
That way, you’ll be rested, healthy, and motivated enough to endure the continual pressure of a modern-day workplace.