Burnout in the workplace is a hot topic right now, and it’s easy to see why. Especially with the added stress of the ongoing pandemic, people all over the world are unhappy with their jobs. More and more people are feeling disengaged, overworked, and believe that the work to which they pour in all their effort is becoming increasingly pointless. Burnout has become such a pervasive issue that it now has its own official diagnosis, as the World Health Organization characterizes it by “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and reduced professional efficacy.” So what exactly brings about this epidemic and what can we do to mitigate it?
Causes of Burnout
Burnout is most commonly caused by working too many hours, taking on too many projects, or simply dedicating too much of your energy to your work. If you're exhausted or find that no matter how much work you put in, you're barely getting through your to-do list, it's time to take a break before your lack of energy affects the quality of your life.
Lack of Career Growth
Whenever businesses become stagnant and there’s no prospect for progression or advancement, burnout can soon set in. If you feel like your career is languishing—that you’re stuck in a role you don’t care about any longer, at an organization that’s no longer growing—it can lead to feelings of resentment, cynicism, and negativity.
If you feel like you’ve been doing the exact same thing every single day for a long time, it can get quite mind-numbing and lead to burnout.
What You Can Do
Social Support System
Dealing with or preventing burnout boils down to enlisting the help of coworkers, loved ones, friends, and, yes, your boss. Reach out to a friend or family member and tell them how you're feeling. You don't even have to discuss the aspects of your employment that irritate you. Simply developing relationships with individuals around you can often provide you with a fresh perspective on your situation, which can make all the difference. Remember that you are not as isolated or alone as you may believe.
Find Meaning Outside of Work
If your job is taking over your life and negatively impacting other elements of your life, it's time to focus on something you care about instead of dwelling on the cause of the negativity. Some good outlets include working out and spending time on hobbies. The idea is to create value outside of your job.
Burnout is an epidemic in modern workplaces, and it’s a disheartening subject to tackle as it’s difficult to talk about. It’s not always easy to get over, so if need be, talk with a professional. Bear in mind that you are more than your work and it’s never worth it to be consumed by it.