The 10 Warning Signs of Occupational Burnout
If you’re a perfectionist, a high-achiever or work in a physically or emotionally demanding occupation, you may be prone to prolonged stress that leads to burnout. No one is immune to burnout, but there are signs to look out for and strategies to manage it once it takes hold.
Although we all experience stress in our professional life, occupational burnout is much more sinister according to psychotherapist Shane Warren. It’s important to understand the difference between stress and burnout, as recovery for burnout requires greater and more intense treatment.
Stress Vs Occupational Burnout: What’s the Difference?
Burnout feels a lot like stress, but is more severe, says Warren. Stress tends to be the experience of one or two symptoms of burnout. It [burnout] is the after effect of a major stress experience. It is the feeling of being totally spent,” he says.
Burnout occurs over a period of time and originates from the adrenal glands being overtaxed and overused, according to Adele Spurgin, a psychometric profiler who runs the BEAT Burnout program.
“Burnout is when the body can’t tell a real threat from a false one, and your body can’t respond hormonally to calm itself down. Therefore, it keeps on looping the same cortisol driven pattern. Stress is like this too but hopefully a one-off event,” says Spurgin.
There are three phases of adrenal fatigue that cause burnout:
1: Stress experienced over a short period of time, such as a project deadline.
2: This is the tired and wired phase.
3: Burnout. This is where the adrenals are depleted.
Stress and the body’s reaction to stress is the precursor to burnout, if not properly addressed or taught coping strategies, says Spurgin.
What Are the Symptoms of Occupational Burnout?
You may be under stress at work, but it may not lead to burnout. However, the following are some common signs that can indicate you have occupational burnout, including:
- A sense of exhaustion
- Lack of motivation
- Struggling to think clearly
- Lack of job output
- Lack of self-care
- Relationship conflicts
- Sense of dissatisfaction
- Preoccupation with work
How to Minimise Your Risk of Burnout
If you want to minimise your risk of burnout it’s important to adhere to some self-care strategies, according to Spurgin.
- Reduce over-committing
- Implement self-care rituals
- Learn how to say ‘no’ resourcefully
- Listen to your body’s needs
- Get adequate sleep
- Fresh air and light exercise
- Essential oil are great to calm the nerves
- Meditation and yoga
- Join a support group
- Consume a healthier diet
- Reduce alcohol and smoking
- Watch inspirational videos
- Journaling and Art therapy
- Learn a new hobby
So, how to minimise your risk of burnout? “Taking time out is an important way to minimise burnout. Self-care is an amazing psychological immunisation strategy, says Spurgin.
“Get into yoga, walking, have regular massages, have your hair done, go out with friends for a drink and laugh. This is very important,” she says.
If you want to learn more about managing stress, you can study stress management as a professional development program. You will learn the skills and knowledge required to handle workplace stress better.
Australian Online Courses
Stress Management is an online professional development program that will provide you with the knowledge, skills and coping strategies to control and manage stress.
In this online stress management course, you will gain an understanding of the many aspects of stress, how it can affect you, your mind and body and provide you with practical ways to manage your stress.
Australian Online Courses is a private training organisation that provides quality, online professional development programs that are flexible in delivery. A state-of-the-art e-Learning platform ensures your education fits with your lifestyle and commitments.
Where to Get Help
If you feel like you may have occupational burnout or a mental health issue, it’s important to get help quickly. You can find further help and advice with a counsellor or by calling places like Beyond Blue.