Burnout is something that has existed for hundreds of years but wasn’t called out by name until the 1970s by an American psychologist named Herbert Freudenberger. Freudenberger coined the term in reference to the mental exhaustion and inability of individuals to properly cope with stress in careers that are emotionally and physically taxing such as careers in healthcare.
Being overworked and feeling apathy, a loss of motivation, and fatigue are not things that are exclusive to care fields like nursing. In fact, burnout affects a wide range of people from a variety of different backgrounds and occupations.
While anyone can succumb to burnout, is there any pattern to how burnout affects people? Below is a closer look at some common causes of burnout, symptoms of burnout, as well as how burnout may affect men differently than women.
What causes burnout?
Burnout is defined by the World Health Organization as a syndrome that results from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” While burnout tends to refer to psychological workplace fatigue, it is also seen in students, parents, and much more. Burnout is caused by a number of factors. The exact cause can vary from person to person.
While each instance of burnout is unique, there tend to be some common threads when it comes to what causes burnout. Below is a closer look at some common causes of burnout. Understanding the causes of burnout can help you to better understand this psychological syndrome and the steps needed to avoid it.
A factor that many people overlook when it comes to causes of burnout is the level of engagement they have in the job or task they are doing. Non-engaging work can greatly contribute to a loss of motivation, increased negativism, and fatigue.
If you compare an individual that is doing a non-engaging job just for a paycheck over an individual that is excited about their work it is easy to see the disadvantage placed on individuals that don’t feel the value of their work or don’t take a sense of pride in it.
Job engagement doesn’t mean that you need to have your dream job, it simply requires you to have some level of personal connection and pride in the work you are doing. Having a good level of engagement with your work or the task at hand can be a great way to help avoid burnout.
Poor work-life balance
Work-life balance refers to having a good balance between your personal time and your career. There are a number of individuals that idealize the “grind” mentality. While working longer hours can help you finish a project on time or achieve other short-term goals, in the long run, you will be much more likely to experience burnout than had you slowed your pace and ensured you had better work-life balance.
Work-life balance is something that may not seem all that important but it truly is one of the best things you can do to combat burnout. Working long hours and not having an opportunity to rest and enjoy things outside of the office can cause you to feel more fatigued. Over time, it’s easy for burnout to set in. Take your allocated breaks and vacation time. Your future self will thank you.
Every job has its ups and downs. Some days may be relaxing and easy, while other days you may get swamped with work. This is a part of any job, but having constantly high workloads and unreasonable expectations could cause burnout if left unchecked.
High workloads and unrealistic expectations can cause you to become mentally exhausted to the point where you simply cannot effectively work in a productive manner. Furthermore, consistently feeling as though you are falling short of expectations can cause you to become more disconnected from your work and lead to feelings of inadequacy.
Setting realistic expectations with others and doing your best to provide yourself with realistic timelines to get things done is important in ensuring you aren’t overworking yourself to the point of burnout.
What are the symptoms of burnout?
Burnout can present in a wide variety of ways in people. Some people become despondent, some show signs of depression, and some may just experience generalized fatigue.
There are many symptoms of burnout. Below is a closer look at some of the most common signs and symptoms of burnout and what you should look out for.
Feeling tired is one symptom of burnout that is fairly common. This symptom makes sense as burnout tends to come as a result of being overworked or pushing yourself too hard. While the mental exhaustion itself can cause burnout, it can also be caused by other secondary factors that can come along with burnout such as not being able to take care of your health.
There are a number of factors that contribute to your ability to stay awake and energized throughout the day. Your cellular health, nutrition, and sleep quality all play a role in enabling you to feel awake and alert. Falling into a state of burnout can cause an individual to focus less on these areas of their life and furthers the symptom of fatigue.
If you are looking to get out of a burnout rut, one of the best things you can do is to give yourself a little TLC and support your health.
Changes in mood and mindset
Another tell that you should be aware of when it comes to burnout is a change in mood and mindset. Many people begin to exhibit negativity toward their line of work or have a shift in their mood. Individuals that may have been pleasant at work can become terser, less open, and less likely to go above and beyond.
This symptom of burnout can be quite detrimental in certain lines of work. It can cause an individual to be a less effective worker and draining for others to be around.
If you begin to notice changes in your mindset or mood in a job you have otherwise found enjoyable and pleasant, it may indicate that you need a break. Take a vacation or at least do some detective work and figure out the underlying reason behind those feelings.
How does burnout affect men?
Stress is something that we all face but how exactly we deal with it depends on a number of different factors including upbringing, biology, and gender. While gender doesn’t dictate how you will deal or cope with stress, men and women will tend to have similar tendencies.
A Florida Atlantic University study found that men were less likely than women to indicate high levels of stress. This finding could indicate that men experience less stress but more than likely it illustrates that men are less open about stress.
Another study that looked at the gender differences in how burnout is experienced found that men were more likely to experience depersonalization than women and were less likely to experience emotional exhaustion. These differences are slight but do point to a slight difference in how burnout affects men when compared to women.
Ways to manage burnout
Burnout is not something that comes overnight and takes time to develop. Once it sets in, however, burnout can be difficult to overcome. Below is a closer look at some great tips to consider if you are trying to overcome burnout.
Take care of yourself
One of the best ways you can ward off feelings of burnout is to take care of yourself. Taking a weekend getaway, getting a weekly massage, focusing on healthy eating, or even regular exercise can do wonders to help rejuvenate you and help you get past burnout.
Taking care of your body can help your overall health and simultaneously help you more effectively manage stress.
Seek professional help
Seeking professional assistance is one of the best things you can do when it comes to learning how to more effectively manage stress and sort through your internal thoughts and feelings.
While burnout isn’t something that requires a therapist to get through, it sure can be helpful to have someone listen to your situation, provide insight, and even provide you with tools and resources to help.
In summary, burnout is real. Burnout can impact men differently than women, but it’s a drain on everyone who experiences it.
While work stress can place you in a situation where you are fatigued, exhausted, and not at your best, there are a number of ways to get you back on a road to success. You can start by helping to support your health and get some feelings of energy back with MitoQ.
Understanding that burnout is temporary and that you have the ability to get better by taking care of yourself is important and hopefully, this article has given you the hope you need to overcome your own burnout.
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