Work Stress and Burnout

29 March 2023

Work Stress and Burnout

Work Stress and Burnout

Straight to the point: How bad is it? How to reduce it?

— What is it?

Have you ever heard of burnout? Maybe you have - what is it? It is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion of a worker, which results from prolonged exposure to work-related problems. Although burnout was developed and studied mainly in health-related professions, we now know that it can occur in virtually any profession: from teachers, to lawyers, administrative staff, logistics, designers and even musicians.

— Burnout Symptoms

The symptoms are usually divided into 3 categories: physical and emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and low level of achievement. What does this mean?

Physical and emotional exhaustion - you feel tired all the time, and you don't feel enough energy to cope with the working day even if it is a relatively undemanding day.

Depersonalisation/cynicism - previously you might have felt motivated to work with people but now you find yourself more easily irritated, out of patience, disengaged and with less empathy for others (colleagues or customers). It can get to the point where you "don't give a damn"... and those who know you may notice and even comment.

Low level of achievement - your productivity drops (maybe because it's harder to concentrate, to think, to remember things) and your confidence in your abilities starts to drop. You are in a loop: less productivity - less confidence - less productivity.

— What causes it?

Several factors can increase the risk of burnout:

1. Excessive workload;
2. Job insecurity (fear of being fired);
3. Pressure to reach goals but without increasing job satisfaction;
4. Lack of control over the way of working;

— Any tips or strategies?

Let's do it but with one condition: they are not infallible and they are not "all for everyone". It depends not only on "you", your profile, personality and even genetics but also on your work context... Having said that, let's go:

  1. Are you a manager? Ask your staff what are the main sources of work stress and see if there is anything you can do about it;
  2. Are you not a manager? Is your line manager available to talk about these things? Talk. Share the main sources of work stress, discuss their link to productivity and suggest some possible solutions;
  3. Get it off your chest with friends or family;
  4. Put exercise, leisure activities and sociability into your weekly routine;
  5. I know it's basic but: check your sleeping habits - do you get enough sleep? And also the eating habits: watch out for excess caffeine and sugars. Why? Because they can be linked to mood swings.

At work:

  1. Create good relationships with colleagues - they are often the first resource for dealing with problems;
  2. Prioritise, starts with the most urgent;
  3. Schedule work in a balanced way;
  4. Leave home 5 minutes earlier if it helps to avoid traffic;
  5. Establish healthy limits: I can't make it by this deadline, I can't make it this week, I won't give up this or that event in my personal life, etc.;
  6. Delegate / cooperate in whatever is possible;
  7. Ask for time off or holidays if you need them;
  8. Do you have "bad habits"?
  • Resist perfectionism;
  • Don't try to control the uncontrollable;
  • Look for humour in the situation (without minimising too much);
  • Keep the space organised.

Raul Manarte, Clinical Psychologist

OPP: 1452


Raul Manarte

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