Combatting Burnout on the Job

Julie Shenkman
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If you're experiencing job burnout, you're definitely not alone. Job burnout due to extra-long work hours, stressful work conditions, demanding bosses, lack of an adequate work-life balance or complete mental exhaustion affects millions of people. When a person is experiencing burnout, problems at work often seem insurmountable. Worst of all, burnout can have a very negative impact on a person's health. Learn more about work-related burnout and what you can do about this issue.

Burnout Epidemic

According to the National Academy of Medicine, job burnout is an epidemic among health care workers in the United States. Based on recent medical studies, as many as half of all physicians and one-third of hospital nurses in the United States experience the symptoms associated with burnout. Experts in the medical field believe the burnout starts before students graduate and enter the workforce, as most medical schools and nursing programs are known for their rigorous training programs. The structure of the health system also contributes to burnout, as many health care practitioners are overworked and constantly on-call. Job burnout due to stressful work conditions affects workers in most other industries as well, and the rate of burnout doesn't seem to be slowing down.

The Effects of Burnout

There are countless negative effects of work-related burnout. The most obvious effect is that burnout breeds inefficiency. Lower-quality job performance, a diminished commitment to customer or patient satisfaction, and constant errors are common among workers experiencing burnout. This effect can be dangerous, particularly in a medical setting, as providing error-prone care can have disastrous or even fatal results. Burnout can lead to depression, work-related anxiety, increased alcohol or drug use, alienation from family and even family conflict. It's not uncommon for people experiencing burnout to suffer in silence, but the effects of burnout are often noticeable.

What Can Be Done?

While quitting your job is definitely an option, it should be a last resort. If you put a lot of time and effort into getting your current position, you probably don't want to jump ship too quickly. First, talk to your boss about your job burnout, and let him know what type of assistance you need to continue performing at your peak. For example, if you desperately need a permanent assistant or help with specific tasks, let your boss know. It's also a good idea to speak to employees who are not experiencing burnout. Choose one or two people you trust, and let them know you're sinking. Then, ask for tips or suggestions that can help you combat your burnout.

It's also important to make time for yourself outside of work. Get enough sleep and exercise, and eat a healthy diet. Spend time with friends and loved ones as much as possible, and make time to do things you enjoy. These actions can do wonders when it comes to reducing workplace stress and burnout.

Job burnout doesn't happen overnight. Even if you love your industry and organization, burnout can occur if the day-to-day stresses of your job cause physical and mental exhaustion. If you're dealing with job burnout, do whatever you can to combat it, even if this means reducing your work hours, taking a leave of absence or transferring to another company.

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