Chances are you or someone close to you has hit a wall at work, becoming depressed, exhausted, and unable to cope.
In fact, according to a new study from the University of Chicago, the chances are a staggering 1 in 2.
The term "burnout" was originally coined in the 1970s by American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger to describe the consequences of the severe stress and high ideals in "helping" professions. For example, doctors and nurses who sacrifice themselves for others, often to the point of becoming exhausted, listless, and unable to cope.
However, today, we've simply accepted that level of overextension as a way of life and as a result, people from all professions are falling into the grips of burnout.
How many? Well, over the past 2 decades, the number of American workers suffering from workplace burnout has ballooned from 18% to 50%.
According to Dr. Paul Rosch of the American Institute of Stress, job stress is estimated to cost American industry up to $300 billion a year due to "absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, workers compensation awards and other legal expenses, direct medical and insurance costs."
Even more worrying is how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights long-term burnout as not a symptom of a stressful lifestyle, but a major health concern in itself.
Burnout is real and has real consequences, both on the health of your employees and your bottom line. Luckily, with more and more information on the symptoms of burnout, we can find ways to preempt its negative consequences and keep a healthier, productive workplace.
3 common symptoms of burnout (and how to treat them)
Christina Maslach, a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has been studying burnout since the 1970s. In one of her most recent studies she identified 3 major signs that you're on the verge of burnout:
Feeling emotionally drained and mentally unwell. Nausea. Being unable to sleep or constantly fighting sicknesses like head colds.
Feeling alienated by your colleagues and bosses, feeling constantly underappreciated, or feeling ostracized by them.
Feeling you are not personally achieving your best, or are regularly "phoning it in."
If any of these sound familiar, you might want to take a step back and think about how you got to that point. Then, try one of these techniques to help combat the symptoms.
Use focused breathing to help manage or reduce stress
Break your workday up with regular breaks. The Pomodoro technique recommends working for 20 minutes and then taking a 5 minute break away from your desk.
Make changes to your workspace by using an ergonomic chair, standing desk, or even just bringing in a small plant
Find a mentor or someone you trust to openly discuss work-related issues
Pick up a hobby outside of work that helps you decompress and dissociate from your job. For added health benefits, try picking up a new sport or exercise like yoga or boxing.