mental burnout

Be Mindful About Burnout

Burnout

“I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!” is a famous quote from the movie Network, where the on-air news anchor just can't take the stress anymore. A feeling I’m sure we can all relate to!

It’s a well-known fact, that the workplace can be a hotbed of stress, and that stress can lead to burnout. Deadlines, lack of control, unclear job expectations, bosses, and a dysfunctional environment are work pressures that can all lead to both mental and physical symptoms that, if left unaddressed, can make it difficult to function in day-to-day life. 

Recognizing Burnout

Are you feeling exhausted at the end of your workday? Have you started to hate your job and dread going in? Maybe you have begun to feel as if you are less capable of doing your job? These may all be signs of burnout.

Most of us spend the majority of our days working and when we don't get any satisfaction out of what we're doing, it can take a serious toll. Here are a few “symptoms” that may indicate burnout at work:

  • Stress and frustration

  • Headaches or stomach aches

  • Feeling drained or emotionally exhausted

  • Difficulty concentrating and feeling negative and cynical about work tasks

You can find a more in-depth definition and signs of burnout in this article by Steven Gans MD. 

The Fallout of Burnout

Ignoring the symptoms of job burnout may result in fatigue, insomnia, irritability, high blood pressure, and a lowered immune system. You may even find yourself dealing with your job stress with alcohol, drugs or even food.

Carrying that stress over into your home life can also happen.  Typically, when we’re not happy at our place of work, our relationships tend to suffer as well. As we all well know, ignoring something does not make it go away.

I absolutely love this quote from my friend and colleague Cayce Howe  - which really encapsulates what we can do to move forward through these times. 

Being Mindful

There are many ways of dealing with work pressures. Evaluating a job/career change and seeking support from co-workers, friends or loved ones might help you cope.  Another path that can help is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  Let’s delve into what MBSR can do for workplace burnout and stress.

These two studies looked directly at whether mindfulness meditation might improve job satisfaction, work-related stress, and anxiety. They used MBSR training, sitting meditation, integration of mindfulness into their daily life, and other mindful tools to teach the participants how to deal with their work pressures. At the end of the trial, participants reported improved focus, “less perceived stress, improved physical and emotional health, enhanced sleep, better health-related habits and behaviors, and more self-compassion. What’s more, they also showed significant declines in blood cortisol levels and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, suggesting that both their minds and bodies were less stressed following the program.”

How It Works

Another study found that mindfulness meditation stimulated areas of the brain that may help control emotional reaction and attention and decreased blood levels of interleukin-6, which is associated with inflammatory disease risk. Through these studies, we have learned that meditation is a simple, scientifically validated exercise for your brain that enables you to put space between you and your emotions.  

All of this is to say that taking the time; through Mindfulness, can help to center and relieve stress and anxiety. We often speak about “having a moment to myself” and that is, at its very core - what mindfulness is. Carving out that time to be calm, present, self-aware and alert can carry over into work & home life, with many strong benefits to your health, career, and relationships.

Please remember you are not alone. There is so much strength in asking for help and working towards the life you want.  As always, if I can be helpful in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out! All of my information can be found here