Have you heard a coworker say, or maybe you are saying it yourself, “I need a bottle of wine”. Where the normal “glass of wine” used to preside, the whole bottle has become the lingo. Or maybe someone wants to “numb out” and binge watch their favorite show all day. Maybe it’s a routine stop after work to indulge in something else which will keep his or her mind off of the stressful day. Even excessive exercise can be an escape.
All these can be symptoms of burnout. The Mayo Clinic talks about symptoms on their website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642
The Mayo Clinic offers these questions you can ask yourself to see if you have the symptoms:
- Have you become cynical or critical at work?
- Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
- Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
- Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
- Do you find it hard to concentrate?
- Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
- Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
- Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
- Have your sleep habits changed?
- Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?
I do believe these can be causes of other things besides job burnout, but it is important to keep an eye on it.
So what can we do if we answer one or more of these questions? We have been talking about some of these things. If you are having physical symptoms, consult your doctor and your mental health support. We have talked about the importance of having someone listening and helping to bring light to ongoing issues. I also recommend talking to your supervisor/boss/manager or mentor within your job. Being able to ask for understanding or help can be incredibility liberating. Setting appropriate goals can help you get back on track. If you are physiologically unsafe to bring it up with your superior, consider other avenues to gain support or look for other job opportunities. If you are unsafe, confide in a trusted friend and find a way to get the right help.
Other options can come from relaxing techniques, exercise, definitely sleep and the mindful training we talked through earlier this year. Being able to pause during overwhelming and stressful experiences either after work, during work or even before heading into a stressful day can give you the mental break you need without reaching for a substance or habit which can be detrimental to your long-term health and wellbeing.
I recently heard an author mentor in my own life, Dallas Willard, talk about habits. He said we have to find the root of the problem before we can change. I agree, and in the same way, we can’t just slap a bandaid on burnout. We have to go to the root. Whether we are drinking a whole bottle of wine without realizing it or being so critical of coworkers we are loosing friends at work before we recognize our patterns, we need to search for the roots of the problems. What causes us to hit the bottle or be harmful with our words? (Check out my previous blog about habits.)
Let’s first realize our patterns which might be symptoms of burnout. Then, start looking for the roots of these habits. Next week, I will talk about my own burnout and steps I took to find the roots of the habits. I look forward to having you join me!