Job Burnout Prevention

By Dr. Jack Singer

job stress burnout

Stress Management Tips: Job Burnout Prevention

Job burnout and stress“Burnout” has been defined as “a state of mental or physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.”

Job burnout is an insidious problem in the American workforce, among all levels of employees.  Frequently undiagnosed, burnout may appear in job statistics of absenteeism statistics, in suicide rates, or in the development of chronic illnesses that keep employees from working.  Ultimately, working oneself to death can be the disguise for job burnout.

Job Conditions That Lead to Burnout

The following conditions have been found to lead to burnout.  Obviously, the more of these that a person has to deal with, the more the likelihood of burnout occurring:

  • Heavy workload
  • Long work hours and difficult deadlines
  • Little participation in decision-making
  • Poor communications within the organization
  • Conflicting or uncertain expectations from supervisors
  • Job insecurity
  • Lack of recognition
  • Poor advancement opportunities
  • Minimal support from supervisors or co-workers
  • Unpleasant or dangerous working environments or conditions

Three Stages of Job Burnout

Now, all of the person’s defenses are worn to a frazzle.  She/he may be overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness.  A lack of motivation, fatigue, cynicism and even suicidal thoughts may be present, along with major physiological symptoms.  Frequent trips to medical specialists who run many tests and find nothing are common occurrences .

Preventing Job Burnout

Of course, being examined my a mental health professional is a wonderful preventive technique.  But what steps can the employee take in order to avoid the symptoms of job burnout?

  • Feel comfortable delegating responsibility at work
  • Find outlets for frustration, like a brisk walk at noon, reading, listening to music, etc.
  • Become assertive and be able to say “no” to excessive demands on your time
  • Feel good about your accomplishments even if you don’t get recognized by supervisors
  • Avoid excessive alcohol, prescription drugs, nicotine and caffeine
  • Look everywhere for humor
  • Remain optimistic in the face of frustration
  • Learn to organize your time
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Practice good nutrition
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Have a friend, spouse or colleague who is a good listener

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

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