NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Managing Your Stress: What Are the Telltale Signs of Workplace Burnout?

In a prior article, Managing Your Stress: The Consequences of Workplace Burnout, I discussed the consequences for workplace burnout for both employees and employers.  In this article, I'm focusing on how you, as an employee, can recognize the telltale signs of workplace burnout.

Managing Your Stress:  What Are the Telltale Signs of Workplace Burnout?

Telltale Signs of Burnout
As I mentioned in my prior article, burnout doesn't occur overnight.  It usually occurs over a span of time, often without a person even realizing it, so it's important to recognize the telltale signs of burnout (outlined below) to avoid experiencing full-fledged burnout:
  • Exhaustion:  Feeling emotionally and physically tired all or most of the time.  You feel like you have little or no energy even after you've rested or slept
  • Problems Paying Attention or Concentrating:  Prolonged stress that leads to burnout can create cognitive problems related to paying attention or concentration.  When relentless stress that causes burnout takes hold and you don't realize what's happening, it can be frightening, especially if you didn't have these cognitive problems before.
  • Lack of Motivation :  Burnout can lead to your feeling that nothing you do will make a difference.  If burnout is severe, you might feel helpless and hopeless to effect change in your work or in yourself.
  • Frustration and Cynicism:  Over time, burnout can cause you to feel frustrated and cynical about your work and life in general, which also affects your motivation.
  • Not Taking Care of Yourself:  Burnout can lead to your not getting enough rest, poor sleep, poor eating habits, poor health, and overall poor self care.  Rather than maintaining a healthy and nurturing social life with people who are important to you in your personal life, you might be so focused on work that you forget to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Obsession With Work:  When you're not maintaining a healthy balance between work and personal life and not taking care of yourself, chances are good that you're obsessed about work even when you're not at work so that you don't get a break from work stressors, which is so important to recharging.
  • Problems With Work Performance:  When you're obsessed with work and you're not getting enough downtime, your work performance can suffer.  There have been many studies that show that employees' work performance is better when they take breaks.
  • Health Problems:  When you don't take care of yourself and you're experiencing burnout, you can develop stress-related health problems, including high blood pressure, heart problems, digestive problems and other related health problems.
Managing Your Stress:  Telltale Signs of Workplace Burnout: Health Problems
  • Mental Health Problems:  Anxiety and depression are common problems as you become overwhelmed by burnout.  Anxiety and depression (or both) can make coping with workplace burnout all the more difficult, especially if these mental health problems remain untreated in therapy.
  • Interpersonal Problems at Work: It's easy to see that if you're having problems with the issues listed above, you might become impatient and irritable with your boss or with coworkers, especially if you're suffering with the symptoms of burnout. 
  • Interpersonal Problems at Home:  Likewise, when you're burnt out, it's very hard to leave work stressors at work, so when you get home, you could be snappy with your spouse or your children.  You might feel too exhausted to interact with them, which can create problems in your family relationships (see my article:  Workplace Stressors:  Are Your Workplace Stressors Affecting Your Family?)
In a future article about workplace burnout, I'll discuss some things you can do if you recognize that you have some or all of telltale signs listed above.

Getting Help in Therapy
As I discussed in my prior article, people often wait until they're experiencing full-fledged burnout (all or most of the symptoms listed above) before they seek help.

Getting Help in Therapy

Getting help from a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping clients with career or work-related issues can make all the difference between avoiding or overcoming workplace burnout.

If you identify with many of the telltale signs of burnout, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to get help so you can lead a more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

One of my specialities is helping clients with career issues, and I have helped many clients to learn how to manage stress and develop healthy stress management strategies to avoid or overcome workplace burnout.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.