We may forget that stress and anxiety can actually impact our health. Burnout is an official medical diagnosis that is caused by extreme work stress. The World Health Organization recently added burnout to the International Classification of Diseases. The three indicators of burnout are feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy. These symptoms are a direct result of too much stress anxiety over job performance and can result in health issues. Here are some ways stress and burnout can impact your health and how to prevent it.
Headaches, Exhaustion, and Insomnia
Chronic burnout can lead to headaches and sleep issues such as insomnia. Headaches can be triggered by tension and stress on the body, whether it’s physical or emotional. High levels of stress and burnout can disrupt sleep patterns because it can make it harder to fall and stay asleep. These two symptoms can lead to general exhaustion, which contributes to the cycle of burnout.
Stressing too much is not healthy for your mind or body. Researchers found that burnout increases a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease as much as smoking or unhealthy body mass index. Burnout can cause a person to have an increased heart rate and high blood pressure, which can lead to a heart attack or other heart issues. Human bodies react to stress by pumping blood to vital organs, like the heart, to prepare it for any high-stress situation. Burnout is indicated by chronic stress, which causes your heart to go into stress-mode and eventually work too hard for too long.
Negative situations at work cause burnout. A great way to prevent work stress to turn into burnout is by planning regular breaks. Take a few days every so often where you completely unplug from work. These days it’s very easy to stay connected to your job 24/7. Take a real break that does not include checking your work email at all. Fill that time by doing something just for you but also allows you to be active. Go for a walk or take and your favorite or a new exercise class. Do an activity that is pure entertainment and not connected to your work. This will help you maximize your time away to recharge and prepare to return to work. Aside from getting away, some other preventative measures to take to combat burnout are to eat a balanced diet, develop a sleep schedule, and get regular exercise. Implementing these preventative measures will help to decrease your chance of experiencing burnout.