Chronic stress can turn into toxic stress and lead to burnout before you know it. In the workplace, burnout can cause decreased productivity and creativity and eventually lead to higher than normal turnover. Managing stress at work is a team effort, and it takes open and honest communication between employees and management about what changes need to be made on both an individual and a group basis. Within the United States, 77% of professionals, including 84% of Millennials, have felt burned out, and 51% have felt burned out more than once. How can we address the burnout epidemic and get lives and work back on track?
Who Feels Burnout The Most?
Those in high-stress workplaces tend to report more feelings of burnout. Lawyers, doctors and other healthcare professionals, teachers, and those in the tech fields tend to report a lot of burnout. But anyone who worries about jobs, money, or health can easily develop feelings of burnout.
Stress is a normal part of life, but when we have too much of it and we aren’t good at letting it go, it can build up to unhealthy levels. What’s more, 63% of those who report feeling burned out at work also report that their coping mechanisms involve a lot of unhealthy behaviors.
64% of workers report feeling stressed or frustrated at work more than once a week, but this is not necessarily burnout. They report this stress is often due to a high-pressure environment, a lack of support from management, and unrealistic expectations.
What’s more, one in three employees blame technology for their growing stress. They feel that technology has created an increase in their workloads, tighter deadlines, and social isolation. If you can’t leave work at work and are expected to be able to answer emails within minutes even outside of working hours, are you ever really leaving work at all?
How Chronic Stress Leads To Burnout
During times of stress your cortisol levels increase anywhere from two to five times their normal baseline. Over time if these levels are sustained, it can lead to problems with memory and learning, including normal tasks done in an office environment. Over time it can also lead to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, depression, and more.
Most workplace stress is short-term stress that eventually resolves on its own. If you have a deadline your stress is most likely to subside after you reach your goal. But if the source of your workplace stress is your working conditions, your chronic stress could eventually catch up to you.
The World Health Organization classifies burnout as a syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress. So how can you learn to cope?
Learning To Cope With Stress To Avoid Burnout
Simple lifestyle changes can help you reduce your stress levels. Proper diet and exercise are probably two of the most important things, and getting enough sleep at night is also pretty standard advice. Asking for accommodations when you have extra stress in your personal life, such as illness or death of a loved one, can also go a long way toward reducing your overall stress load.
Employers can combat the burnout epidemic by offering accommodations for work/life balance. Employees who feel supported and cared for as individuals are less likely to suffer from burnout, which means less turnover and greater productivity for your company.
Learn more about fighting the burnout epidemic from the infographic below.