Jesse Gould, a psychiatrist at Washington University in St. Louis, knows that is on the way burn out The moment you wake up and you’re immediately angry about what you find in your email inbox, and you don’t want to get out of bed.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that a healthcare professional trying to fight the rise of burnout may find themselves feeling exhausted at times. After all, this phenomenon is now ubiquitous in our culture.
In Survey of 1,500 US workers in 2021more than half of them said that Feeling tired as a result of the demands of your joband a huge 4.3 million Americans quit his job in December, an event that became known as “Great resignation”,
When people think of burnout, mental and emotional symptoms such as feelings of helplessness and cynicism often come to the fore. But burnout can also lead to physical symptoms, and experts say it can be smart to look for the signs and take action when a person notices them.
Burnout, by its general definition, is not a medical condition—it is a manifestation of “chronic, persistent stress,” explained Lotte Darby, a medical scientist who studies burnout at the Mayo Clinic. World Health Organization (WHO) To describe Burnout as a work phenomenon characterized by feelings of exhaustion, cynicism and reduced effectiveness.
Janet Bennett, a researcher studying the effects of stress on health at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, said, “The person begins to not function well, to miss deadlines, to feel hopeless, perhaps To show jealousy with coworkers.”
But stress can have a wear-and-tear effect on the body, especially when it doesn’t subside after a while — so it makes sense that it can also cause physical symptoms, Bennett said.
When people are stressed, their bodies experience changes that include producing higher than normal levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
These changes in the body are beneficial in the short term – they provide the person with the energy to overcome difficult situations – but over time they start to harm the body.
Our bodies “were not designed for the kind of stress we face today,” said Christina Maslach, a social psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley who has devoted her career to the study of burnout.
Here’s how to recognize burnout in your body and what to do about it.
what to see
A common symptom of burnout is insomnia, Dyrbye said. When Italian researchers researched the situation frontline health workers who were suffering burn out At the first peak of the pandemic, they met that 55% reported having difficulty sleeping, and about 40% reported having nightmares.
Research indicates that chronic stress interferes with the complex neurological and hormonal systems that regulate sleep. It is a vicious cycle, as not getting enough sleep makes the system worse. If you find yourself unable to sleep at night, it could be a sign that you’re suffering from burnout, Dyerby said — and insomnia can exacerbate the problem.
Physical exhaustion is another common sign. Gould said one of the major symptoms of his burnout was fatigue. “I found myself falling asleep every day after finishing work—and wondering what was wrong with me. What was wrong was burnout,” she said.
Changes in eating habits — eating more or less than usual — can also be a sign of burnout.
In a study of Italian healthcare workers, 56% of respondents reported a change in their eating habits. People may eat less because they are too busy, or distracted, or they may begin to crave that comfort food that we get when we need something that makes us feel better. Bennett said.
There are studies that also indicate That stress hormones can affect appetite, causing people to feel less hungry than usual when they are very stressed, and hungry when stress is relieved.
Gould said burnout can also lead to headaches and abdominal pain.
A study of people in Sweden who suffer from fatigue disorder -a medical condition similar to burnout- found that 67% of them experienced nausea, gas or indigestion, and 65% had a headache.
It is also important to realize that Burnout can develop along with depression or anxiety., two conditions capable of causing physical symptoms. Depression can cause muscle aches, abdominal pain, sleep problems, and changes in appetite. Anxiety has been linked to headaches, nausea and difficulty breathing.
What to do
If you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be a sign of burnout, consider consulting with your GP or mental health professional to determine whether these symptoms are stress-induced or stem from other physical conditions, Dyerby said. Don’t ignore symptoms and assume they don’t matter.
“It’s really easy to disregard our own traits, especially in our culture where we are taught to work hard,” Gould said.
If there is indeed burnout, the best solution is to address the root of the problem. Burnout is usually recognized when it is due to work, but chronic stress can have many causes – financial problems, difficulties in relationships, and the burden of taking care of others, among other things.
Maslach said, “Think about those stones in your shoes that you have to deal with all the time, and look for creative ways to remove some of them, at least occasionally. Maybe you can ask your partner.” Huh Help babies sleep moreOr ordering food on days when he’s especially busy, so you don’t even have to worry about dinner.
Maslach said that despite coverage of the issue in popular culture, burnout cannot be “cured” through improved health care. In fact, this implication only exacerbates the problem, as it places responsibility and blame on those who suffer from burnout and means they must do more to feel better, which is not the case, she said. .
But even so, certain lifestyle choices can reduce your chances of burnout. For example, social support can help, according to Gold. may include talk to a doctor Or meet up with friends (even if via Zoom). Another thing that can help is the mental health or fitness benefits your employer may provide. Getting more sleep is another thing that can be beneficial—so if you suffer from insomnia, talk to a doctor about possible treatments, suggests Bennett.
when Burnout is caused by work related issuesAsking for better working conditions can be a positive.
Maslach suggests talking to coworkers and offering employer ideas that might help — like creating quiet areas for breaks and personal phone conversations, Adopting “non-meeting days” so workers have more time to stay focusedOr make sure there is always coffee in the room used for breaks.
Even small changes like these can slightly reduce the risk of burnout, if they address a problem that people face every day. “It’s the chronic stress at work that really drives people crazy after a while – they don’t have the tools they need, they don’t have the things they need, they don’t have the workload to do.” There aren’t enough allies.” Maslach said.
Gould said taking time off from work can also help, but will only serve as a stopgap. She likens this technique to trying to prevent a ship from sinking by drawing water from inside the hull with a bucket. “The ship will keep sinking, won’t you? You’ve got to do more than just get the water out occasionally,” she said. But still it is important that one has regular holidays.
Ultimately, what you want to make sure is some freedom and autonomy in your job, Gold said. “Anything you can do to regain some control can be really helpful,” she said. This may mean doing your least favorite thing at work right before the break, so you have some incentive to start the task and recover afterward. Or try swapping a task you don’t like with a coworker, and instead doing the thing he hates the most, but may not be as difficult for you.
Finally, while you don’t want to add even more commitments to your schedule, try to set aside some time each day to do something you love, Derby said. in your researchShe found that surgeons who make time for their hobbies — even just 15 to 20 minutes a day — are less likely to suffer from burnout than surgeons who don’t.
“You need to do something outside of work that helps you de-stress, helps you focus, and helps you relax,” she said.
Paulo Migliacci. translation by