Are you emotionally exhausted, cynical and feeling hopeless? You could be experiencing burnout, which is now being considered a legitimate public health crisis by Harvard as well as several health organizations.
Burnout is more than just having a tough day or week — psychologist Sheryl Ziegler, the author of “Mommy Burnout,” published last year, describes the condition as “chronic stress gone awry.”
What’s more is that anyone can experience burnout — from parents to doctors and other high-stress daily duties, rates are on the rise across the board.
A survey among Human Resources leaders showed that 95 percent feel as though burnout is “sabotaging workplace retention.” One reason for this, they say, is the overly heavy workloads put on employees.
“Organizations typically reward employees who are putting in longer hours and replace workers who aren’t taking on an increased workload, which is a systematic problem that causes burnout in the first place,” says Dan Schawbel, research director of Future Workplace, the firm that conducted the survey.
Of course, there are other elements at play: experts say that social media, the 24-hour news cycle and general accessibility of technology all contribute to the rising pressure to check work emails outside the office.
In some cases, burnout can have truly disastrous results. In the medical field, for example, it may increase the chance of medical errors, according to a recent report from Harvard and Massachusetts medical organizations.
If you’re experiencing physical or emotional ailments that may be symptomatic of burnout, it’s important to take the right steps to focus on your health.
Take an increased effort to practice self-care: physical exercise, sleep and real-life social connections can be major influencers that help combat the emotional turmoil of burnout. And of course, never hesitate to seek professional help.
It may be difficult to take a few steps back from your obligations, but it’s often necessary to ground yourself, provide clarity, improve wellbeing and rediscover the purpose in your everyday life.
“At first, you might panic that you’re not “accomplishing” something,” writes Jenny Rough in The Washington Post . “But before long, you may notice you’ve moved farther away from a breaking point. Your downward spiral will change directions.”
To view the survey conducted by Harvard and Massachusetts medical organizations, click here .
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