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Signs Of Burnout At Work: How To Deal With Workplace Stress


by Johan Quie, November 9, 2021

Some of the main culprits of work-related stress usually include long hours, heavy workload, professional insecurity, and conflicts with co-workers or bosses.

Signs of burnout at work can be easily recognized, one has only to watch for things like drops in work performance, sadness, or even anxiety and sleeping difficulties and nervousness.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for employers to recognize that their employees are stressed at work – mainly because work-related stress is a significant health and life safety issue.

A responsible company can – and should always prioritize employees’ wellbeing at work, as well as take steps to ensure that their workforce is not subjected to unnecessary stress.

If you are in doubt that some of your colleagues experience stress on the job, and have no idea how to help them – I welcome you to my article, hoping that these few tricks might do the thing and show them how to handle pressure at work.

Symptoms Of Work-Related Stress

Signs or symptoms of work-related stress can be physical, psychological, and behavioral, and although you are not competent to test their origins, just be sure to recognize in time changes closely connected to physical and psychological behavior.

People who are physically stressed at work usually feel:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Muscular tension
  3. Headaches
  4. Heartbeat exhilaration
  5. They have sleeping difficulties or insomnia
  6. Their stomach is upset, causing diarrhea or constipation
  7. Sometimes workplace stress can cause rashes and redness on people’s skin, especially in the neck and chest area

Psychological signs of burnout at work are:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Disinterest or isolation
  3. The feeling of discouragement and overwhelmed
  4. Mood swings, especially towards pessimism and heightened irritability (sometimes even aggression)
  5. Reduced ability to concentrate, be creative, or make decisions

Man holding his head while working

Work-related stress arises where work demands exceed the person’s capacity and capability to cope. Stress on the job is the second most common illness/injury in America, just after musculoskeletal disorders.

Work-related stress can be caused by various events. Besides feeling pressured by the demands of the job (short/long hours or responsibilities), the greatest fear is the discomfort and bad management

Conflict with co-workers or bosses, constant change, and threats to job security (potential redundancy) can also influence our sense of distress at work.

Self-Help For The Individual Stressed At Work

How to handle pressure at work (long-term)?

In today’s competitive business world, stress is an inevitable part of our life. Especially after COVID, stress at work can affect people in multiple ways – that’s why it’s of utmost importance to learn how to manage and handle pressure at work in order to exclude burnouts.

Think about the changes you should make at work in order to reduce your stress levels. Some actions can mean that you learn how you can manage yourself better, while other measures may include cooperation with others.

Identify And Tackle The Underlying Causes

Identifying what causes you to feel stressed in the workplace is the first step towards learning how to manage stress at work. 

The most common causes of work-related stress are work pressure, poor organization, and lack of support from managers.

If your cause of stress at work is closely related to work, try talking about your concerns with your employer or human resources manager.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

If you are experiencing signs of burnout at work, consider the benefits of regular relaxation. You could try meditation or yoga. Relaxation in the workplace is a way to lower stress levels, reduce absenteeism, and improve productivity

While it may not be possible to always avoid stressful situations, finding solace in those moments can certainly ease the mental and emotional strain you may be experiencing.

Improve Your Diet And Exercise Regularly

Take care of yourself. Try to incorporate healthy habits, and have a healthy diet 80% of the time (in a week). Regular exercises can also be a nice way of relieving yourself of accumulated stress and anxiety. 

Cut back on smoking, alcohol, and caffeine consumption. These habits can worsen the impact of stress caused by work. All of them work as stimulants or deprive your body of oxygen.

Avoid Working Long Hours (Regularly)

Make sure you are well organized so you don’t end up working on everything at the last moment. List your tasks in order of priority. Schedule the most difficult tasks of each day for times when you are fresh. Mornings are the perfect time for it.

Long working hours are a ubiquitous phenomenon amongst companies where the length of time spent on work, comprising tasks, commuting, etc, is too long and detrimental to the health of workers.

Man walking out the door

Studies have shown that long working hours increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases, chronic fatigue, stress, depressive state, anxiety, sleep quality, cause mortality, alcohol use and smoking, and many other harmful health behaviors.

Make Sure You Take Holidays

Research shows that Americans work more than people in any country in the industrialized world. We take less vacation, work longer hours and longer days, and even retire later in life. 

But all of these factors combined provide a perfect “stress” storm.

To avoid the negative effects of chronic workplace stress and burnout, we need time to replenish every level of functioning, to “switch off” from work, and have periods of time when you are not engaged in work-related activities, nor thinking about work. 

Workplace stress is a growing problem around the world. When a person is stressed at work it affects their health and well-being, their productivity, and the balance inside the firm.

Another thing that is well known is the correlation between stress, and physical, and mental health.  Stress is a strong contributor to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, decreased immune defenses, stomach, and sleep problems.

The bottom line is, taking time away from the stresses of work can improve your health, motivation, relationships, job performance, and the overall perspective we need to do our jobs better, and be able to handle whatever arises in our daily work life.

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