Along with so many other things, the awareness of job burnout has been heightened during the pandemic. The World Health Organization defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” 

When you’re under stress, you struggle to cope with pressures. When you’re suffering from burnout, you’ve given up hope of overcoming those pressures. Burnout is a condition caused by an individual’s work. There are three main signs:

  1. Energy depletion or exhaustion
  2. Mental distance from your job or negative feelings related to your job
  3. Reduced motivation and an inability to meet obligations

Symptoms of Job Burnout

Physical symptoms of job burnout can include insomnia, fatigue, changes in eating habits, headaches, and stomachaches. Mental and emotional symptoms can include feelings of helplessness, cynicism, reduced productivity, frustration, and irritability. North Ottawa Wellness Foundation has online tips and tools focused on Workplace Wellbeing.

The Prevalence of Burnout 

Burnout has increased significantly over the past two years. The impact of the Great Resignation has further intensified pressures on remaining staff. Many for-impact organizations are challenged with increased demands for services with fewer resources. Mosaic Counseling provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for organizations. Opportunity Thrive offers services to support the mental health of educators.

How to Address Job Burnout

Chances are you or someone you know is struggling with burnout. People experiencing burnout need external support. It can’t be “fixed” with a vacation or self-care, and it is not realistic for someone experiencing burnout to rescue themselves. Arbor Circle has a variety of programs that serve individuals, children, and families. The Momentum Center provides programming and support groups for adults and teens. 

If you’re experiencing burnout symptoms, you’re not alone. The best course of action is to see your primary care physician or a mental health professional. Ask your employer about services that may be available to you. The Ottawa County Community Mental Health website has resources for people in crisis and those seeking access to mental health services.

We need to take care of ourselves so we can continue to take care of one another. The next time you greet a colleague, rather than saying the typical, “Hi, how are you?”, try asking “How are you feeling today?”

This content is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you or someone you know is having an emergency, call 911 or go the nearest emergency room.