burnout at workBurnout at work and stress are on the rise. According to a 2010 article by the American Psychological Association, most Americans are suffering from moderate to severe stress with 44% saying they have seen an increase in their stress levels in the past 5 years. Is burnout at work the new normal? Globally, being under stress is diagnosed twice as often in women as it is in men, thus leading to the misconception that men do not suffer from burnout as frequently as women do. However, JAMA Psychiatry recently published a study examining this disparity from a new perspective by considering different symptoms of burnout typical to men.  

Some of the different symptoms common in men are angered attacks, aggression, substance abuse and risk taking. The result of the study proved that when alternative and traditional symptoms of burnout and stress are considered men and women are affected by them in equal measures. The reality is if men are not educating themselves on the symptoms of burnout and if they are allowing it to go unattended to it can have an extensive impact on their lives. Some of the possible impacts are mental issues, social challenges, and even economic dilapidation.

Here are some of the areas in men’s lives that often lead to burnout:

  • Work: Without question the daily grind is a major stress inducing factor for men. The economic downturn has forced many companies to require employees to work longer hours even when the compensation does not match the output.
  • Home: Gone are the days of Leave it to Beaver when women managed the home while men brought home the bacon. The modern family demands that men manage the household along with working.
  • Community: Donating your time to the larger community can be a rewarding and inspiring act of selflessness. However, the paradox is that it can often stretch your emotions and sanity.

It’s necessary to be able to identify the signs of burnout. Furthermore, men need to aware of effective ways to overcome it and consequently, how to prevent it from happening in their lives.

What are some of the signs of burnout at work in men?

The symptoms of burnout may easily be mistaken as illness because they often affect your health. You may think that your persistent headache or constant upset stomach is the result of being sick. However, being burnout may be the culprit.

  • Uncontrolled anger: At times burnout manifests itself in the form of anger in men. It can make you feel like a failure or that you're losing control over your circumstances which can lead to frustration and rage.
  • Sleep issues: If you feel chronically fatigued this may be a sign that you are burnt out. On the opposite end of the spectrum if you have a difficult time sleeping and suffer from insomnia, this may also be caused by burnout.
  • Being detached:  In men, burnout may exhibit itself in a form of detachment. You might feel disconnected with people close to you and your environment.

What are effective ways to recover from burnout at work?

  • Rest and be still: Strategically planning moments in your day to rest and to focus on nothing can be an effective way to overcome burnout. Working around the clock and running on fumes are both mentally and physically damaging. Purpose to have intervals throughout your workday to simply chill.
  • Reorganize your life: Oftentimes a poorly organized life is the reason you are finding yourself burnt out. Trying to manage work life, home life, and be involved in the community is a challenge. It may require you to determine your priorities and cut out those activities that are counterproductive to your well-being.
  • Support system: Lean into family, friends, and faith. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you need help. Actually, coming clean and being real with loved ones and friends that you can't do it alone can be very rewarding. Getting support and guidance from the ones you trust may ease the burden on your shoulders. Tapping into faith and learning to meditate has been a help for some people experiencing burnout.

How can men prevent burnout at work?

  • Learning to say “NO!”: There comes a time when it's necessary to let others know you aren't able to take on a new project, to help another family member or to be involved in additional community events. While your heart is in the right place to want to be everything to everyone, you're no good to others when you're burnt out.
  • Passion or poison: Are you sticking to a career because it pays the bill, but doesn't give you a sense of accomplishment like it used to? Does the volunteer work you do at a local non-profit organization seem dry and unfulfilling? If you're feeling indifferent to things that used to be your passion, it might be time to make a change in where you are dedicating your energy and time.
  • Just Unplugged: Be unavailable to work, family, and community. There are times in your day when you need to turn off the phone, be away from the computer, and shut off the television. Shut out the world and unplug from everything.

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