Feeling burned out after working long and hard is all too common in today’s workplace. In the U.S. alone, 51% or workers have felt burned out more than once. This isn’t just professionals who say they have felt burned out, though 77% say that they have, but even 84% of Millennials say that they have felt burned out more than once. Combining overwork with low pay is a recipe for burnout – 64% of Americans feel stressed or frustrated at work one or more times per week.
Employees report that they felt work-related stress due to a high-pressure environment, lack of support from management, and unrealistic expectations. 1 in 3 employees even blame technology for job stress, saying that tech leads to an increased workload, tighter deadlines, and social isolation.
WHO, or the World Health Organization, defines burnout as a syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress. This involves three main elements – feelings of exhaustion, mental detachment, and poor performance. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, increases anywhere from two to five times during times of stress. Higher cortisol levels may interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and life expectancy, increase weight gain, A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and heighten risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and mental illness. Not all stress is created equal – Americans say stress makes them feel either paralyzed or invigorated. This difference is most likely caused because of the stress originating from different sources. Short-term stress, like worrying about a deadline, has a clear endpoint. Short-term stress is also good for you as it challenges you to excel and channels cortisol toward a tangible goal. Chronic stress, on the other hand, never ends, and eventually rewires the brain. Chronic stress leads to less brain activity related to higher-order tasks and provides no outlet for cortisol.
Find out how you can reverse the negative effects of burnout and survive the burden of stress here.