Burnout Syndrome: Working Too Much Evidentially Makes You Sick!

Madeleine Gritzbach, Monday 18 June 2018 | Reading time: unknown

Good news: the number of people suffering from burnout syndrome is decreasing. Sadly, the illness remains to be a prominent problem in many companies, which should not be ignored.

If employees suffer from burnout syndrome, they are not to be blamed for it. In most cases, too much stress is the reason - often resulting from a weak corporate culture. Employees are under too much pressure from their bosses and are given too many tasks to fulfill on a single day. Sometimes they will become too ambitious because they feel like they are competing with their colleagues and want to be better than everyone else at all times. Also, the working environment has an impact on employees’ well-being. Frequent interruptions by phone calls and a noise level that is too high can lead to stress and make you sick. Moreover, lack of appreciation can also be a reason for a burnout syndrome. Often times, first signs of burnout syndrome get ignored – as a result, there are no measures taken to prevent the outbreak.

What is burnout syndrome?

Burnout syndrome is a medical condition which effects a human both physically and mentally. It is no sudden condition, but develops over a longer period of time. You are in a state of emotional, physical and mental fatigue which often goes on to become a nervous breakdown. Typical symptoms are fatigue, apathy, insomnia and loss of working motivation.

5 tips for preventing a burnout syndrome

Find the right balance between work and relaxation

Avoid working after hours or on the weekend. Relieve stress and try to relax, for example by doing endurance sports or yoga. Sleep deprivation can also lead to decreasing concentration and overall performance. Therefore you have to be careful to get enough sleep and develop a healthy sleeping pattern.

Identify and eliminate sources of stress

Only if you know your personal sources of stress, you can also eliminate them. Note all particularly stressing situations and try to find the trigger for the stress, as well as ways to reduce those. Be aware though, that there might never be a zero-stress-level.

Set goals

Do not lose sight of your goals. Set yourself realistic goals – for both the short and the long term. This way you stay motivated and develop a strategy for reaching these goals. The “Smart”-rule might help you.

Learn to say "NO"

Do not agree to everything. Fulfill your own tasks diligently. While it might be exemplary to help your colleagues, it is important to know your limits and to reject inquiries from your colleagues if you feel they might go beyond your limits. This way you save your energy and have more time for yourself.

Prevent burnout syndrome by managing your time effectively

Structure your day, for example by using the “Pareto principle” or the “Alpen method”. As a result, productivity is improved and you reach your goals faster. This leads to a feeling of success and more motivation.

What are your tasks as a leader?

Look closely! As a leader, you are the “protector” and a kind of guardian for your employees. Keep looking out for signs of burnout syndrome and address the problem at an early stage. Be understanding and considerate towards the affected employee. Offer your support, for example by granting paid leave or more flexible working hours. Also, having the possibility to make use of professional help shows the employees that they can count on your full support.

Test yourself

Test for yourself, whether and to what extent the following aspects are true for you and take action accordingly:

  • My work has become routine only, I do not relate personally.
  • It is becoming harder for me to attune to other people at work.
  • I often feel tired or drained.
  • It is difficult for me to bring me to do my work.
  • I am easily irritable.
  • I barely receive positive feedback on my work.
  • I often doubt that my work is useful.
  • I feel like I do more and more and still achieve less.

If you feel these symptoms appy to you, do not hesitate to seek professional help.

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