As a family physician I hear people complain about burnout every day. Today I want to talk about job burnout prevention and treatment – Dr. Victoria Smithers. During the 2020 Covid -19 pandemic burnout has reached an all- time high. The term burnout was first used by Dr Freudenberger back in 1970’s. He used it to describe the unique effects of severe stress and high ideals in healthcare professionals. It has now been recognized in homemakers and all professions. In recent years the focus has been identifying the workers at risk and building “resiliency” to help prevent burnout.
This work related stress is:
a state of physical and emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity
Today we will be discussing the following:
- Job Burnout Prevention and Treatment
- Symptoms of Job Burnout
- Cause or Increased Risk for Burnout
- How to Tell if You are Experiencing Work Related Burnout
- Self Care
- How to Practice the Presence of God in Your Life
- How Can Employers Help Reduce Stress in the Workplace?
- How to Recover From Burnout and Find Balance in Your Life
- 11 Ways to Get Rid of Burnout
I have written other articles on stress and anxiety. Here we see how a stressful lifestyle coupled with long hours, time pressures and conflict with colleagues can lead to extreme exhaustion, frustration, cynical feelings or feeling numb about their work. This can then lead to poor performance, reduced creativity and lack of concentration. Over time, if not recognized, burnout can cause insomnia, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, decreased immune system and many other physical symptoms. Burnout can also increase alcohol or substance abuse. Patients present to my office with headaches, heartburn or fatigue. Upon questioning they often report huge work stress. It can be difficult to distinguish burnout from depression and other medical conditions – so if condition is not improving or you have severe symptoms please seek medical evaluation. Today I want to talk about job burnout prevention and treatment – Dr. Victoria Smithers.
SYMPTOMS of Job Burnout:
- Exhaustion – no energy
- Alienation from activities – cynical, feel numb
- Reduced performance – hard to concentrate, negative about tasks
CAUSE or Increased Risk for Burnout:
- Lack of control – unable to control schedule and lack of resources
- Unclear job expectations
- Dysfunctional workplace dynamics
- Extremely busy at work
- Lack of Social Support
- Poor work-life balance
- You work in helping profession like medicine
- Your job is monotonous
- You try to be everything to everyone
How to Tell if You are Experiencing Work Related Burnout
Work stress tests or burnout questionnaires can be used to help you diagnose this condition. The Maslach Burnout Inventory is a commonly used questionnaire. But remember that these tests are not perfect, and you must consider mental health and other medical problems.
Once you identify that you are experiencing job burnout you have the choice to accept, alter, or avoid the work environment. You can accept the job as it is and try to learn new skills, plan and prioritize, create to do lists and take timed breaks. You can alter the job by delegating to reduce workload, set clear goals, improve communication or change departments. You can choose to avoid by doing what you do well, reducing responsibility, limiting interaction with difficult co-worker or transition to a new job.
More about job burnout prevention and treatment – Dr. Victoria Smithers.
The other part of lowering work stress and treating job burnout is self-care.
- Mindfulness exercises like meditation and prayer
- Enjoying music
- Healthy eating
- Unplugging from social media
- Many other activities that help you relax
Practice the Presence of God in Your Life
When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior and invite him in to our lives he gives us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit provides comfort, knowledge and strength to help during our trials. His presence with us in the struggles of life is promised if we put our faith in Him. Consider practicing the presence of God by using spiritual disciplines.
Practicing the presence is an invitation to see and experience every moment as a gift of God. It is to live alive to union with the Trinity.Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
The Holy Spirit draws us closer to God where we experience love, joy, peace, patience, hope and self-control. The spiritual disciplines include:
- Reading scripture
- Reflecting on scripture
- Sitting in silence
- Caring for the body
- Practicing discernment
- Worship in community
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.James 1:2-4
This gives us an assurance that God can use these difficult seasons to teach us many important lessons and we can grow closer to Him through our struggles. It also encourages us to take action if we see signs of stress and burnout in our lives. We have to keep our focus on God and spend time with Him every day in prayer and reading the Bible.
If you would like to know how to start your personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we invite you to watch the GREAT NEWS FOR YOU video on this page.
More about job burnout prevention and treatment – Dr. Victoria Smithers.
Some helpful transformation exercises include:
- Take a walk for 15 minutes. Focus on all 5 senses and marvel in God’s creation.
- Journal about a difficult situation and write a short prayer about the situation.
- Imagine God rescuing you or singing over you
- Choose three or four songs that you can hum or sing to help you practice God’s presence.
- Dedicate a task you are doing to the Lord.
- Do a breath prayer – take slow deep breaths, become aware of your breath and more present in the moment. Focus on God’s presence and say “here” as you breathe in and “now” as you breathe out, and continue breath prayer for 10 breaths.
- Close with an Amen. (Johnson, 2009)
How Can Employers Help Reduce Stress in the Workplace?
Employers have a responsibility to their employees to respond to burnout in a healthy way.
1.Employers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of burnout:
- increased errors
- reduced efficiency
- lowered motivation
- increased frustration
- increased absenteeism.
2. Have a psychological and safety management system in place.
- Work on having clear expectations
- Let employees know they are appreciated
- Give them some control
- Identify strengths to get them a good job fit
- Reasonable demands
- give them adequate resources.
3. Other things employers can do to keep their staff free from work related stress overload:
- Provide ongoing training
- Enforce reasonable work hours
- Encourage social support and respect in work teams
- Support physical activity
- Strongly encourage taking breaks away from work environment.
- Avoid requiring overachievers to compensate for others
- Coach lesser performers
- Take on the hardest projects
- Watch out for the “yes” people as they have a hard time saying no to your requests and are at increase risk for burnout.
- Support recovery at work for those suffering burnout.
- Help organize, prioritize and give clear expectations.
- Recognize success.
- Provide social support and mentor.
- Look to identify strengths and build confidence.
How to Recover From Burnout and Find Balance in Your Life
As the Lord works in our lives we can recover from burnout and develop a healthy work -life balance. As the Holy Spirit works on transforming our minds and hearts we learn self- care strategies, change our thinking and improve relationships. As we draw near to the Lord he helps us focus on accomplishments, avoid criticizing ourselves, nurture our spirit, celebrate small steps and focus on one thing at a time. He also teaches us to set healthy boundaries, avoid toxic situations, shut out media and distractions and helps us connect with friends and community.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.Romans 12:2
11 Ways to Get Rid of Burnout
- Evaluate Options- discuss changes with supervisor, lessen load, use days off
- Seek support- reach out to co-workers, friends and family
- Try a relaxing activity- yoga, meditation or massage
- Get some exercise
- Get some sleep
- Practice mindfulness- focus on breathing and be aware of feelings and thoughts at every moment
- Read the Bible
- Seek counseling
- Improve communication with coworkers and family