Researchers have identified 3 types of burnout driving The Great Resignation and their symptoms

February 18, 2022, 5:27 PM UTC

Do you suffer from low energy? Is it difficult to get out of bed in the morning? Do your head and stomach ache? If so, you could be experiencing job burnout. 

You aren’t alone — 77% of workers surveyed by Deloitte said they had experienced burnout. And 90% of those said that stress had negatively impacted their work.

Psychologists have identified three major types of burnout, according to Read on to discover their symptoms and how to cope.

Types of burnout

  1. Overload burnout: when you continue to work at an unsustainable pace, clocking long hours without mental breaks.
  2. Under-challenged burnout: when you are not being challenged or stimulated by your job. This leads to a lack of motivation.
  3. Neglect: you don’t feel a sense of purpose, and find it hard to stay engaged at your job. Because you don’t feel fulfilled, staying happy is difficult.

Concerning symptoms

Burnout is dangerous. 

Symptoms include exhaustion, reduced productivity, and cynicism, according to the World Health Organization.

It can also lead to mental and physical exhaustion, a loss of identity, and feeling a lack of accomplishment, the Mayo Clinic says.

Experts believe that burnout can lead to depression. Factors like a family history and your personality can make you more susceptible. 

Burnout is not considered a medical condition, but it is a manifestation of chronic stress, Dr. Lotte Dyrbye of the Mayo Clinic tells The New York Times

When people are stressed out, their bodies start making higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. 

Dr. Jeannette Bennett, a researcher at the University of North Carolina, says that while these changes can be beneficial in the short term and give us the energy to overcome difficult situations, they harm the body over time.

What causes job burnout?

If you are in a situation where you can’t influence the decisions that affect your job or lack the resources to succeed at work, a lack of control can lead to job burnout.

A dysfunctional workplace dynamic can also lead to burnout if you’re undermined by a colleague or micromanaged. Another cause is lacking social support at work and feeling isolated.

If your job is monotonous, repetitive, or chaotic and requires a lot of energy and focus, this can lead to fatigue which is another common cause.

Finally, if you have a heavy workflow and your job is time-consuming and taking family, and friends quality time away, you are susceptible to burnout.

How do you recognize burnout?

The most common symptom is insomnia. According to a survey conducted in Italy, frontline healthcare workers who experienced burnout reported sleeping issues and nightmares. According to research, chronic stress can interfere with the neurological and hormonal system that regulates sleep, which can lead to a vicious cycle.

Another symptom is physical exhaustion. Constant fatigue can be a symptom of burnout.

If you notice your eating habits are changing, this can be another symptom of burnout. If you are eating more or less than usual, stress hormones can be affecting your appetite.

Stomachaches and headaches can also be produced when burnout happens. 

Burnout can also develop along with anxiety or depression.

How to address it

If you have physical side effects, a good option is to get checked by your primary care doctor or mental health professional. It is easy to ignore the symptoms in a work-centered culture, but it is better to be proactive so you don’t have to suffer consequences.

Another way you can help relieve burnout is by practicing communication. Be clear about what you’re feeling, and if you are being overworked, discuss it with your supervisor or coworkers. Provide them with ideas that would help alleviate burnout in the office, like installing quiet areas. Taking time off is also a good idea.

While self-care is trending these days, it will not cure burnout. What can help address the problem are lifestyle choices like seeing a therapist or meeting with friends. Their support and collaboration can make you feel better. Another option is taking part in regular physical activities to get your mind off work.

Finally, make time to do things that you love. A study cited by The New York Times found that surgeons who made time for recreational activities were less likely to experience burnout than those who didn’t. A few ideas for relaxing activities can be yoga, meditation, or mindfulness.

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