Is Your Job Making You Sick?

I worked at a small family owned business for almost 5 years. The management there was just awful. Drama, micromanaging, plenty of blame and almost no support….I heard “you did a good job” twice in four years.

I dreaded going in every day. At work, I couldn’t get motivated. I avoided my bosses as much as possible. I was always tired. I hated my job.

Well, I wasn’t alone. It turns out workplace burnout is a huge problem. So much so that the World Health Organization recently included burnout in its International Classification of Diseases, calling it an occupational phenomenon that results from chronic workplace stress.

Burnout is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.

So what can you do?

When you thinkI have no interest in my job. Everything is so boring”.

When you’re in a burnout state, there are actual physiological changes in your brain that cause you to take less interest in activities that would otherwise make you happy. To fight against this negativity, remind yourself you don’t need to feel like taking action in order to do so. In fact, taking action leads to a higher desire to do more positive activities in the future.

When you think I’m exhausted. I can’t even keep my eyes open”.

Increase your attentiveness to your body’s physical and emotional needs. It could be as simple as getting up to stretch your legs when you’re feeling stiff, eating lunch with coworkers instead of at your desk, or going to bed when you’re tired. If you’re in a state of burnout, you will need more sleep than usual; it’s part of your body’s healing process. You also will need breaks throughout the day. Breaks are beneficial for anyone — they help restore your energy; but they’re especially important if you’re burned out, in part because making the choice to take them demonstrates to yourself that you have some level of control, even on a micro level.

When you think “Everyone else is to blame for my burnout“.

This victim mindset only blocks you from doing anything about your situation. It’s far better to adopt an ownership mindset, that sounds like this: Others may have contributed to my situation, but I have the ability to make choices that can improve my present and future. Thinking in this way gives you the license to choose, even in small ways, to take action to recharge and build momentum. Realizing you have autonomy opens up hope for the future.

A bad situation at work spills over into the other areas of your life. With me, I felt so drained at the end of each day, there was nothing left of me to give. My family suffered, my house was a disaster, and personal relationships went on the back burner.

If you have workplace burnout, I urge you to address the situation. Get help if you need it. Comment below if you have anything to add.

5 thoughts on “Is Your Job Making You Sick?

  1. I have nothing to add but I really agree with the micro-management which can be a good small step while dealing with other things too. To step out of the ‘blaming’ game is also very helpfull because it is your life and your time on this earth. While things may be really bad, when you take the smallest decision in favor of you, it will get better. And it does spill over I thought I could be unhappy at work and happy at home but that is not the way to go. Thank you for sharing your insights, they are a good reminder for me.

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