What is Burnout and What Causes It?

Mark ReaganBurnout, Stress Management0 Comments

What is burnout and what causes it

Have you ever run yourself ragged?

You might toil away day after day at your job, feeling overworked and underappreciated.

Or that you have to prove yourself and always give your best no matter the task.

As you keep pushing yourself, keep fighting against the stress, you find yourself… exhausted.

Burnout can happen to the best of us.

I had a writing client recently who has an achieved an amazing amount of success by the age of 32.

He’s traveled to over 60 countries. He’s one of the top salesman at his company and through that and his investments makes a million dollars a year.

Why does he work so hard?

It’s because he feels he isn’t good enough. So he pushes himself harder and harder to perform.

He knows he should change, but there’s a carrot to keep chasing after.

Promotions. Higher pay. Awards.

Achievement can be addictive!

Unfortunately, working that hard isn’t sustainable. And if the recognition stops coming the exhaustion will set in faster.

But there’s another way for burnout to set in.

What is Burnout and What Causes it?

The Mayo Clinic defines Occupational Burnout as “a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.”

In the example of the client above, having doubts about your competence at work can lead to over-achieving and burning the wick at both ends.

But the second way here is to feel your work isn’t valuable. Maybe you lose sight of what makes the work worth it, or maybe you no longer value it like you used to.

When I was in customer service, this was a big part of it for me (aside from it being customer service!). Even though I knew I was helping people, it didn’t feel valuable.

Add in the job barely used my skills, burning out at it was inevitable.

Not seeing the value in a job like customer service is obvious, but it happens in other professions like doctors, nurses, attorneys, and even real estate agents.

Even if on some level you know the value the job provides for others, if you lose sight of that the exhaustion is going to set in faster.

What Else Causes Burnout?

There are of course other factors that contribute to burnout like the article I linked to above mentions.

No Control, No Voice

What are you in control of at work? If you feel less and less in control of your position and duties, you can burn out faster.

Making it worse is if you don’t have any control but you also don’t feel heard by your higher ups and peers.

No Recognition

If you feel unappreciated and there’s a lack of reward, you might start wondering, “What’s the point?”

That can kill your productivity at work.

Some bosses and managers out there think you should be doing your best purely because “It’s your job.”

On one hand, that is what they hired you for. On the other, appreciating someone for doing their job can go a long, long way.  

I’ve known too many people who work their ass off only to be taken for granted.

If you’re your own boss, how do you reward yourself?

No Clarity

Don’t know what others expect from you or how much power you have at work?

Lack of clarity is a great way to increase your stress, while getting more clear helps lower it.

No Balance

How’s your work-life balance?

If work is taking all your time and you’re no longer seeing your friends/family or enjoying your hobbies, it won’t be long before you’re exhausted.

Toxic Work Environment

It’s probably no surprise that a dysfunctional work environment can burn you out.

During college I worked at a warehouse. My first day one of the employees asked me, “Hey, do you mind if we call you pickle f*****?”

It only went down from there.

Now What?

In my next article I’ll be talking about ways to help deal with your burnout.

How you deal with your stress can play a huge part it in. Sign up for your free 30 day course on how to better manage your stress for a great place to start.

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