Workplace Burnout | 3 Common Myths & Real Coping Techniques

3 Common Workplace Burnout Myths

Work weighing you down? You know what you need to do, but you just can’t find the energy or desire to do it. You’re not alone. 59% of workers are experiencing at least moderate levels of burnout.

What’s The Big Deal?

So what? Work is supposed to be hard. That’s why it’s called work. Right?

Wrong. 

Work isn’t always easy, and a workplace that challenges you to grow and learn is great, but when workplace stress leads to exhaustion and eventual burnout, the consequences extend beyond the workplace. 

Stress By The Numbers

  • 94% of workers report feeling stress at work.
  • Stress can cause physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, or skin rashes, as well as the worsening of chronic health problems and mental health conditions. (according to the American Psychological Association)
  • Stress causes 57% of US respondents to feel paralyzed.
  • 79% of men report that work stress affects their personal relationship with their spouse compared to 61% of women. 76% of US workers state that their workplace stress has had a negative effect on their relationships.


stats found on stress.org

With our physical health, mental health, and relationships on the line, it is important to take workplace stress and burnout seriously. To do this, we must understand what burnout is, what it isn’t, and how we can practically handle it.

Burnout Defined

The World Health Organization defines burnout as:

“Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It 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.

 

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

Persistent. Unresolved stress. Negative consequences. Sound familiar? Perhaps you or someone you know is struggling with burnout. Now is the time to take action and start moving toward a more manageable and fulfilling future.

Let’s dispel some common myths about workplace burnout.

Common Myth #1: If You Do What You Love, You’ll Never Get Tired Of It

Some people mistakenly believe that being passionate about one’s work is enough to safeguard against burnout, but this simply isn’t the case. Deloitte conducted a survey of 1,000 corporate full-time professionals, 87% stated they have a passion for their current job, but 64% say they are frequently stressed at work. It would seem that the old adage, “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life,” leaves something to be desired.

How Do I Do What I Love & Make Time For Myself?

This is a common question. The truth is that we can’t do it all. We must take the time to take care of ourselves if we want to be able to take care of others. Watch as Grant Anderson, MA LMHC, illustrates this point with the story of the starving baker.

Common Myth #2: Burnout Causes People To Leave Their Job

It is true that employees suffering from burnout frequently leave their jobs, but that is not always the case. Many individuals choose to stay at their job despite burnout. In 2022, Owler, a business insights platform, released a survey suggesting that 72% of employees are prepared to settle in at their current companies for at least a year, even though 57% rated their burnout level at medium or higher.

What Do I Do If I'm Suffering Burnout At My Job?

That is a good question. Boundaries may be part of the answer. Kyla Neely, MSW, LCSW explains.

Common Myth #3: Now That The Pandemic Is Over, Things Can Finally Get Back To Normal

The previously mentioned study by Deloitte also found that 77% of employers report an increase in the number of employees who identify as being burned out. That is up 35 percentage points from September 2020. While life may be getting back to “normal” or the “new normal,” Americans are still experiencing a lot of uncertainty.

 

The increase in people working from home has dramatically changed the routines of employees and managers. The great resignation caused stress for many. The slowing of the great resignation and subsequent shift in the workplace landscape caused uncertainty for a lot of people. The truth is that the world is ever changing, and with or without the pandemic, mental health needs and high-stress levels must be addressed.

What Do I Do If I Don't Know Why I Am Stressed?

It’s frustrating to feel an emotion and not know why you feel it. Carissa Lopez-Bockus, MSEd, LMHC, LPCC explains how curiosity may help.

Don't Forget To Ask For Help If You Need It

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