Job burnout

April 27, 2018

 Stress in general is awful, it eats away at you and keeps you awake at night. Prolonged stress at work is particularly insidious and causes you to feel physically and mentally exhausted not to mention questioning your ability to be competent in your workplace.

Work is a large portion of our daily life and work based stress can make you feel despondent and miserable. Perhaps you regularly feel you have to drag yourself into work, start dreading Monday morning when its still only Saturday? Your sleep pattern is disturbed (if you look at my post on sleep you will see why this is not good) Perhaps you are finding it hard to concentrate, feel irritated by co workers or feel overwhelmed by small changes? These may serve as warning signals that all is not well. 

I personally recognise these signs after falling out of love with a profession I had been in for 30 years. You feel trapped, disconnected, pessimistic and fatigued. Getting a work life balance and everything in perspective is so important.

It is never as easy as just leaving your job though is it? mortgages to pay and  children to support probably make that an undesirable option. However, if the conditions and demands you find at work are exceeding your capacity to handle them or badly affecting your well being, its probably time to consider a plan B.


In the interlude between finding that amazing job or career change, you might want to promise yourself to care a bit less!  I'm not for one minute suggesting you down tools and become the office sloth..that would certainly cause your co workers to become equally as stressed. Talk to someone you trust in the organisation, someone who has a good handle on the situation and knows what your job entails. If there is no one ( which is very unfortunate) perhaps talk with a GP, a counsellor or other therapist. I may add here that although I am a qualified Hypnotherapist I found seeing a fellow Hypnotherapist  very helpful when my career as a Nurse was exhausting me. So often just talking to someone who is not making a judgement on your situation is quite a powerful asset.

Take control back. Don't let one aspect of your life have the lion's share of you. Look at the reasons why you are overwhelmed as they may range from being bullied in the workplace to being under valued or not feeling like you are progressing. Mine's was the enormity of my workload and the dwindling resources I had for my team to work with. Ultimately I was afraid that our service would not live up to the standard people had come to expect. I felt wholly responsible, which on reflection, is ridiculous considering how many factors there were to play in the diminishing NHS institution we have benefited from since 1948.

My point is you are never completely responsible for the politics and conditions you find yourself in at work but you are responsible for how you deal with your thoughts on them. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an approach you might find helpful, either finding a therapist trained in it or even just looking at its principles.

CBT encourages you to view your thoughts as your own personal interpretations of situation but not as hard facts.

For instance you may think 'I'm a complete loser, a failure at work and everything else. I can't do anything right!'

That's likely  to be a complete exaggeration ,with no credible evidence that would even stand up in a court of law! The chances of absolutely everything you do failing from the minute you wake to the moment you go to bed is unlikely.

Once you start to unpick how you interpret your thoughts and be a bit kinder to yourself, you will find a shift in mindset to your advantage. Keeping a thoughts diary can help, it may feel alien at first but give it a try. After a few days you may start to see obvious trends which you can help identify where the issues are for you. Catch yourself negative thinking..give it a go. Do you have an all or nothing approach to thinking? Are you pessimistic, do you dwell on the past too much..is it your default to bring up old problems and ruminate? Do you catastrophise? ie. I'm not good at X so I must be bad at Y also or she ignored me at work so everyone must hate me? Sound familiar or my personal favourite used to be.. my husband is late home, what if he has had an accident on his bike (I still hate that bike but I have learnt to trust his ability to stay seated on it and read the traffic well!)


Learn to change your inner thoughts and dialogue. Burn out can cause you to slip deeper and deeper into a cycle of negative thinking. Be kinder to yourself because the relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have  and how you view whatever life and career throws at you. If your job is still overwhelmingly exhausting and stressful...start to plan a successful transition and keep tending to your emotional well being through the process. Make sure your goal is to be in a job where you thrive not merely survive.



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