Imagine that your boss sends you an email at night about an unclear task, then a message on your phone requiring you to address it to ask it in a surprise meeting the next day. How will your body and mind react?
Rapid heartbeat, pounding breaths, muscle contraction, then anxiety resolves with his questions: Will he fire me if I don’t do the work? Am I suitable to do it? How much can my manager and colleagues make fun of me during a meeting? This is our body’s response to occupational burnout syndrome.
Psychological burning or negative?
The World Health Organization updated its definition of burnout in 2019, as “resulting from chronic stress in the workplace that was not managed successfully.” This new definition increases awareness of burnout, and strengthens its association with work, as a psychological syndrome that appears in the form of a long-term response.
It was not unusual for women to report higher levels of occupational burnout versus men, as one study published on the National Library of Medicine (NCBI) website determined that gender inequality in the workplace affects occupational mental health. Women have lower levels of the power to take action. Decision making, and often qualifications for higher roles, which ultimately leads to less self-satisfaction at work.
The study also combined stress at work and pressures outside it, to determine the causes of women suffering from chronic stress, which were represented by additional conflicts with parents, or children, husband and society, and gender inequality in doing housework.
The study linked burnout with symptoms of anxiety and depression, and one study showed that younger women who face heavy workloads and severe stress are more likely to have depressive disorder and general anxiety.
High levels of stress at work – and outside of it – can also affect physical health by disrupting body systems and increasing susceptibility to diseases. Repeated secretion of the stress hormone can disrupt the immune system, and increase a woman’s likelihood of developing autoimmune disorders and cardiovascular disease. And Alzheimer’s disease.
Do you suffer from psychological burnout?
The US National Library of Medicine has identified 3 main dimensions of our response to burnout, starting with extreme fatigue, then feelings of discontent over poor performance, mockery of managers and co-workers, and job separation, and then a general feeling of inefficiency and achievement in life.
The importance of these dimensions lies in placing individual stress within a social and human context. What women face most when they lose their energy or feel weak and tired, is to describe their condition as passive, lazy, unworthy, and misbehaving with clients, which results in withdrawal or continuing to work under pressure until they fall to the ground. Motionless.
To stop questioning your abilities, and pay attention to your body and mind’s need for rest and support, Harvard University research identified 3 main questions to determine for yourself whether you suffer from professional burnout:
1- Do you suffer from physical and psychological exhaustion most of the time?
2- Have you become more pessimistic and detached from work and society?
3- Do you feel the insignificance and impact of your work in reality, no matter how difficult it is?
You need to answer two or more questions with “no” to reassure me of your path. But if you answered yes, then you must move to control “normal fatigue”, before it turns into “serious fatigue” or burnout for work, by following the following tips:
1- Relaxation strategies: To reduce symptoms of anxiety, you can sit comfortably and raise your legs in a opposite chair. Close your eyes, and tighten and relax each major muscle group in your body separately, as if you tighten the muscles in the legs for 10 seconds, then relax them for 20 seconds, to start another group.
2- Problem Solving: Do not face yourself with difficulties and obstacles all at once, as looking at them in general makes them frightening, so follow specific steps when facing a new challenge, such as: defining the problem, developing potential solutions, arranging solutions, setting an action plan and implementation dates, and choosing the most appropriate solution.
3- Mindfulness exercises: Our memory hurts us under the influence of depressive episodes, and to resist it, the mind can be trained not to ruminate the past or worry about the future through mindfulness exercises, by practicing meditation or mindful walking exercises, or writing down 5 things in your office, their colors and uses, when things get out of control.
4- Make your health a priority: Make healthy eating, exercise, and good sleep high on your list of priorities. Take all of your vacations, and do not boast that you are the one who endures the most pressures of work, fulfills the duties of colleagues, and the first to enter the office and the last to leave, stop doing it.