We all get stressed at work from time to time. Unless your job is entirely predictable and under your control (and what job is?), there will inevitably be moments of overwhelm, stress, and frustration. Even if you love your job, you'll have moments when you don't love it at all.
Lots of people have noticed their stress levels increase during the pandemic. Working from home and dealing with both virtual communication issues from colleagues and distractions from family members has caused frustration and tension for some. Stressors from life outside the work may bleed more easily into work life and cause even more overwhelm. Many people are worried about their finances, health, friends, and family at this time, and it can be difficult to keep these fears out of the workplace when they're all-consuming.
In addition to these factors, professional stressors like looming deadlines, increased workload, negative colleagues and many other situations can all lead to workplace stress. But if you find that you're stressed to the point of burnout, it might be time to think about taking a break. Here's why.
The Physical Side Effects of Prolonged Stress
Most people think of stress as a purely mental concern. It makes many people feel irritated, anxious, or overwhelmed. But even though stress is a normal (and sometimes even helpful!) reaction, chronic stress can have sobering consequences.
Physical health problems often develop when stress is left unchecked. When you experience stress, your heart rate goes up. While that's not a big problem in the short term, it can eventually lead to an increased risk of serious health problems like heart attack, hypertension, and stroke.
Stress can also lead to problems sleeping, influencing a whole host of health issues. It can affect your immune system, cause shortness of breath, and even lead to high blood sugar. In short, chronic stress is more than just something affecting your mood!
Feeling Burned Out?
If you've been experiencing chronic stress at work, it's important to acknowledge that you might be suffering from burnout. Burnout affects your work, your well-being, and your health. It's something to take seriously!
People who are burned out at work suffer from emotional and physical exhaustion. If you're tired when you sit down at your computer in the morning, think about why. Is it because you didn't get enough sleep or because you're just past your burnout breaking point?
Burnout is usually brought on by chronic stress, lack of control and autonomy in the workplace, poor work-life balance, and/or a toxic work environment. Poor management, personality clashes, and lack of clarity on expectations can all contribute to burnout.
In addition to physical consequences of stress, burnout can lead to issues like a reduction in overall well-being and emotional health, poor work performance (and guilt or anxiety over poor performance), and even substance abuse.