The COVID-19 pandemic has created stress in workplaces. Many workers made significant adjustments to their normal routines. Some worked from home, some were forced to juggle children participating in virtual learning while trying to complete their work, and others were faced with the reality of day-to-day interactions with the public and the increased risk of catching COVID-19. For many people, the stress has accumulated as the pandemic has lingered. A recent research article noted, “COVID-19 has contributed to greater risk of employees encountering job burnout—a chronic stress syndrome, including permanent feelings of exhaustion and a distant attitude toward work”.
The consequences of job burnout can be serious and are compounded by the sense of isolation many people have experienced during the pandemic. Employees may experience decreased job satisfaction, increased irritability and depression, and increased use of alcohol or other substances. In response to job burnout, some workers experience increased physical ailments like headaches, fatigue, and gastrointestinal ailments.
The first step in addressing job burnout is realizing that you are experiencing it. Many workers simply press on with their job paying little attention to their physical and mental health. The Mayo Clinic suggests some questions to ask yourself:
- Have you become more critical or cynical at work?
- Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
- Have you been irritable or impatient with co-workers or customers?
It may be beneficial to check with co-workers or family members and see if they notice changes in your behavior or attitude, too.
When people are experiencing burnout, there are some effective strategies to help manage it. For most individuals, regular exercise, healthy eating and planned opportunities to relax can alleviate the situation. Other people may experience more serious symptoms of depression and may benefit from professional help through a therapist or an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
The Employee Assistance Program also offers free articles, courses, and other resources to help improve your mental and physical health. If you think you are experiencing burnout or simply added stress, please visit the Employee Assistance Program page on the Employee Portal to see what options are available to you and how EAP may help.
Some additional resources include:
Seven Powerful Ways to Beat Burnout (https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2016/11/08/7-powerful-ways-to-beat-burnout/?sh=710f558761e6)