Work-life balance key to beating job burnout: experts
Published Tuesday, November 13, 2012 12:09PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 13, 2012 12:38PM EST
Everyone can relate to those mornings when you wake up feeling exhausted and want nothing more than to forget about work and stay in bed. The coffee shop lineup makes your blood boil and just thinking about the workday ahead fills you with dread and anxiety.
For some, this is a bad day. But for others, this is job burnout.
Erica Diamond, founder of WomenOnTheFence.com, says feelings of anxiousness, anxiety, agitation, stress and sleepless nights are all symptoms of burnout.
“If you’re not sleeping well and your mind is racing, this leads to a lot of anxiety throughout the day,” Diamond told Canada AM.
Diamond describes job burnout as that feeling of not wanting to get out of bed in the morning: “Just feeling like you’re burnt toast, you’re done and you’re at your wits end.”
Diamond -- who experienced job burnout after starting her own business -- has blogged recently about her personal experiences with job burnout, hoping to teach other women about the warning signs.
She said one of the biggest things has been learning to balance both her work and family lives.
Scott Schieman, a University of Toronto professor who studies work and stress, said research shows both men and women in Canada are experiencing increased job pressures.
“There is a discussion among researchers as to whether work is becoming more intense,” he said. ”It’s called work intensification: where things tighten up.”
Schieman said when unemployment levels increase, those who still have jobs may be asked to do more. Juggling family and work life can really tips the scales in the balancing act, he added.
“Both men and women in Canada are experiencing the pressure of both domains, the competing pressures and the competing devotions,” said Schieman. “But historically and traditionally women feel the burden more.”
Schieman said stress is attached to any job, especially when you have an elevated role or status in your company.
“Women who try to achieve higher status in the workplace, the stresses challenge the work and family balance,” he said.
Men also experience difficulties with the work-life balance, but Schieman said this is based on the blurred boarders between the two lives rather than competing demands.
“The frequency that people engage in sending and receiving work-related communications outside work hours is higher among men,” he said.
As our communication tools become more and more sophisticated, Schieman said people are doing more work on the road and at home.
“People are more mobile and that mobility transforms the way people let work and the pressures into their lives,” he said.
Schieman said people need to pay attention to how they let work-related pressures affect their personal lives.
For anyone experiencing symptoms of job burnout, Diamond shares these tips:
- Get help: Get help from a counselor or psychologist/psychiatrist in order to have an objective ear with which to share your thoughts.
- Don’t diminish your gifts, balance them: You don’t have to stop doing the things that make you successful, but complement your work with calmer activities, such as yoga, exercise, massage therapy, etc.
- Create a “worry list”: Keep a pen and notepad beside your bed so you can write your worries down. By getting any worries down on paper and off of your mind, you can deal with them later.
- Learn your limits and know what you need: Take care of yourself first and don’t worry about what other people say.
- Sleep: A good night’s sleep will leave you feeling rested and restored. Sleep helps you function better on a daily basis and combats any negative feelings that may arise throughout the day.