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Avoiding Corporate Burnout by Taking Time Off During the Holidays

A family unplugging from work to enjoy a happy and relaxed Christmas dinner together.

You put significantly more than 8 hours a day in at the office and work almost always comes home with you at the end of the day. If you’re being completely honest, you incessantly check emails on the weekends and squeeze some additional work in between mowing the lawn or attending your kids’ afternoon sporting events.

When you really think about it, you’re never unplugged from your job. This “always on” mentality and the overwhelming stress from work has led to what is now known as workplace burnout.

As of May 2019, workplace burnout is now recognized as an “organizational syndrome” by the World Health Organization (WHO) that is triggered by chronic workplace stress. Fortunately, there are ways to help alleviate workplace burnout, starting with the holidays that are just a few short weeks away.

Workplace Burnout: an Occupational Syndrome

In 2018, a Gallup study sampled 7,500 full-time employees to get a sense of how workplace stress was affecting them. The study found that 23 percent reported feeling burned out often or always, while 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes.

When the study dug deeper into why people were feeling burned out, the responses included unreasonable deadlines, unfair treatment on the job, managers who aren’t as supportive as they should be and unrealistic expectations to be available 24/7 whenever needed.

The continued rise of corporate burnout and subsequent research on the subject is what led WHO to label burnout as a syndrome, characterizing it by three dimensions:

  1. Energy depletion and exhaustion
  2. Feelings of negativity, cynicism or mental distance from one’s job and responsibilities
  3. A decrease in productivity and effectiveness at work

Causes of Workplace Burnout

As mentioned above, factors like unfair treatment and unrealistic expectations can lead to workplace or corporate burnout. But the causes of burnout run much deeper than that.

When there are unrealistic expectations for your job performance and when you feel like you constantly have to be online to respond to emails, you have a complete lack of control over your own career and lack a healthy work-life balance. This adds incredible levels of stress that are difficult to turn off when you leave the office and can cause increased discomfort and anxiety when working with your boss or other colleagues.

Dysfunctional workplace dynamics can also trigger burnout. In 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 76,418 charges of workplace discrimination. These charges were based on retaliation, sex, disability, race, age, national origin and religion. Struggling with a bully at the office, constantly facing conflict or being sexually assaulted by a colleague can easily trigger workplace burnout.

Other causes of corporate burnout can include:

  • Lack of social support from colleagues
  • Work that is either extremely monotonous or extremely chaotic
  • Your self-identity is tied to your job

Trying to do everything and not delegating work or acknowledging your own weaknesses

How to Tell You’re Suffering from Workplace Burnout

Workplace burnout isn’t always the easiest to see, especially if your organization maintains a toxic culture of working long hours and having to meet irrational expectations. If you believe this is normal behavior, you may struggle to see that you’re struggling with burnout.
If you are dealing with some or all of the following symptoms, you may be struggling with workplace burnout:

  • Excessive stress and fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Increased mood swings and irritability
  • Being more cynical and jaded at work and at home
  • Decreased efficiency and work performance
  • Struggles with health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease or type 2 diabetes

Another important symptom to be aware of is substance abuse. Have you started drinking more or turned to drugs like opioids or cocaine to help you manage the stress and get through the day? If so, you may be dealing with both workplace burnout and addiction, requiring rehab that specializes in addiction treatment for corporate professionals.

How the Holidays Can Help Relieve Workplace Burnout

If you’re struggling with constant deadlines and workplace stress, the holidays can provide the relief and time off your body and mind have been screaming for. The holidays are a perfect excuse to pause all your email notifications, put away your phone and stop thinking about work and what you’ll need to do when you get back to the office in January.

While the holiday season won’t fix all your workplace troubles, it can relieve symptoms of burnout in the following ways:

  • The holidays give you an opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family you’ve missed.
  • The holidays offer you time to catch up on sleep and focus on getting back to a regular sleep schedule that you need to function at full strength.
  • If you haven’t had time to exercise because of your work hours, use your time off during the holidays to start an exercise regimen. Exercise is a natural way to relieve stress and help you feel better.
  • The natural down time of the holiday season can help relieve the stress you’re feeling, since you won’t be thinking about work all the time.

Finally, the holiday season gives you a chance to re-evaluate your priorities and determine if you need to make a career change. If your job is affecting your health and leaving you constantly burned out, use your time off to polish your resume and start applying to other jobs that you’re more passionate about and offer a better work-life balance.

Fight Burnout and Overcome Addiction at Footprints Beachside Recovery

There is so much more to life than just work. If you’re suffering from corporate burnout that has triggered a substance abuse disorder, our addiction treatment program for professionals at Footprints Beachside Recovery can help. We can help you overcome addiction, recover from burnout and learn the importance of working to live instead of living to work.

Are you ready to take your life back from substance abuse and workplace burnout? Talk to one of our team members today to learn more about our treatment program and how we can help you.

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