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6 Ways To Not Let Job Stress Get The Better Of You

Discussion in 'Doctors Cafe' started by Lets Enjoy Medicine, Jun 20, 2021.

  1. Lets Enjoy Medicine

    Lets Enjoy Medicine Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2021
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    What is burnout?

    Burnout is a state of feeling chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, detachment and feelings of ineffectiveness and may be the result of unrelenting stress. Being ‘burned out’ means feeling empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring.

    In many cases, burnout stems from your job. Anyone who feels overworked and undervalued is at risk for burnout. This may include:
    • Feeling like you have little or no control over your work
    • Lack of recognition or rewards for good work
    • Unclear or overly demanding job expectations
    • Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment.
    It can occur when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. You also might be more likely to experience job burnout if you identify so strongly with work that you lack a balance between your work life and your personal life, you try to be all things to all people and you work in a helping profession, such as health care.

    What are the signs and symptoms of burnout?

    Burnout reduces your productivity and drains your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.

    Physical signs and symptoms of burnout include feeling tired and drained, getting sick and run down, headaches, back pain, muscle aches and unexplained changes in appetite or sleep habits. Longer term effects may include heart disease, weight gain, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes.

    Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout may include a sense of failure and self-doubt, feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated, detachment, feeling alone in the world, loss of motivation, an increasingly cynical and negative outlook and decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

    Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout are procrastinating and taking longer to get things done, isolation and withdrawal from friends and social situations, using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope, taking out your frustrations on others, skipping work or coming in late and leaving early, excessive stress, fatigue, insomnia, depression and anxiety.

    What can be done to reduce burnout?

    If you’re concerned about burnout, you need to take action. With insights from busy Australian doctors, here are six ways to help you deal with stress and reduce susceptibility to burn out:

    1. Actively work on staying positive, including positive self-talk, mindfulness, breathing and meditation

    If you’ve become cynical at work, consider ways to improve your outlook and develop an ‘attitude of gratitude’. Rediscover the enjoyable aspects of your work and recognise co-workers for valuable contributions or a job well done. Being positive is a mindset and a choice, rather than an emotion, and it takes regular practice to maintain it. Aim to replace doubts with self-affirmative statements supported by facts. For example, “I can finish this project in two days, as I have already performed quite well to tight deadlines in the past.”

    2. Harness any pent up energy and put it to good use with action and activity

    Stress is actually a useful mechanism that provides us with increased concentration and energy to solve complex tasks and get out of sticky situations. However, if we let it build up without doing anything to reduce it, we can face some serious problems. Try channelling nervous energy into physical activity, an artistic endeavour such as singing, writing, or painting, or learning a new skill – like knitting or a language – to take your mind off those seemingly unsolvable problems. Taking a break and distracting yourself can help your mind solve problems and can help you be more productive in the long term.

    “I always try to think and have reflection time and some recreation time. I love listening to classical music. That renews me. If you have spiritual faith that can help to a great extent.” Dr David Shaker, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, and Associate Professor at the University of Queensland.

    3. Focus less on emotions, and more on facts of the situation

    Discuss specific concerns with your supervisor. Perhaps you can work together to change expectations or reach compromises or solutions. Is job sharing an option? What about telecommuting or flexing your time? Would it help to establish a mentoring relationship? What are the options for continuing education or professional development?

    Dr David Shaker says: “Take advantage of every available opportunity for mentoring from anyone who is around you. It is important.”

    4. Develop a strong support network outside of family and work

    Whether you reach out to co-workers, friends or loved ones, support and collaboration might help you cope with job stress and feelings of burnout. If you have access to an employee assistance program (EAP), take advantage of the available services. Having someone to talk to can make a world of difference when it comes to building up resilience. Your close friends and family can help anchor you in reality and motivate you to keep moving forward, so never be afraid to make a phone call and have a long serious conversation with someone who cares about you. If you are concerned about your mental health, don’t hesitate to seek professional counselling and assistance from a registered psychologist.

    “You certainly go through periods, as with any job, where you think, ‘why am I doing this?’ I could be doing a million other things,” says Dr Cameron Loy, prison doctor and writer for “But everyone has those experiences. Whenever you work in an environment where you do get a fair bit of pressure, you need to acknowledge that what’s happened is OK and par for the course,” he adds.

    5. Develop habits that will keep you healthy and fit

    Take short breaks throughout the day and spend time away from work doing things you enjoy. Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress. It can also help you get your mind off work and focus on something else. Sleeps restores well-being and helps protect your health. Aim for at least 7-8 hours each night and ensure you are eating a healthy, well balanced diet. Good nutrition, regular physical exercise and plenty of rest can significantly improve your ability to cope during stressful periods in your life. By making a some dietary changes, moving your body more throughout the day and going to bed earlier (including turning off technology a few hours before bed), you’ll be able to take control more readily.

    6. Make sure what you are doing is right for you and aligned to your values and goals

    According to Dr Joe Kosterich, a GP and Perth-based media doctor, you have to be true to yourself and your personality you have to be true to yourself and your personality. “You need to ensure you’re doing what is manageable for you and part of that is knowing when to say ‘no’. Make sure that you’re interested in what you are doing, because it’s something that should energise you,” he says.

    The only person we are in competition with is ourselves. As Dr Shaker says, “we are all, as humanity, competing with other factors. We don’t need to also compete with each other. We hurt each other sometimes. Competition has to have a boundary.”

    Becoming resilient is a continuous process, but if you have the motivation and patience to work at it consistently, taking action daily, you’ll find the results come sooner than you think.

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