Burnout at Work?

Burnout is the feeling of depression and emotional exhaustion. Most of us feel tired and stressed at work at some point or another. A stressful client, a short deadline or a setback in work can make us feel stressed and anxious. When this anxiety results in personality changes, it can be a sign of work burnout. Burnout usually manifests itself in the form of depression. Work gets affected and performance deteriorates. Depression sets in. Tasks that could be easily completed earlier seem difficult.

Apart from causing deep emotional and professional damage, work burnout affects health. According to a recent study, people who suffer from work burnout and depression may develop the habit of emotional eating. The study was reported in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Emotional eating because of burnout?

Emotional eating is the habit of eating to curb the feelings of anxiety, depression and insecurities. People who suffer burnout keep eating even when they don’t feel hungry. They keep eating when they are full and satiated.

People who suffer from burnout become vulnerable to excessive eating and depression. The high pressure situation of office makes such people find solace in food and comfort.

Findings of the Study on Work Burnout

Nina Nevanpera, from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, led this study on burnout and depression. The study was conducted on 230 female employees between the ages of 30 and 55.

Findings of the study revealed the following facts about burnout:

  • 22% of the participants suffered from some form of burnout.
  • Women who showed signs of burnout scored higher on emotional eating measures.
  • Women who did not show signs of work burnout, were able to reduce their overeating in one year
  • No dietary improvements were seen among the women who showed signs of work burnout.
  • No obvious changes in the weight of the participants due to burnout.
    • About 50% of women suffering from burnout had a normal weight
    • About 33% of women who did not show signs of work burnout had a normal weight.
  • The reason behind lower weight ratio among women showing signs of burnout or stress is attributed to education.

Reasons behind emotional eating due to work burnout?

Sherry Pagoto, clinician at the Weight Center of the Massachusetts University Medical School, said that work overpowers life. When people are unhappy, stressed or in depression at their job, they use food as a tool to make them happy.  It's not surprising that burnout, feeling that your work has no meaning  or feeling overwhelmed at work, would be related to emotional eating.

Some ways to curb burnout

  • Make a plan of action for each day, week, and month
  • Focus on doing one thing at a time
  • Understand your limits. Pushing yourself too hard leads to poor performance and mental fatigue.
  • Try to get out more. Walk around the block, exercise, take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Invest in Health to Curb Burnout

To reduce stress, burnout, depression and anxiety from your professional life, you must ensure that you enjoy your work. Try to find the reasons behind your unhappiness at the workplace and work towards ensuring that it doesn’t bother you. Take ample sleep and reduce intake of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco and include physical activities in your daily routine .