Just how harmful is the burnout syndrome?
It is more dangerous than you may have thought. The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology published a study recently that uncovered a link between burnout syndrome and cardiac problems. The study concluded that burnout can disturb your heart’s natural rhythm!
Understanding burnout and its connection to your heart –
What exactly is burnout?
According to researchers, burnout is exhaustion caused by a prolonged period of stress at the workplace. Surveys have found that 77% of the workforce has experienced the symptoms of workplace burnout.
This is why the World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorized burnout as a work hazard. The medical community no longer considers it a psychological ailment like anxiety or depression.
According to WHO, burnout has a few definitive symptoms-
- Draining of energy levels and exhaustion.
- Feeling a sense of detachment from the work that one does or feeling negative about work.
- A decline in productivity at the workplace.
Burnout is directly responsible for heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). It can also lead to atrial fibrillation.
Why should you be worried about atrial fibrillation?
This form of non-rhythmic heartbeat makes blood clot in the atria (chambers of the heart). Sometimes, the clot can cause a heart attack cutting off the supply of oxygen to the heart or the clot can come loose and travel to the brain where it may trigger a stroke.
To find out whether work burnout really does trigger cardiac problems, researchers surveyed 11,000 people with varying degrees of workplace stress and social/family support over a period of 25 years. The study found that people with uncontrolled stress levels are at a very high risk of atrial fibrillation.
What can you do?
Since there is a clear indication that stress and burnout can be fatal, you need to take immediate steps to deal with it!
Is workplace stress taking over your life?
If yes, here are a few ways to cope with it –
- Make a plan for the day. You can manage your work and stress effectively if you have a carefully planned out routine.
- Stress levels go up when you think you are losing control over a situation. Psychologists advise people to analyse a situation to understand which elements you can control and which you cannot. When you are dealing with matters that are out of your hands, be patient and smart. Calculate your words and moves so that the situation doesn’t turn against you. This strategy will help you get along better with colleagues and bosses.
- Breathe deeply when you feel stressed. Count to four as you breathe in, hold the breath and release it slowly as you again count to four.
- Exercise every day. Working out releases endorphins or happy hormones that help combat cortisol or the stress hormone.
Currently, if you are not stressed with your work, should you still be concerned?
Yes, workplace stress can happen to anyone, anytime. You can take the following preventive measures for workplace stress –
- Love caffeine? Limit its consumption as it can agitate your nerves.
- Sleep at least 7 hours.
- Spend time with family and friends.
- Workout every day.
- Eat healthily.
- Meditation and yoga must be constants in your daily routine.
Burnout can be controlled or prevented with these few simple steps that you can inculcate in your daily routine. Do not let it take over your life and put a brake on it!