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What is the Impact of Stress and Burnout?

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Let’s dive deeper into how our uninvited guest, stress, can medal with our ABILITY TO THRIVE and lead to burnout.


Exhausted woman at work.

Welcome back, to the second post in The Soul Spot series on navigating the murky waters of work-related stress.


Our first post helped us to better understand our unwelcome office mate, stress, and its menacing frolleague, burnout. Now, we're ready to delve deeper into how these two can meddle with our productivity and overall wellness.


So, grab your preferred work beverage but maybe make it a decaf? We are addressing stress, after all, and let's dive in.


I like to think about stress as weeds sprouting haphazardly in an otherwise well-tended flower garden. Initially, they may appear harmless, even somewhat attractive adding a touch of green. A simple background to your garden oasis.


However, left unattended, these weeds start to spread– rapidly. Choking out the vibrancy of what you are creating.


Impacts of Stress

Much like weeds are part of a garden, occasional stress is a natural component of work life. But when it’s left untended, it begins to encroach upon your work productivity. And even more importantly, it can also impact your health and well-being.


Unchecked stress can change even the most productive and trusted among us. Elevated stress levels can precipitate decreased focus, impaired decision-making, and increase the likelihood of errors or accidents in the workplace. Stress clouds our cognitive clarity, which in turn, creates further stress. Stress self-propagates just as the weeds of the garden do.


The ramifications of stress extend beyond dwindling productivity and occasional poor decision-making. They creep into the realm of our health and well-being.


Chronic stress has been linked to sleep disorders, high blood pressure, and heart conditions, and can also amplify mental health concerns like depression and anxiety. Impacting your physical and mental health over time. And left unmanaged, it can become burnout.


Impacts of Burnout

Burnout is the more formidable sibling of stress. Remember, burnout is the aftermath of prolonged, unchecked chronic stress.


It's the consequence of continually plowing through, beyond the point of exhaustion. Until even the fumes you’ve been running on, run out.


Burnout is characterized by deep fatigue, cynicism, and a feeling of inefficacy. It can be debilitating. With burnout, your nervous system and brain are responding to being severely over-taxed.


“Stress not only worsens your current cognition but can actually have harmful effects in the long-term as well” Dr. Ambar Kulshreshtha, co-author of a study on the effect of stress on the brain shared with CNN.


Uncontrolled stress impacts the area of the brain that controls abstract thinking, working memory and executive function. Making the things you depend on, planning, multitasking, and concentration challenging to activate.


If you are feeling stressed at work, it’s not something you should ignore. Left unchecked it will impact your professional life as well as your personal health and happiness.


In the next post, we'll take a look at the things that cause stress, both generally and specifically, for you. The more you understand your stressors, the easier they are to manage. In the meantime, here are some self-care at work tips to get you started on a path to managing your work stress.


Stress may be like a relentless weed, but by learning more and putting small actions into place, you are becoming a master gardener. Equipped and ready to cultivate a thriving landscape of wellness at work and in life.


If you'd like to move from surviving at work to thriving, schedule a no-obligation, free consult

to better understand the options available to you.


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