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Navigating Work Addiction and Burnout Amidst Hustle Culture

Posted by Mike Delaney
on 18 Jun 2024

What’s included?

  1. Introduction
  2. Work Addiction
  3. Recognising Burnout
  4. How to Spot Colleagues Who Are Burnt Out
  5. Building Resilience

Looking at how fast-paced and competitive the work environment can get, it’s no wonder that people are facing increasing work pressures and more intense working hours than before. In the UK, more than half of polled workers felt that work has become more intense and demanding, with 61% of them saying they felt exhausted at the end of the working day. 

As the line between dedication and work addiction begins to blur, we are seeing a concerning increase in burnout. While many think of burnout as having more mental and emotional symptoms, there are also physical signs that we can look out for.

Especially amidst this hustle culture that is permeating our modern workplaces, individuals and organisations need to understand work addiction and recognise burnout.

Work Addiction

Work addiction, also known as workaholism, can be characterised by an uncontrollable need to work incessantly. Unlike just simple dedication to your job, work addiction is driven by a compulsion to work, which can come at the expense of your personal health, relationships, and overall well-being. Workaholics may find it difficult to detach from work and experience anxiety when not working.

The consequences of overworking are severe, impacting both mental and physical health. The relentless drive can lead to burnout, a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. However, the physical impacts, such as cardiovascular diseases, are just detrimental. In fact, yearly, over 745 thousand deaths worldwide can be attributed to cardiovascular-related problems from overworking.

Recognising Burnout

Recently, awareness of burnout has increased significantly, with many companies recognising its detrimental effects on employees and overall productivity. Especially with the trends of quiet quitting and the Great Resignation, workplace burnout is now acknowledged as a legitimate workplace issue, leading to a shift in how organisations approach employee well-being.

Signs of burnout can be subtle and vary among individuals, but common indicators include:

  • Exhaustion: This can be both physical and emotional fatigue that does not go away with rest. This can also be a side effect of insomnia, another symptom that is caused by chronic stress. 
  • Detachment: Feeling disconnected from work and colleagues, leading to a decrease in engagement and productivity.
  • Irritability and Mood Swings: Increased frustration and a shorter temper.
  • Decreased Performance: As a result of these feelings of detachment, there is often a noticeable decline in the quality and efficiency of work.
  • Health Issues: Those experiencing burnout may also have frequent headaches, stomachaches, and a weakened immune system. Burnout also can develop alongside mental health issues like depression and anxiety, both of which manifest some physical symptoms.

How to Spot Colleagues Who Are Burnt Out

Many people exhibit burnout in different ways and it can be difficult to spot these signs, as they appear differently. However, knowing the most common symptoms and identifying burnout in colleagues can help prevent long-term damage and foster a supportive work environment. 

Here are some common signs to look out for in colleagues who might be experiencing burnout:

  • Behavioural Changes: Look for noticeable shifts in behaviour, such as a previously enthusiastic employee becoming withdrawn or disengaged.
  • Consistent Negativity: Increased negativity, cynicism, or complaints about work can be a sign of burnout.
  • Absenteeism: Frequent absences or an increase in sick days can indicate that someone is struggling. This can also include alienation from work-related activities, such as social events. 
  • Presenteeism: On the other hand, the need to be ever-present at work can also be a warning sign, such as excessive overtime, working late, or starting early. 
  • Physical Symptoms: Visible signs of stress such as looking tired, frequent headaches, stomachaches, loss of appetite, and general lethargy. 
  • Substance Abuse: This can include overeating, smoking or drinking more, or substance abuse in general.

Building Resilience

Work burnout can have detrimental impacts on us, physically, mentally, and psychologically. Both individuals and companies need to take responsibility and take steps to build resilience.

Here are a few coping strategies for individuals feeling burned out: 

  • Set Boundaries: Clearly define work hours and stick to them. Avoid checking emails or working during personal time.
  • Practice Self-Care: Engage in activities that promote well-being, such as exercise, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practices such as meditation, yoga, or deep-breathing exercises can help manage stress.
  • Seek Support: Talk to colleagues, friends, family, or even a mental health professional about stress and challenges.

As awareness of work addiction and burnout grows, the future of work is likely to see a more balanced approach to productivity and well-being. While hustle culture and the drive to succeed are deeply ingrained in modern work environments, it is important to recognise the signs of work addiction and burnout and seek support when needed. 

Here at Delamere, we offer a range of programmes for mental health and addiction, including work burnout. At our purpose-built, state-of-the-art private clinic in Cheshire, we give individuals the time to regroup, recover, and recharge from work burnout, over an intensive 4-phase treatment plan. 

Understanding Valium addiction and its impact
Article Name
Understanding Valium addiction and its impact
Delamere’s holistic therapists discuss Valium addiction and its impact with advice on how to get help.
Publisher Name
Delamere Health Ltd
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About the author: Mike Delaney

Mike crafted our innovative and person centred approach to addiction treatment. Mike’s experience in the addiction treatment sector encompasses his work as a nurse, psychotherapist and Chief Executive.

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