What is Occupational Burnout? 5 Ways to Combat Work-Related Stress

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It’s been one hell of a start to 2022 for me: I announced back in December that I took on a 2nd job in order to accelerate my timeframe of achieving my financial goals. While I crunched the numbers and braced myself for the heavy workload, I didn’t anticipate the amount of stress and mental exhaustion that would come with it.

According to the US Census Bureau, about 13 million US workers have more than one job, with women taking the lead. Additionally, 83% of US workers are impacted by work-related stress, which likely means that at some point you’ve likely experienced occupational burnout, a fancy term for chronic work-induced stress, overall exhaustion, and cynicism from career overwhelm.

Whether you’re working two jobs or working 1 full-time with a side hustle, trying to build two income streams based on labor output can be a recipe for deteriorating mental health and a decline in productivity. But sometimes increasing your income might be your only option to make ends meet, so here are a few tips to help you minimize the damage from occupational burnout and come up with a long-term plan.

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Reevaluate Your Workload

It happens: your supervisor or team might ask you to do a few extra things, which you eagerly take on for a chance to look good. But later on, your plate becomes overfilled. It might help you to refer to your employee handbook to review the scope of your job and compare it against the existing responsibilities you’re currently being asked to do. If it’s possible, try to find solutions within your team to reassign some tasks to their rightful owners – this may require some internal discussion within your department, so prepare to come to these conversations equipped with solutions rather than centering yourself in the conversation in order to prevent potential friction.

Talk to Your Employer

As employees, we tend to avoid conversations that might make us appear unfit for a job or may even jeopardize our employment. But it’s possible to have this discussion in a way that might not result in losing your job. Tell your supervisor that you may be overloaded with too many responsibilities and need to step away from certain tasks in order to increase your efficiency or quality of work. If this cannot be resolved, then consider negotiating a pay raise or a higher position. If they cannot relieve you of the extra responsibilities, ensure that you are at least being compensated more for the inconvenience.

Make Rest Part of Your Schedule

Self-care is non-negotiable for counteracting work-related stress. It can be tempting to continue multitasking after hours in order to ensure things around the house get done, but exercising your brain for extended periods of time without sufficient rest can result in even more brain fog, lack of productivity, and even depression. Set aside time in your schedule to do nothing with no productivity goal in mind so your brain can decompress and have some time to “breathe.”

Stick to Your Budget

When you’re exhausted or emotional, the chances for you to spend frivolously or compulsively are significantly higher. Mental burnout leads to decision fatigue, which refers to the weariness you might feel after a long day of decision-making. When you have decision fatigue, you are far more likely to make choices that may sabotage your financial goals as a result. Although it can feel easy to order several items off the menu just to treat yourself, sticking to your budget a bit more vigilantly will get you to your long-term goals much faster, which will feel far more satisfying than short-lived instant gratification.

Have an Exit Strategy

What was the initial reason for taking on an extra job? Remember what your goals are and keep in mind that you don’t plan on working two jobs forever. Spending your extra money on things to self-soothe during stressful times can feel like stress relief, but don’t lose sight of your goals – ensure that you have a timeframe so that you can eventually transition back into having one job and prepare to be flexible in the event that you need to reprioritize goals or pivot your strategy.

 

If you’re currently working two jobs, are a working student, or have a side hustle alongside your full-time job, how do you deal with occupational burnout? What is your secret to staying consistent? Let’s chat in the comments. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my newsletter below for more budgeting tips & tricks.

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