Today, it is difficult to find a person who has a job and has never stayed in the office over time, taken work from home, or worked on the weekends. In this article, we will discuss why overworking is not ok, how regular overtime work can be dangerous, and which mental problems may appear after job burnout.
Let’s be honest, overworking is a common occurrence all over the world. There are quite clear motives for this – deadlines, the desire to get more compensation, or rise to a higher career level. But if overtime work is perceived in the company as the norm and part of corporate culture, deviation from which automatically causes questions from your colleagues – it’s not ok.
The optimal balance of work and personal time is not a trend or a desire to do nothing, but first of all, a guarantee of a productive and healthy professional life. Working overtime from time to time can indeed have positive consequences, but doing so on a regular basis is dangerous. The specialists from the national addiction hotline on AddictionResource explain how overwork can cause numerous mental problems, such as depression, burnout, alcohol and drug addiction.
You can believe that the more hours you work, the more work you do. But in reality, our productivity peaks at some point and then declines. Decreased productivity, in turn, leads to excessive effort to do at least something. As a result, you may experience feelings of incompetence, low self-esteem, and self-doubt that will affect your mental and physical health.
Unpleasant consequences for mental health
For a person who spends more time at work, the level of stress increases, there is chronic fatigue, the likelihood of emotional burnout. This increases, in particular, the risk of developing depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. In addition, your personal relationships suffer from this.
It is important to remember that working a few extra hours a week will not harm your mental health. But for others, especially those who already have some difficulties, overworking can provoke a sharp deterioration in health.
The processing affects the development of cardiovascular disease and exacerbation of other somatic diseases. Also, after a while, your brain will simply stop paying enough attention to work processes. It doesn’t matter where you work: in the office, hospital or on the construction site – because of fatigue, everyone risks making a mistake that can affect the work or life of others.
What can overwork lead to?
In some cultures, overwork can have a very sad result. For example, in Japan and South Korea, there are cases, which are called “death from fatigue”. Despite the fight against this phenomenon, overtime work is still perceived as proof of success.
Globally, a change in cultural attitudes is needed to correct the situation, which currently promotes overwork as something positive that demonstrates a commitment to work and a focus on careers.
But remember: having too many overtimes can indicate deficiencies in management practice, poor workflows, or a counterproductive workplace atmosphere. Therefore it is not necessary to run in a circle, trying to compensate for everything with additional hours of work.
Burnout and its consequences
Not only does burnout threaten health, relationships, and careers, it can drag on for years, while people continue to experience severe mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.
Addiction helpline specialists explain how burnout can be the main cause of addiction. Sleep disorders are a common symptom; racing thoughts keep people awake and serve as an unwanted wake-up call in the middle of the night. People can then turn to alcohol to get some relief, as alcohol is a sedative. Or they can try to get rid of stress and anxiety with prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines, etc.
Often people who call rehab tell that they need help to wake up from drowsiness and a foggy mind caused by sedatives. Some people rely on caffeine for energy, but too often cocaine or amphetamines provide energy to continue throughout the day. Other unhealthy distractions such as Internet pornography, gambling or love can bring relief by acting as temporary mood lifters.
How not to burn out?
Instead of fighting the effects of burnout, it is better to pay attention to its prevention. Burnout can be prevented by producing the necessary hormones and neurotransmitters that are responsible for the quality of life.
- Dopamine is responsible for curiosity, interest and satisfaction. It’s a kind of drug for the brain. Our lives today are saturated with dopamine, so from time to time, it is recommended to go on a dopamine diet. For a week you can remove Facebook and Instagram from your smartphone, drink less coffee, eat sweets only in the morning, and so on.
- Serotonin gives us strength and a good mood. To produce serotonin, you need to play sports, make love, walk in the fresh air. You can start with the simplest – take at least 10 thousand steps every day.
- Endorphin is responsible for joy and happiness. It increases when we share these emotions with others. To produce endorphins, travel more, attend concerts.
- Oxytocin is a hormone of intimacy, love. Communication with children, pets, meetings with friends, and hugs will help to produce oxytocin.
- Adrenaline provides us with the necessary emotional shock. We would not recommend looking for sources of adrenaline at work. It is better to find it in active recreation or sports.
Universal formula for life without drama and trauma
If there is no single cause of burnout, but there is a universal formula that will help build a life and career without trauma and depression. We recommend following the NETS formula: nutrition, exercise, training, sleep.
Additionally, get a consultation, calling a national addiction hotline. Alcohol or drug addiction is a crucial problem for everybody who gets too much stress at work. The specialists from a 24-hour addiction helpline will support you and explain how to prevent substance abuse. In a case, you already noticed you had problems with alcohol or drugs, better call a rehab or addiction recovery hotline.