On-the-job burnout is associated with lower nutrition and physical activity behaviors that push one to take on unhealthy habits

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo by Campaign Creators/Unsplash

Burnout happens when one experiences excessive strain and prolonged stress in the workplace. According to Psychology Today, symptoms of burnout include low personal accomplishment, difficulty finishing tasks, forgetfulness or impaired concentration and attention, and depression. Sadly, experiencing job burnout is almost unavoidable, and what’s even worse is that it also leads one to make unhealthy lifestyle decisions.

Researchers from the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health published a study that examines the health effects of work burnout. What they found was that heavy workload and exhaustion are linked to emotional eating, uncontrolled eating, and a high percentage of calories from fatty food.

The study evaluated the relationship between workload, exhaustion, and key health behaviors. The researchers examined over 953 employed adults and asked them questions related to how much work they were expected to do and if they feel weary after working. Moreover, the researchers also tested the eating behaviors of the participants using a questionnaire that measured their tendency to eat during times of stress and the percent of calories from their food intake.

Besides emotional and uncontrolled eating, the researchers found that workload and exhaustion were also linked to lower physical activity levels. On-the-job burnout is also associated with lower nutrition and physical activity behaviors that push one to take on unhealthy habits.

According to the study’s author Heather Padilla, when a person’s workload is too heavy, they’re left with no energy to make healthy decisions about buying and preparing food. Because of this, they resort to eating  fast and convenience food that are high in fat and lack many of the nutrients a person needs.

Fighting Burnout

If you’re working an eight-hour desk job, it’s important to always find time for yourself outside work. It’s also crucial to not let your lifestyle revolve solely around your job, and instead let your job be part of your daily routine. The key here is to find hobbies and interests outside the workplace—whether it be doing cardiovascular exercises regularly, joining organizations outside your job, or socializing.

A few more strategies to fight job burnout is to get more sleep, mindfulness meditation, taking time off your work, and eating healthy, balanced meals. Furthermore, prioritize your health before anything else because it’s the most important investment you can ever make.

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