OK, so we all know that stress is bad. And we all know that working 18-hour-days is not healthy. And we all know that working at a job you hate can lead to depression. But did you know that job burnout (the result of the above behaviors) may be increasing your risk for a heart attack?
A 2012 study found that "Participants who scored high on burnout had a higher risk of developing Coronary Health Disease (CHD) on follow-up compared with others." Researchers also noted that the findings should motivate employers to take measures to prevent job burnout among their employees.
Are You Depressed or Experiencing Burnout?
Joan Borysenko, in her article Burnout or Depression? What's Wrong with Me?, tells of her experience with burnout and how it took her a while to realize that it wasn't just depression:
What I discovered is that burnout — outside of corporate circles — is very poorly understood. None of the healers whom I consulted — either the traditional or the complementary — understood what the mechanics of burnout are and what is needed for recovery.
I realized that unless the condition is recognized and taken seriously, physicians will keep missing it and handing out antidepressants. While medication can afford temporary relief for some people, it may also short-circuit the process of self-reflection, which is ultimately where healing comes from.
Joan Borysenko also addresses the issue of burnout in other InnerSelf articles. Read those articles here.
Burnout: It's Not Just In Your Head
Tel Aviv University researchers also discovered a link between job burnout and Type 2 diabetes. Specifically, people who were the most burnt out had an 84 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, compared with their less burned-out peers.
Logistic regression results indicated that burnout was associated with a 1.84-fold increased risk of diabetes even after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, smoking, alcohol use, leisure time physical activity, initial job category, and follow-up duration. In a subsample of 507 workers, the relative risk of diabetes was found to be much higher after additional control for blood pressure levels, available only for this subsample.
Exercise Lowers Risk of Burnout
There are things we can do to alleviate or even prevent burnout. One, it turns out is to exercise for a total of as little as 90 minutes a week -- that's only 13 minutes a day seven days a week, or less than 20 minutes/day for five days a week. This amount of exercise will cut your risk of burnout in half.
HUFFINGTON POST - When the researchers crossed study participants' workout habits with their psychological well-being, they found that the more a worker exercised, the less likely his or her psychological health declined over a three year period. In fact, those who got at least 1.5 hours of exercise a week were half as likely to get depressed and experience job burnout over three years as those who never worked out.
Sustainable Wellness: An Integrative Approach to Transform Your Mind, Body, and Spirit
by Matt Mumber, MD and Heather Reed.
Sustainable Wellness combines modern scientific research with ancient methods that benefit the individual on all levels. The authors share tested techniques, personal stories of triumph, and daily exercises that will guide you on the path to sustainable wellness.
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity. More articles by Marie T. Russell