Workplace stress is certainly not uncommon, no matter what profession you are in. From servers to lawyers, workplace stress has become commonplace, and many of us struggle to find a good work-life balance. In fact, one million employees in the United States miss work every single day because of workplace stress related reasons and more than half of all people say that work has a powerful impact on their overall stress level. At least one quarter of all employees have taken at least one mental health day. But doctors in the United States suffer from job burnout and workplace stress at greater rates than most professions, with nearly half of all physicians and medical professionals experiencing one or more symptom of burnout. Burnout symptoms often manifest as workplace anger as well as exhaustion, but anxiety is also a common symptom of job or life burnout.
And burnout is common in the United States among physicians and medical professionals. Over 35% of physicians say that they feel very burnt out and the rates of burnout for young doctors, physicians under the age of 35, are even higher at almost 45%. Female doctors often feel more burnt out than male doctors, and emergency room doctors are more likely than any type of medical professional to have significant symptoms and signs of job burnout. In fact, nearly 60% of all emergency room doctors experience workplace stress and burnout symptoms at any given point in time.
This workplace stress and burnout have significant effects both on the careers and lives of physicians. For instance, physicians have higher rates of depression and anxiety related mental illness by up to 30% when compared to the general population. They are also around 20% more likely to file for divorce from their partners than those who are not medical professionals. They are, by far, the career that reports dissatisfaction with their work life balance at the highest rates.
Fortunately, there are burnout recovery strategies. Seeking the treatment and advice of a therapist can be an important step to getting back to a healthy mindset. A professional therapist can help their patients to deal with the symptoms of burnout and develop strategies to combat burnout before it can get too debilitating in the future. Burnout can also be counteracted with self care. Self care can mean going to therapy, but it can also mean engaging in physical activity on a regular basis or doing something even as small as treating yourself to a bubble bath. Self care can mean something different to each person, so it’s important to play around with what relaxes you until you find the best self care fit. Burnout can be hugely detrimental to your career as well as your overall life, but it is possible to combat the symptoms before they become severe. More than anything, it’s important to recognize symptoms of burnout for what they are and not brush them off as unimportant.