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We live in a world where productivity is the word of the century. Making the most out the humble 24 hours in a day to get as much done, in as little time as possible, is the new norm.

You may think that it’s easy to spot the signs of being overworked, however you might be surprised at how resilient our bodies are. As you work long hours, under high pressure for days on end you may feel on top of the world, until that dreaded day when you burn out and your health and wellbeing become severely compromised.

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Many have been hit so hard by this burnout that they have been hospitalised, have suffered severe depression, and eventually have had to quit their jobs. This burnout may also come in the form of a suddenly diagnosed chronic illness that now has the opportunity to bubble to the surface as your body’s immune system becomes dangerously compromised in the overworked state.

This is why it’s so crucial to be able to spot the signs of being overworked before they manifest as an illness or before you ‘burn out’. Take a look at some of the prominent signs below. Are you experiencing any of these?

The thought of work fills you with anxiety


Occupational Therapist
Programmed Health Professionals
Medical Receptionist
Cabrini Health
Senior Supervisor
St Vincent's Private Hospital

This is one of the first signs of being overworked. Of course not everybody loves going to work (a few are the lucky exceptions); however if you feel tense, upset or anxious before work on a daily basis then chances are something is amiss. Don’t ignore this sign! This dread is actually a signal from your body that something is not quite right.

In the nursing profession this may be for a variety of reasons that include:

  • Not being able to adjust to the hours
  • Unsupportive nursing supervisors
  • Increasing demands from your nurse manager

If you fall into any of these categories then you should probably try looking for another job, speak to your peers regarding solutions, or in the worst case scenario, issue a complaint to higher authorities if you feel unsupported or that you are not respected at work.

You feel like you aren’t being appreciated

The nursing profession is a rewarding one, however at times you may feel like you are doing so much for everybody with little verbal appreciation. On a day to day basis you will be attending to numerous patients with differing needs, many of whom may even snap at you! Being resilient and focusing on the positives are two qualities essential to a successful nurse.

However if you really start feeling under-appreciated to the point where you feel emotionally unwell then you may be overworked. If this is the case then perhaps you should:

  • Reduce your workload by refusing extra shifts and committee appointments.
  • Take a small holiday to relax and unwind.
  • Seek professional help from a counsellor.
  • Motivate yourself using positive self-talk. An excellent tip is to list your achievements at the conclusion of every day in a small notebook. This will help shift your focus from the negative aspects of your day to positive ones.
  • Talk to close family and friends for positive affirmations and to discuss possible solutions. Our loved ones are just as concerned for our health as we are (if not more). So keeping them in the loop with your issues can be highly beneficial.

You feel constantly ill, fatigued and tired

As our bodies become overworked some of the initial telltale signs are being constantly sick and generally unwell. You may find yourself sleepy, dizzy, or even nauseous as the initial warning signs of a burnout manifest.

These signs may not just appear at work but also during time spent with your family and friends. In fact you may have problems with activities that you previously found enjoyable, such as dining out, going shopping or playing with your kids.

If this is the case then you should:

  • Book an appointment with your GP for a check up to rule out any physical causes for your symptoms.
  • Try taking part in exercise that you enjoy. It may be difficult to exercise when you feel sluggish all the time; however exercise releases mood enhancing hormones that may actually help reduce some of your work related stress.
  • Focus on your diet and make sure that you are eating nutritious meals. Most people when overworked compromise on the quality of their meals because they find themselves too busy to cook. Meal planning on your days off for quick and healthy meals is a life-saver in these circumstances.

If you feel that you are experiencing any of the above signs then make a solid decision today to take action now before the nature of your work takes a heavy toll on your wellbeing.



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