work in sports

People who work in sports are driven by passion. Many positions demand long hours and big workloads. This is par for the course for most professions.

However, there is only so much pressure you can take. Burning out is not only bad for your health, but it’s also bad for your career. You’ll lose enthusiasm, your performance will suffer, and your strong work ethic may decline.

If your work is burning you out, you’re not alone. In fact, the National Study of the Changing Workforce from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) from July 2017 found that 38 percent of employees feel overwhelmed by how much they have to get done at work.

You might not even realize you’re burning out. Here are four signs to look out for:

Sleep Problems

Everyone’s been there. The room is quiet. You’re comfortable and relaxed. As soon as you close your eyes, the thoughts start racing.

A March 2016 CareerBuilder survey conducted by Harris Poll found that 58 percent of workers said they weren’t getting enough sleep, and 61 percent said that sleep deprivation affected their work. What’s more, 44 percent said that just thinking about work kept them up at night.

Sleep deprivation can cause several health problems, and you might not even realize you’re experiencing it. Symptoms include increased appetite, weight gain, poor memory, decision-making troubles, and lack of emotional control.

Burnt-out employees are also more susceptible to stress-related sleep problems, such as:

  • Insomnia: difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep. To be diagnosed, you need to experience at least three months of these symptoms.
  • Sleep terrors: short bursts of movement and screaming during sleep. These take place during non-REM sleep, and sufferers usually don’t recall the event.
  • Bruxism: excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching. This can lead to headaches and a sore jaw.   

These kinds of sleep issues will leave you feeling groggy the next day.

Work-Family Conflict

The SHRM study also found that 46 percent of men and 43 percent of women experience work-family conflict regularly. This conflict is caused by a number of reasons.

If you’re caring for children or elder parents and relatives, you will feel overextended. This is especially true if you’re caring for both kids and aging parents. You’re part of what is called the sandwich generation.

As a matter of fact, a January 2013 survey from Pew Research Center found that nearly half of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent aged 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child. This kind of responsibility carries a lot of pressure. When you add work stress, it can create a host of issues in your home.

Another cause of work-family conflict comes from the work itself. It’s important to push yourself when you work in sports, but you need to have boundaries. If you’re taking on too big of a workload for the sake of career advancement, you’re jeopardizing the well-being of yourself and your family.  

To put it simply, there are two types of conflict that happen at home: when work demands interfere with family life (e.g., working late and on weekends) and when family life interferes with work demands (e.g., a single parent dealing with elder care outside of work hours). Learn what conflict you’re susceptible to and identify whether or not it’s happening.

Inability to Concentrate

No matter where you work in sports, you’re going to reach a point of feeling spread too thin. If you’re buried under unmanageable workloads, you will eventually lose your ability to focus on the task at hand.

A 2011 study published in Cognition found that sporadic breaks lead to ‘goal reactivation.’ For example, let’s say you work as a coach. You’re spending a large chunk of your day writing drills and practices, but you start to feel ‘lost in the weeds’ as some might say.

To refocus, it’s best to take a short break. This gives you the opportunity to think about the bigger picture and identify what, specifically, you’re trying to achieve. When you return to your task, you have a clear mind and can work faster.

The point is, if your employer doesn’t give you a chance to add some goal reactivation to your workday, your performance will suffer immensely.  

General Apathy

Apathetic employees are neither happy nor unhappy. They simply go through the motions doing the bare minimum and staying detached from their colleagues. Your boss might be pushing you to this mindset.

For instance, you work in the fitness industry. You’re in charge of managing memberships at a health club, but you start to care less and less engaged every day because your boss never praises you. This loss of motivation can lead to disciplinary action and give you a bad reputation.

Disengagement and apathy can even cause issues in your personal life. You might lose interest in home tasks, like cleaning and doing laundry, and start to neglect your personal care. This will snowball and become harder to manage.

How to Address Being Overworked

This is one of the hardest conversations you will have with your boss. You obviously don’t want to sound like you’re complaining or can’t handle normal levels of work pressure. But you need to take care of yourself so speaking up is a must.

Remember, you’re not complaining — you’re being a problem solver. Your burnout is a problem that is manageable so when you bring it up to your boss, offer a solution. Perhaps you need more training to complete harder tasks or lack the tools you need to deliver work before deadlines.

Whatever your problems and solutions are, you must be specific. Provide examples of ongoing issues, then present the intended outcome of your solutions. This way, you’re not dwelling on the past. You’re thinking ahead.

Don’t let your work in sports burn you out. A simple, productive conversation with your boss is the best way to manage and, hopefully, prevent the many symptoms of burnout.

How are you addressing your feelings of burnout with your boss? Share in the comments!