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Burned Out In D.C.? Try This

Did you know that, out of the 50 largest cities in the United states, Washington, D.C. has the most overworked workforce in the entire country? That’s not exactly the trend you want to headline for, but that’s the current state of affairs. And it's impacting everyone – perhaps even you.

Tyreece Bauer
Dec 20, 20232038 Shares27542 Views
Did you know that, out of the 50 largest cities in the United States, Washington, D.C. has the most overworked workforce in the entire country? That’s not exactly the trend you want to headline for, but that’s the current state of affairs. And it's impacting everyone – perhaps even you.

Burned Out in D.C.

After years of collective exhaustion and feelings of overwhelm, millions of Americans participated in what many have deemed the “Great Resignation” in 2021. That trend eventually led to another one, known simply as “quiet quitting.” Terms like work-life balance, remote work, hybrid work, and flex scheduling have also recently risen to prominence. And at the heart of all these trends is a heartbeat of burnout – a phenomenon that’s perhaps no more pronounced than in the nation’s capital.
Out of the 50 largest cities in the United States, Washington, D.C. ranks first – i.e. “worst” – for being the most overworked city. Following behind are Denver and Austin.
When evaluating cities for burnout, the FinanceBuzz studyexplored categories like:
  • Average number of hours worked per week
  • Average commute time
  • Percentage of workers who work 50 or more weeks per year
  • Percentage of households with two or more people working
  • Percentage of active workers who are ages 65 or older
  • Percentage of workers with a side hustle
  • Percentage of workers in each city’s state who have two or more jobs
Among other things, D.C. has one of the highest rates of professionals who work 50 or more weeks per year. The city also has the highest percentage of older adults still in the workforce, which indicates an unwillingness or inability to retire at a standard age. Ultimately, these are all warning signs that burnout is running rampant throughout the city.

What is Burnout?

We all deal with burnout from time to time, whether we realize it or not. As our lives become busy, we find ourselves doing too much (and not taking enough rest to recalibrate our minds and bodies).
According to WebMD, “Burnout is a form of exhaustion caused by constantly feeling swamped. It’s a result of excessive and prolonged emotional, physical, and mental stress. In many cases, burnout is related to one’s job.”
Burnout becomes most obvious when you reach a point of feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to keep up with the demands of your career or life. And though it isn’t technically a medical diagnosis (yet), it has very real physical and mental health effects, including:
  • Lack of productivity
  • Lower energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Cynicism
  • Resentfulness
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Declining relationships
  • Unhealthy dependency on drugs and alcohol
Researchers believe long-term burnout can even make you more susceptible and vulnerable to sickness, including colds and flus.
How to Tackle Burnout
There’s no magic pill you can pop or surgical procedure you can have to put a stop to burnout. It’s something that every individual must tackle on their own – and the solutions can vary based on circumstances. With that being said, here are several suggestions:
  • Find a different career. One short-term fix might be to switch jobs or careers. By changing things up, you’ll find new excitement and challenges that reinvigorate you on a daily basis. Having said that, this is not a long-term solution. Eventually, your “new” job or career becomes just another thing and you can fall victim to burnout again.
  • Find a therapist. Stop trying to cure burnout on your own. You need to adopt new ways of thinking that are healthy and manageable. This is where finding a D.C.-based therapistcan help. By welcoming a professional into your life who can help you dissect the causes and thought patterns that have led to your current state of burnout, you can put yourself on a much more positive trajectory for the future.
  • Move to a lower COLA. Many people don’t realize that they’re stuck in a hamster wheel. They work crazy hours so they can make money to pay for their expensive mortgages, cars, taxes, etc. But what if you moved to a lower cost of living area (COLA)? Could you slash your monthly expenses by 15, 25, or even 50 percent or more? And would that allow you to work fewer hours or find a less stressful job? Maybe so.
  • Set boundaries. Regardless of what you do with your current job – or if you decide to move somewhere less expensive – the only way to truly put an end to burnout is to set boundaries for yourself in your career and personal life. Without boundaries, you’ll always be susceptible to overworking and burning out.
Put an End to Burnout in D.C.
Unfortunately, it looks nearly impossible to end the burnout crisis in Washington, D.C. (or any major city, for that matter). But that shouldn’t be your concern. Your only mission is to put an end to burnout for yourself and your loved ones. And once you understand some of the proactive steps you can take, it all starts to look a little more realistic. No matter how bleak things might look, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
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