Women who are fed up and burnt-out on their jobs are likely to eat more. This probably is not surprising to you, but it has been confirmed by research done in Finland and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. While most of us want to stop stress eating, we are aware that we do it. Whether you know it or not, there are some good reasons why we do it as well.
Job stress is enough to cause stress eating for most people. Burnout is when job stress becomes a chronic condition and can lead to fatigue, loss of interest or concern, and often mistakes. Burn-out applies to men as well as women; however, this specific study was done with a group of 230 employed women between the ages of 30 and 55. Interestingly, 22 percent of the participants demonstrated some degree of burnout.
The best way to stop work burnout is prevention. My definition of stress management includes avoiding unnecessary stressors, dealing with stressors as they arise, and recovering from the adrenaline response. Depending on the culture of your employer, you may not be able to directly address all stressors related to your job, but you can always make sure that you leave your stress at work. Even a short commute can be an excellent time to de-stress by sitting in silence, cranking up the music (don’t be embarrassed to car dance if it helps and as long as you are safe), or talking to a support (using a hands free device). Taking a walk, run, or bike ride after work can be a great way to burn excess energy from the adrenaline response, distract yourself, and bond with family members.
If you find yourself burnt-out or creeping that direction, you may not be able to manage your stress eating, which is a coping technique, until you have managed the job stressors that are causing your emotional eating. Changing jobs is not always an option, but you can work with a good counselor to manage stressors and find a healthy way to think about your job.
March 20th, 2012