|Abstract:||Stress and strain are closely associated with contemporary workplaces; therefore, alongside work skills and knowledge one possesses, one also needs to quickly and efficiently renew energy, reduce strain and regain new resources. This recovery process, taking place on a psychophysiological level, is called rest or recovery after work.
This cross-section study examined how individual experiences and patterns of rest after work contribute to the development of relaxation, reduced fatigue, sleep quality and changes in endocrine function, and what is the role of quality rest in the surfacing of longer-term issues such as burnout. The research included 49 white-collar employees from a major Slovenian service company. Psychological aspects of recovery were assessed with the self-assessment questionnaire battery, while levels of cortisol were detected by saliva samples, where several control variables were considered according to the guidelines. The results of the regression analysis showed that psychological experience of recovery crucially decides the level of fatigue and relaxation, while the higher experience level of diverse psychological recovery situations in the time after work supports the regular endocrine function, detected in cortisol awakening response.
Additionally, with the help of latent profile analysis, we identified four different recovery profiles, where the most common profile is “rested – problem-oriented rumminators” (34,7 %). Recovery after work showed a crucial role also in burnout and its secondary symptoms, where the two stand outs are mastery experience and affective rumination, which as mediators represent crucial protective and risk factors.
Taking into account the severity of burnout, we shed light on the polemic of so called adrenal fatigue, where the results indicate that the phenomenon of burnout is not accompanied by the attenuated function of endocrine hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, while certain deviations in cortisol parameters can be detected in those with pronounced atypical symptoms (psychological distress, psychosomatic complaints and depressed mood). This study gathered some crucial cues showing that achieving changes in recovery after work is crucial for the employees facing burnout. Employers must therefore not only provide an environment where employees can develop and upgrade work skills, but also where workers' skills for adequate recovery after work are promoted and enhanced.|