We talk about burnout all the time, but what is it really? Is it the reason you’re exhausted, dragging your feet, or have a constant nagging feeling that life is just too hard? With 71 per cent of workers experiencing burnout in 2020, it’s important to recognise the signs.
The World Health Organization’s definition of burnout, is defined by three key symptoms, resulting from improperly managed chronic workplace stress. These are: “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and reduced professional efficacy.”
Taking this definition a step further, researchers from Black Dog Institute have identified the following symptoms:
- “emotional exhaustion
- lack of empathy
- reduced performance
- depression and low mood
- irritability and anger
- sleep disturbances
- lack of motivation or passion
- lack of concentration, memory loss or brain fog
- withdrawal from others
- physical symptoms, such as aches, headaches, nausea and low libido
- emotional fragility”.
Sound familiar? OK then, what can you do to repair the burn? For starters, go back to our article offering strategies to help you recover from exhaustion.
You could also try these four activities:
- Schedule some downtime – Step away from ‘useful’ activities and find something you enjoy doing that’s not going to be too taxing. Cook your favourite meal, read a book, listen to music, take more naps. Be less busy!
- Start socialising – Research tells us that the loss of social connectedness is a major contributor to burnout, so make time for your family, friends, colleagues – whoever it is that refuels you.
- Be kind to yourself – It’s been proven that self-compassion keeps people emotionally balanced in difficult situations. Let a supportive and understanding voice replace your inner critic.
- Get physical – There are so many benefits linked to physical exercise and just one of them is its capacity to alleviate stress. So, dust off those runners and start walking, dancing, swimming, frisbeeing …
Of course, prevention is infinitely better than having to find a cure. If you find yourself showing the signs of burnout, examine the cause as soon as possible. Spend some time at the end of each day asking yourself:
- How am I feeling?
- How did I show up today?
- If I look in my calendar, what (or who) should I have said ‘no’ to?
- Where can I create space for the things that matter most?
- Do I feel overwhelmed by my busyness?
- What strategies can I put in place to create balance, space and stillness?
- How much more fulfilled would I be in my life if work was not draining me?
If you’re looking to explore this topic further, Dr Jenny Brockis’ Thriving mind: how to cultivate a good life offers some science-backed strategies for not only overcoming burnout, but avoiding it altogether.
– The Coach Place Global
Image by @alexandernaglestad
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