Overcoming the new burnout
We have become so accustomed to working from home and normal life with all the pressures and stress that it comes with, that we often don’t realize when that stress exceeds its healthy amount. We all feel overwhelmed and stretched thin sometimes and Covid with all its level and lockdowns has compounded this – so it’s normal right?
Sometimes yes, but when that stress becomes constant and begins to affect your work and personal life, it’s time to evaluate and take action. It might only be April, but overloaded stress results in Burnout (Yes, it’s a thing).
Burnout is a serious, debilitating state of exhaustion that is exacerbated by stress and it can affect you, your work, your home life and even the lives of those close to you.
Wellbeing in the workplace is a hot topic. As we get back to the office and get used to getting out of our sweatpants and into real pants with buttons, plus saying goodbye to the dog, we have to adjust to less Zoom and more in-person interactions. This can present anxiety for some as now it is more about the work life balance, plus actually commuting and traffic jams. Stress levels will be climbing pretty quickly and can have an effect on your work and wellbeing and your team.
If you’re experiencing burnout, your tank will be feeling empty and addressing it, even with the help of a mental health professional or coach, is step one to taking charge of your feelings.
We’re going to share some ways to fill that tank up at work.
Firstly, what is burnout?
Burnout generally looks like:
- Feeling exhausted all the time
- A lack of motivation
- A loss of pleasure or satisfaction from your job or things you used to enjoy
- Decreased effectiveness at work and home
- A lack or loss of belief in your abilities to complete normal tasks
- And just a general and overwhelming feeling of not being able to meet the demands put on you.
How to spot it in yourself or your those around you
As a business owner or manager, you will have to deal with a lot of stress and responsibility which, if not well-managed, could lead to burnout. Additionally though, as a leader, you not only have to look out for signs of burnout in yourself, but also your employees. When you take on employees you assume the responsibility of guiding, taking care of and assisting them. You also need to make sure that your business is running as efficiently and effectively as possible, and if just one of your employees experiences burnout, that efficiency lessens overall.
Some things to look out for both in yourself and your employees are;
- A lack of interest or excitement in the work
- A reduction in the amount of effort or interest put into work and doing the bare minimum
- Apathetic attitude
- Physical ailments such as headaches, insomnia and dizziness and calling in sick
Taking the first step – How to fix burnout
1. Acknowledge that you are burnt out
Rather than dismissing your complete mental and physical exhaustion and lack of interest as normal stress, it’s important to actually acknowledge when you’ve reached a state of burnout. A recent report from Indeed found that employee burnout is on the rise: 52% of all workers are feeling burned out, up +9% from a pre-COVID survey. If you relate to some or all of the above signs of burnout, be kind to yourself and take action to combat it.
2. Talk to your boss
Burnout is a serious condition. Your boss or HR will likely hear you out and work with you to find a solution. Try to enter the conversation with plans and suggestions on a way forward. Do you want to take some time off or be taken off of a project? Approaching the conversation with ideas on how to solve the problem will show your boss that you are serious about making a change for the better.
3. Take some time off
Sometimes the simplest fix is the best. Detach yourself from the work and environment that have contributed to your burnout. Hopefully you’ll return good as new. Here at theZenZero Agency, we don’t dismiss leave requests, no matter how small the reason. In fact we don’t ask for the reason at all and if our employee wants to offer that information that is up to them. Some employers think that that means employees will take advantage but we have found just the opposite.
Try journaling and reflect upon what got you to this point so that you can discover ways to recognise and avoid it in the future. Try practicing gratitude and reflect on why you are grateful for your job and all you have. Try acknowledging your negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. There are real scientific benefits of practicing gratitude, so try to make it a habit. Practicing the state of mindfulness is a healthy tool to build into your routine and can be started simply as a note to take good deep breaths before any action so as to calm your general state. Take a look at this link for a handy startup guide.
5. Know your limits
When you return to work, make sure you’re not taking on more than you can handle. Practice saying ‘no’ when you know that you are respecting your boundaries and working on that project will mean over-exerting yourself. Saying ‘yes’ to everything you’re asked to do when you can’t fit it in will not only lead to burnout but will leave you feeling bitter towards your work.
6. Keep work at work
With the interconnectedness of all of our devices, it’s become easy for work to follow us home. Whether it’s the notification of an email, WhatsApp or a project update that’s grabbing your attention, it’s best to logout on weekends, after hours and on holidays. These boundaries are important and reduce your chances of stress. Unless it’s an emergency we don’t ask or encourage our employees to work after hours.
7. Take care of your physical health
Be sure to make time for your basic needs such as eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. A good self-care routine keeps you in touch with yourself, helping you to recognise signs of burnout early and deal with them effectively.
The main takeaway
Make sure you’re taking care of yourself and your employees.
As an employer it’s your responsibility to look after the people in your care. It’s an employee’s job to come to work and it’s your job to make sure they are content there.
Burnout can be avoided with proper stress management and knowing your limits. Try to get ahead of burnout by knowing the signs and looking after yourself.
What do you do for stress relief and fun? We would love to hear your comments.
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