HAVE a sudden cry in the toilets or yell at your colleagues – we all have days when work is a bit much.
But it should not be ignored completely crush, and it could indicate that you are going for burnout.
Research published last year revealed that workplace burnout had impacted 88% of UK employees at some level in the previous two years.*
A third reported suffering from physical and mental exhaustion often due to work pressures,” says Dr Joanna Burrell, clinical psychologist and co-founder of Ultimate Resilience.
Contributors to burnout include overwork, understaffing, poor management, a toxic work culture and, most importantly, lack of employee support.
For some, it is exacerbated by the idea that the traditional nine-to-five working day is becoming increasingly outdated, with checking email on mobile phones and working from home blurring the lines between work and personal life.
What is burnout?
Burnout is more persistent than the odd bad day at work.
The World Health Organization defines it as “resulting from chronic work stress that has not been properly managed”.
“The signs of burnout can manifest in low motivation, disengagement in communication, unhealthy behaviors in the workplace and even perceiving work tasks as harder than they are,” explains Dr. Jo Perkins, coaching and counseling psychologist, who he says it can reduce productivity.
“Burnout is cumulative and the first signs and symptoms are subtle, so we often attribute them to not being very organized, not good enough or needing to work harder, which tends to aggravate the problem.”
Experts warn that ignoring burnout can cause lasting damage to your health.
“It can lead people to become so mentally, physically and emotionally overwhelmed and exhausted that they are unable to perform basic daily tasks.”
Dr. Perkins says. “It can also lead to, or be the result of, mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.”
Commitment to change
“Burnout is often your body’s way of forcing you to stop and take a break,” says Thijs Launspach, psychologist and author of Crazy Busy: Keeping Sane In A Stressful World.
“You might feel like you don’t have time to stop and focus on yourself, but if you don’t, burnout will persist.”
“Avoid the misconception of recovering from burnout and going back to your normal routine, as this will only lead to relapse,” says Melissa Day, therapist and holistic medicine practitioner at Niroshini 360.
So, where should you start?
“Define the things in life that are personally and professionally important to you,” says Dr. Lynda Folan, occupational psychologist and CEO of Inspired Development.
“Block off time to dedicate to it and just stop working on default.”
One of the simplest ways you can stick to personal goals is to have strict rules around digital use, for example.
Maybe make your family room a phone-free zone.
The Forest app (Forestapp.cc) lets you set a timer to stay away from your phone and, during that time, the plants in your own digital “forest” will grow or – if you’re using your phone – grow closer .
Habit trackers like Fabulous (Thefabulous.co) can help you keep track of your goals throughout the day.
Start Healthy Habits
When your life feels hectic, it’s easy to forget basic needs.
“Does your self-care routine need to be improved?” Thijs asks.
“This includes sleep, diet, exercise, relaxation, recovery and space for play.”
One of the easiest things you can do is to make sure you get exposure to the sun every day.
“Vitamin D is an outstanding mood stabilizer and arguably the most essential nutrient for effective hormone production,” says Melissa.
Can you spare just a few minutes?
Apps like Calm, WorkLife Central and Headspace provide quick stress relief.
A therapist can help you discover the triggers of anxiety, stress and depression, and how to act on them quickly.
The British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy allows you to find accredited therapists in your area (Bacp.co.uk). Or see if you can get free help through your GP or workplace.
Identify your identity
Certain personality traits can make you more vulnerable to burnout.
“These include perfectionism, trying to be ‘the best’ and prioritizing difficulties,” says Dr Perkins.
“If our self-esteem is tied to our work identity, it can create an insatiable need for validation through our performance at work, which makes us push harder.”
A therapist can help you fix your work-life balance.
But you can also join the wellness platform The Anti-Burnout Club, which provides a wealth of free resources and pay what you can (Theantiburnoutclub.com).
Multitasking was celebrated in the past, but now it’s all about monotasking.
“You can’t put 100% into a task if you’re constantly juggling too many plates,” says Adam Butler, CEO of Officeology.
“Making a list of the key tasks that are most important and numbering them in order of urgency can help you create a clear roadmap of your daily workload,” says Adam.
“If you know a task will take an hour to complete, set a timer and move on to the next task once the hour is up.”
This can improve focus and, as a result, help manage the workload. Want to drown out the distractions?
The Noisli app (Noisli.com) offers free ambient sounds, like rain, that might help you focus — and it has a built-in timer.
Avoiding burnout is a two-way street – your boss needs to meet you halfway.
“Conditions that can contribute to burnout include lack of control over your workload, lack of breaks or vacations, poor management, conflict in the workplace, lack of recognition, doing work that is not aligned with your values and lack of adequate support,” says Dr. Perkins.
She suggests telling your line manager how you feel, including any personal issues or mental health conditions at play.
Be clear about what is contributing to your burnout, and have suggestions on ways to resolve it.
“If your line manager doesn’t take you seriously, confide in someone in HR,” says Dr Perkins.
“But if you don’t expect the working conditions to change, you better look for another job.”
“Boundaries are limits that you set on how you allow other people to engage with you to ensure that your relationships remain healthy and that your mental health, energy, mood and time are protected,” says Melissa Urban, author of The Book Of Boundaries.
For example, you can explain how you prefer to receive feedback or set time windows when interruptions should be kept to a minimum.
“By clearly and gently stating your boundaries in a work situation, it teaches people how to deal with you,” says Melissa.
“But there are power dynamics that can make conversations difficult at work.”
She recommends using plain language and allowing people to digest what you’ve said.
In the moment, they may feel defensive or guilty.
When it comes to boundaries, Melissa says, “The more practical, the easier it becomes.”
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Image Source : www.thesun.co.uk