There’s the argument that today’s employees are experiencing stress and anxiety in the workplace like no other generation before. This level of stress can, in some cases, lead to them suffering burnout.
The term burnout, often associated with fatigue, stress and over working yourself, is nothing new but now the World Health Organization has classified it as an official medical condition, defined by these three indicators:
- Feelings of depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
When feelings of burnout start to occur, it’s common for people to focus on short-term solutions such as taking time off, going on holiday etc. While this can be a helpful, the relief is often only temporary. You also need to address the issues and focus on strategies that will have a deeper impact and create lasting change.
And with the term referring ‘specifically to phenomena in the occupational context’ and not in other areas of life, what can we do to avoid burnout?
Perform a job analysis
Clarifying what’s expected of you and what isn’t is important. Are you being asked to do things that take your focus away from what’s really important? Can you delegate or work with your team to spread the workload?
Speak to your manager if you feel you’re being assigned too much and prepare options that could help you manage and prioritise what’s essential and what could be picked up by someone else.
Cut back and switch off
Every time you say “yes” it adds something extra to your plate and stretches you, so if you find you have too many commitments, start saying “no” and working with others for a solution.
Start blocking out time for focused worktime in your schedule to get the little things done – answering emails, phone calls, replying to message etc.
When that’s done, step away and switch off. Finding ways to occupy your time and leaving work at work can be so helpful.
Learn to manage stress
When not managed effectively, short-term stress can become a factor and lead to burnout. There are a range of strategies available, from meditation and deep breathing techniques to keeping a stress diary.
If you can identify when you’re becoming stressed it makes it easier to manage. By monitoring your thoughts and practicing positive thinking, manage your emotions and rectify any unhelpful and stress-induced reactions.
Find your balance
Understanding the balance that works best for you in your personal and professional life will help you to prioritise what you find value in, work with purpose and stay in control.
Focus on the parts of your life, both inside and outside of work, that bring you satisfaction and joy.
Exercise and sleep well
Getting regular exercise helps alleviate stress and creates a sense of well-being. It boosts energy, productivity and allows you to be more focused.
Regular exercise also helps you get a better nights’ sleep which will leave you feeling more refreshed the next day.
Getting enough sleep and using it as a time to clear your mind will give you the space to tackle whatever the next day has in store.
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