Putting Out The Fire On Burnout

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has this week updated its definition of burnout and is calling it an "occupational phenomenon".

The effects of burnout are numerous and, frankly, worrying. WHO describe burnout as"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."

Burnout can manifest in different ways. Here are some common ones to look out for:

  1. Short Fuse: Is your patience dwindling?

  2. Trouble concentrating: Can’t seem to stay focused on the task at hand?

  3. Loss of productivity: Too stressed about completing tasks that you’re getting nowhere?

  4. Always tired: Are there never enough cups of coffee in a day?

  5. Lack of enjoyment: Does a role that once made you want to get out of bed, now make you want to stay in it?

If this is how you’re feeling at work, it could be a sign that you’re burning the proverbial candle at both ends. It’s time to pay attention and turn the tide around towards greater wellbeing.

Talk to someone about how you feel.

If you think that you’re experiencing burnout and chronic stress at work, reaching out can make you feel less alone. Speak to your manager, your partner, a friend or family member about how you’ve been feeling. It's well known that creating social connections helps people feel better.

Take some time away.

It may feel counter intuitive, but stepping away from work could help you get more done. A well-deserved holiday can act as a mental boost for productivity and creativity.

Take breaks throughout your day.

When you come back from that reset, make sure to take breaks during the day.  Make sure you get up to move once an hour and enjoy lunch away from your desk. These mini breaks can do wonders for your focus.

Look after your body.

We often don’t notice the strong impact our physical wellbeing has on our minds and productivity. Things like taking care of our gut health and staying hydrated can improve our moods and concentration.

Look after your mental health.

Don’t forget to de-stress! Find a wind-down method that works best for you and do it every day. Use tools such as deep breathing, guided meditation, free-drawing, or journaling. Stay away from screens and mindless distractions—instead, do an activity that helps you remain in the present moment to melt that stress away.

Extra tip: Have a look at our article on Setting Up a Healthy Workstation to help you create an environment that may help prevent work stress and burnout.

As with any process of healing, awareness is the first step. Take a critical look at how you’re feeling at work: is it time to take that deep breath and make a change?