5 Signs of Burnout & What to do!
Burnout is the condition silently eroding our work & social lives. Here’s 5 common signs and what to do to avoid or mitigate the risks to your wellbeing…
Burnout is a process in which everyday stresses and anxieties gradually undermine your mental and physical health. It’s so prevalent the World Health Organisation now has it listed as a Disease! Unless your work involves training Dolphins or tasting new flavours of chocolate, its likely experiencing stress is a daily requirement of managing a growing workload. Reducing the risk of burnout requires fixing your environment, and your recovery strategies…
Burnout… the condition silently eroding our work & social lives!
Our work lives are increasingly demanding, with ever more complex challenges at a near-relentless pace! Add in personal or family challenges and it’s easy to feel constantly overwhelmed. These increases in complexity leave us feeling in over our heads. But our typical response to growing workloads is to work harder and put in longer hours, rather than to step back and examine what’s not working and find a new way of operating.
People suffer from burnout as a result of chronic work stress, which affects both people employed and those navigating through unemployment. “At the extreme end people entirely shut down and end up in hospital having physical examinations. At the other end we find people showing signs of anxiety, low mood and feeling detached from day-to-day life.” Unless your work involves training Dolphins or tasting new flavours of chocolate (lucky you!), its likely experiencing stress is a daily requirement of managing a growing workload. Even if you’re immune to workplace stress, ongoing anxieties created by the Pandemic are likely undermining your Resilience and your wellbeing.
Just toughen up they say!
Resilience is as much about how you recharge as how much you can endure! (Read that again). Resilience is typically viewed through a “tough” lens. “We picture an Army Marine slogging through mud in warfare training, or an athlete gritting their teeth through pain to push through the limits of human endurance. You might believe that the longer you tough it out, the tougher you are, and therefore the more Resilient and successful you are. But this conception is scientifically inaccurate.”
Yes Resilience is about navigating adversity effectively, but the very lack of a recovery period is dramatically impacting you, your team and your organisations collective ability to be Resilient and successful. Research shows there is a direct correlation between lack of recovery and increased incidence of health and safety problems. A lack of workforce Resilience is estimated to be costing Australian companies $12.8 billion per year in lost productivity, translated in dollar terms as absenteeism, presenteeism and workplace compensation. Globally this number is over $60 billion! (That’s billion not million).
Who’s fault is it?
When examining pressure and stresses related to work life, it’s best not to leap to conclusions about aggressive or incompetent management, or “weak” employees with no Resilience. Instead, there are certain factors that protect a workplace from burnout, and certain factors that protect individuals. Without these factors a business and its employees are more vulnerable to burnout…
Workplaces – require a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, and a management style that finds a balance between results and employee wellbeing.
Individuals – require Resilience awareness and skills, including being able to positively influence their thinking, feeling and behaviour towards achieving beneficial wellbeing and performance outcomes.
5 Signs Burnout & What to do…
So how do you know if you are close to Burnout? Here’s 5 signs – try to notice if any of these sound like you right now…
1. You feel exhausted and lack energy to do anything.
2. You have difficulty concentrating and easily slip into a daze.
3. You feel irritated, frustrated and become self-critical.
4. Everyday things and places become overwhelming.
5. You feel detached from things you used to love.
Any of these sound familiar? You only have to identify with one or two of these for this to be an indicator you (or others) might be close to Burnout!
There’s a few things you can do for yourself and others if you are a leader, to recover from or reduce the likelihood of burnout…
Challenge beliefs about success and failure
Acknowledge Superwoman / Superman are fictional characters i.e. nobody can carry the weight of the world on their shoulders!
Identify the warning signs of exhaustion
Rest before reaching exhaustion, or require a longer Recovery from exhaustion! Rest or Recovery? — it’s a choice!
Prioritise downtime for self-care
Know the activities that recover energy and ensure these are prioritised on daily TODO lists. Try as little as 15 mins downtime every 2 hrs!
Seek support or create an environment where you can talk about what’s happening
A Friend, Mentor or Leader should say “We recognise you’re having a tough time, and that’s nothing to be ashamed about. What can we do to help you?”
Reframe what it means to be Resilient
Seek support, tools or training from experts for maintaining cognitive, physical and social Resilience day-to-day.
By taking affirmative action in the ways discussed above, you will be systematically building Resilience and putting yourself, your team and your organisation in a greater position to thrive through the current challenges, and those ahead! But you don’t need to do it alone… Ripen exists to teach people how to maximise their wellbeing! We are based in Australia, but our clients are global and since 2016 we’ve delivered Personal Resilience training to thousands of people and teams in 25+ countries and multiple languages. We specialise in working with remote or hybrid working teams across the globe.
Looking to give your teams wellbeing an instant boost? Get in touch
- ‘WHO adds burnout to ICD-11. What it means for physicians.’ Berg, S. Retrieved from https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/physician-health/who-adds-burnout-icd-11-what-it-means-physicians
- ‘The Strange Psychology of Stress & Burnout.’ Dizik, A. BBC Worklife.
- ‘Resilience is about how you recharge, not how you endure.’ Achor, S. & Gielan, M. Harvard Business Review.
- ‘The influence of work characteristics on the need for recovery and experienced health: a study on coach drivers.’ Sluiter, J. K. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/001401399185487
- ‘Why Mentally healthy workforces matter – Untreated mental health conditions cost Australian employers approximately $12.8 billion every year’. Retrieved from https://mentallyhealthyworkplacealliance.org.au/why-mentally-healthy-workplaces-matter/
- ‘Insomnia costing US workforce $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity, study shows.’ American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110901093653.htm