Understanding Burnout and How You Can Beat It

Understanding Burnout and How You Can Beat It

Burnout is a term that’s become more commonplace since COVID-19 caused a secondary burnout pandemic in 2020.

However, burnout has always been around and recently was acknowledged by the World Health Organisation as an “occupational phenomenon” or a “work-related phenomenon”.

It’s derived from ongoing exposure to work-based stress, going beyond tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue into a negative space where your general demeanour and productivity or “efficacy” come under attack.

Burnout is characterised by three factors:

  • Feeling so tired, even a day off doesn’t refresh you.
  • Feelings of cynicism towards your work, such as finding there is no meaning in the work you do or you’ve mentally vacated your job. Even though you still keep turning up every day, you’re not attending in spirit.
  • Your motivation is non-existent and your productivity has taken a nose-dive.

The important point to highlight here is it’s not just one day or a week of poor physical and emotional well-being that alerts you to a bout of burnout. This is something that doesn’t go away. So, if you still feel lacking in positivity after a holiday, this could be a sign of burnout.

Other associated symptoms can include:

  • Feelings of dread
  • Irritability
  • Physical symptoms of stress
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Hating your job when you used to love it

Even if you exhibit just one of these, then you need to treat it as something that could lead to burnout.

You can counter the effects of burnout in a number of ways. Here are a few ideas if you’re feeling less than your best and your mojo is a distant memory:

Take some time out for self-care – a few hours a week doing something you love is a must.

Prioritise sleep – even an hour more a night than you get normally can have a positive impact on your health and your mood.

Exercise – you could make a habit of taking walks or exercising at the gym to reinvigorate your mind and body.

Spend time doing restorative activities – this could be reading, practising a hobby you love or spending time with your favourite people who let you be yourself: family, friends, your partner or your children.

Be present – whatever you’re doing outside of work, choose to be fully present and leave thoughts of work at the office.

What you can do at work:

Workplace expectations can increase stress and lead to burnout symptoms, so it’s important to address your workload in order to provide relief long-term.

Speak to your line manager – it’s important you are transparent about how you’ve been feeling with your line manager. They have a responsibility for your welfare at work and should be able to put in place measures to get you feeling better.

Consider reducing your workload – everyone has tasks on their list that seem like a priority but some can perhaps be crossed off or delegated. Use a “Priority Matrix” to help you work out the most important time-bound tasks and then the least important, non-urgent activities. This will help you see where you can win back more time in your working day.

Find a part of your job that interests you – sometimes burnout can be caused by boredom or not being challenged enough. In this case, you need to carve out time in your working day to spend on work tasks that inspire and engage you. Ask your boss for some training if you’re ready for advancement or an internal move into another part of the company.

Book a holiday – go on a break if you’re feeling too overwhelmed. Have you got some holiday you can use up? If so, take advantage and fully switch off from work and recharge your batteries.

If you’re still not happy and you’ve tried all of the above, it might be time to find a new job in a new company. If this is how you’re feeling, then get in touch with the team at Dobson Welch and we’ll get you fixed with your next challenge.

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