Life can be stressful, and stress can rapidly turn into burnout. If you’ve ever felt extreme mental and physical exhaustion and been overwhelmed by the pressure to perform your daily tasks, you may have experienced burnout. With the ongoing impact of the pandemic, factors such as information overload, living life online, and remote work have contributed to an increase in burnout. This makes burnout more prevalent now than ever before.
Finding the right balance between work and life is not an easy challenge, but it’s not impossible. Whether you or a loved one is struggling, the following advice from experts will help you extinguish burnout before it’s too late.
Which healthy habits can help us prevent burnout? and Which healthy habits can help us overcome burnout?
After interviewing dozens of functional medicine practitioners through our work at WebFMD, including some with expertise in recovering from burnout, we have learned how much of an impact lifestyle can have on the prevention of and recovery from this common yet devastating condition.
Burnout occurs when you lose your excitement for life, you find yourself just going through the motions day-to-day. You feel like nothing matters, nothing is exciting, and there is no real reason to get out of bed in the morning.
The way to prevent and even reverse burnout is to find your creativity and zest for life again. Some of the functional medicine experts we have worked with recommend three ways to tap into your energetic spring again: regular reflection, daily play, and learning how to enter the creative flow state in any situation.
Reflection helps you identify aspects of your life where burnout is likely or has already occurred. It is also an opportunity to practice gratitude for what is going well, one of the best ways to prevent burnout. When you are busy being grateful, your perspective shifts. Gratitude leads to happiness with the present, rather than always reaching for more, which eventually leads to burnout.
The second aspects are play and creativity – these go hand in hand. Play is simply daily free time, even just 15-20 minutes, where you enjoy a hobby or do something fun for the sake of fun.
The time spent in play is where your creativity springs from, it gives you the mental and emotional space to enter the flow state, to tap into your creative power that is always there. When you give yourself time to unleash your creativity through play, you become more resilient emotionally, which bleeds into every aspect of your life.
While these three simple changes can get you started on the path to recovery, it’s important to remember you don’t have to take this journey alone. Speaking to a professional can help you get there faster. Having the right guide can help you regain your mental, physical, and spiritual health, so you can find your joy again.
– Amir Ginsebrg at WebFMD
Meditation can be a fantastic tool to use when you’re recovering or looking to prevent burnout, and is a very accessible practice that anyone can try. There are many different types of meditation, but one that can be very helpful in this situation is loving-kindness meditation, which aims to enhance feelings of compassion and love for others. Because one component of burnout is a feeling of depersonalization, or feeling disconnected from life, this form of meditation can be a great choice to help you reconnect with your emotions. In fact, there have been studies showing that a compassion-focused meditation practice helped people recover from burnout and improved their wellness.
Social connection is also vital when it comes to burnout. When people experience burnout, they often withdraw socially and become more isolated. Reaching out to others who you trust is therefore extremely important. They can remind you of your own positive qualities, which helps you deal with the burnout-induced feelings of low self-worth. You can then reconnect with positive emotions like joy and gratitude. Seek support from friends and family, instead of trying to go through this alone. Doing so will only strengthen your long-term bonds with these people, which will continue to support your health and well-being in the future.
Burnout is complex, and every person is different. Your recovery plan will likely include more than these two techniques, but these are essential components that can both help prevent and support your recovery from burnout, not to mention, enhance your quality of life for many years to come.
One more thing to consider about burnout. Burnout not only sucks the enjoyment out of your days, it can even rob you of years of healthy life. A number of studies have shown that burnout causes the telomeres at the end of your chromosomes to shorten more rapidly, meaning that it increases the rate of biological aging. If you want to live a long and healthy life, it’s essential to recognize and address any feelings of burnout.
– Dr. Patricia Shelton, MD at LongevIQ
What are some ways we can prevent burnout?
Burnout is an accumulation of chronic stress at work over time. Therefore, preventing burnout involves small but daily habits that keep stress in check.
The first is organization: avoid becoming overwhelmed by cramming too much into a day. Comb through your to-do list and decide the single, most important thing that needs work today. A secondary list houses the rest of your tasks in case there’s time left in the workday.
The second is to have a clear border between your work and personal life. One way to do this is to have a shutdown ritual. A shutdown ritual is a series of small actions that signal the workday’s end. For example, making a list of the day’s wins and challenges, shutting down the computer, and taking 5 deep breaths.
Finally, there are our healthy work habits. Are you taking frequent healthy breaks during the workday? These healthy breaks involve physical activity, hydration, and mental wellbeing. Move every hour, as prolonged sedentary periods make us unwell. Stay hydrated. Take a few brief moments to breathe, close your eyes and stay present. The workday should never be 8-straight hours of motionless work.
– Pedro Wunderlich, Co-Founder of Wakeout
What are some uncommon signs of burnout?
Why does burnout occur even when we love our jobs?
Burnout occurs even when we love our jobs, because business owners often wear many hats and put business and client obligations before personal health. There are many things one can outsource but health is not one of them. No one will benefit from sleep you don’t get, but everyone around you, including family, employees and customers will be affected by the lack of it when it shows up as sloppiness in your work and missed obligations.
No one but you gain advantage from your nutrition, and there are no benefits from fruits and vegetables or vitamin supplements you don’t consume on a regular basis. Eating crappy foods may be convenient especially during a burnout period, but your health will pay the price and the way crappy foods make you feel will extend the burnout period.
The same is true for exercise, movement is a huge contributor in mental and physical well-being. You can hire a fitness trainer, but unless you show up for the workouts and do the reps, you don’t get toned, or reap the benefits that exercise provides. Skipping or ignoring personal health is one of the biggest factors in burnout.
Oddly enough, when you take of yourself, you are better equipped overall to take care of those around you. Loving your job is only part of the equation, you also have to love and take care of yourself.
How can individuals tell the difference between burnout and depression?
From my experience working with business owners for over a decade, burnout tends to occur when someone has been pushing through a lot of internal resistance (i.e.: stress, confidence issues, and other conflicts in the mind), overworking, and feeling emotionally unfilled for a period of time. Whereas, depression is typically caused by either an acute sense of loss (i.e.: grieving), or a chronic sense of unfulfillment in life. Both require some mindset shifts, but depression caused by a chronic sense of unfulfillment often requires some deeper emotional healing.
– Alicia Cramer at AliciaCramer.com
When is it time to ask for professional help when you are burnt out?
Burnout can be a very debilitating condition if left untreated. The reality is that as the days go by, individuals encounter very stressful situations that overtime can lead to significant mental and physical fatigue in the form of burnout. In particular, with the ongoing pressures associated with workplace related stress the cases of burn out have increased dramatically and even more so with the pandemic. With that said, if your burnout is leading to physical impairment, suicidal thoughts, apathy towards relationships, and or social anxiety then it may be time to consult with a professional for help. Essentially, it is important to be proactive about your mental health and if you feel like you are struggling with burnout, it is definitely time to seek out professional help. A therapist can help you understand the root cause of your stress and work with you to develop healthy coping mechanisms. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, they can also provide you with the necessary support to keep you safe and get you the help you need. If your burnout is impacting your work, it is also important to seek out professional help so that you can create a plan to prevent further deterioration of your condition. To assess whether or not you have burnout try asking yourself the following questions:
- How often do you feel overwhelmed by your work?
- Do you find that you are unable to focus on tasks or complete them in a timely manner?
- Do you frequently feel exhausted, both mentally and physically?
- Do you often have difficulty sleeping or find that you are not getting enough rest?
- Do you find yourself withdrawing from social activities or hobbies that you used to enjoy?
- Do you feel like you are not living up to your potential?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it is time to seek professional help. There are many resources available to individuals struggling with burnout and seeking help is the first step in managing your condition. Remember, you are not alone and there is help available. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support.
– Maya Ahmed at Cedarway Therapy
How can business owners contribute to prevent burnout from their employees?
I firmly believe that everyone in your business in equally responsible for the well-being of work colleagues. When it comes to employees it is not just about providing them with a job and a salary but also ensuring they have the time and space to do what makes them happy.
If you are an employer, you should provide your team members with opportunities to develop their skills and grow professionally. You can do this by providing multiple tasks that need to be completed and letting the employee choose which one they would like to work on first. Doing this will benefit everyone in the long run.
I think the most important thing to remember when dealing with employee burnout is that it is not always something that can be prevented. When one of your employees become burned out, it is usually because there was too much work or the person did not receive enough support on the task they were given.
Your goal as an employer is to figure out why the employee feels so overwhelmed and then take steps to address those issues. For example, if your employee has been working on a project for several weeks and still hasn’t finished it, they may need extra help. Or maybe the employee needs more training on how to complete specific tasks.
Whatever the case, it’s essential to listen to your employees’ concerns and offer solutions instead of ignoring them.
– Kyle Crisp at kcwebdesign.com.au
How can we cope with burnout?
Creating healthy and sustainable boundaries is an important piece of preventing burnout and reversing its effects if you’ve already hit that wall. Boundaries that can help include beginning and ending all work communication at a specific time every day to make room for other life experiences. Not working during lunch. Designating 1-2 days where you do NO business related activities. Getting a virtual assistant to handle mundane tasks, filter emails, and manage your meeting calendar.
There are various ways to set up boundaries that work for your situation, and the key is trying them out with an open mind.
Maintaining those boundaries can be difficult, especially if this is a new practice for you. So it is important that you practice positive self-talk. This is something you should practice for overall mental and emotional well-being, but it can also help you maintain these boundaries.
A big enemy of maintaining boundaries is our feeling that we’re not working hard enough, and the fear of regret for not seizing the moment. So as you step away from work to hang out with friends, play a game, watch a movie or go walk around outdoors, continually remind yourself that this play time is recharging your batteries to be more effective and efficient at work. And during those times where you’ve slipped in maintaining your boundaries, don’t beat yourself up about it. Chuckle and set the intention to begin those boundaries again tomorrow.
– Chris Colbert, Founder and CEO of DCP Entertainment
What is the main difference between stress and burnout?
Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it isn’t the same as too much stress. Stress, by and large, involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much of you physically and mentally. However, stressed people can still imagine that if they can just get everything under control, they’ll feel better.
Burnout, on the other hand, is about not enough. Being burned out means feeling empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situations. If excessive stress feels like you’re drowning in responsibilities, burnout is a sense of being all dried up.
What is the difference between stress and burnout in the workplace?
Every person has stressful days at work. Between looming deadlines, difficult projects, and disagreements with colleagues, it’s no wonder why we sometimes feel mentally exhausted. Employee burnout can affect anyone, especially people who consistently feel stressed, frustrated, or anxious.
A common misconception is that stress and burnout are the same. Stress is a response we all feel from the daily stressors of life. Work, family, money, health, relationships, and difficult situations can all cause different levels of stress. Burnout happens when prolonged stress makes us feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet life’s demands.
Employees who feel burned out may find it difficult—or even impossible—to be their best selves at work, especially when they feel pushed to a breaking point. Stressed employees also tend to have higher turnover rates, feel less motivated, and take more time off due to work-related exhaustion.
The truth is that stress is part of the human experience. Certain people, situations, and events are bound to make you feel overwhelmed. However, the key to keeping stress levels in check and avoiding burnout is to practice constant self-care, set boundaries, and schedule time in your week to do things you enjoy.
At work, advocate for yourself by asking “How can I make my workplace a healthy and enjoyable place for myself?” This could take the form of adjusting your work hours, rearranging your space, or scheduling quiet hours on your calendar. Discuss these non-negotiables with your supervisor and colleagues so everyone understands what you need to be successful.
At home, schedule time to rest and recover. Spend at least 30 minutes per day enjoying the things that bring you happiness and help you to feel recharged. When in doubt, seek outside support from a therapist, counselor, coach, or mental health resource.
– Meaghan Maybee, Content Marketing Specialist at pc/nametag
What can we learn from entrepreneurs that have overcome burnout?
Elon Musk once compared launching a startup to “chewing glass and staring into the abyss.” For Musk — and countless legions of Type-A business types — the need to address burnout before it becomes problematic is self-evident.
That being the case, the recommendation to seek out “effective self-care” shows up in the No. 1 slot on the list of priorities for numerous successful businesspeople. However, the meaning of that phrase will vary widely. Some people unwind and refresh through regular exercise. For others, it’s meditation.
What works well for someone else may not work for you. The two key concepts to keep in mind are identification and amelioration. Both require a deep level of self-understanding undergirded by some form of external accountability.
Identification: Common symptoms of burnout include reduced productivity, mental fog, changes in sleep or diet patterns, high blood pressure, and mood swings. Often these shifts occur imperceptibly, which is why heading off burnout will necessitate at least one voice outside your head that you have “deputized” to call changes in behavior to your attention. Of course, this presupposes you will pay attention when a trusted friend or coworker waves the warning flag.
Amelioration: Once the warning flag has gone up, it’s time to shift the workload, start clearing other priorities off your weekly planner, and intentionally pursue those activities that restore and revitalize you. In one of his blog posts, Sir Richard Branson encourages others to feel no guilt when it’s time to stop work. After all, if you don’t allow your mind and body to rejuvenate, you might win the immediate battle to complete specific tasks. Still, you will likely lose the capacity to work steadily over years and decades.
You are a unique individual. Pay attention to people, places, and things that drain you. Likewise, make a note when you find yourself refreshed and ready to go. The entry fee for victory over burnout is simply acknowledging that you are finite and limited. Take steps to ensure that you catch yourself trying to be all things to all people all the time!
– Kimberly Zhang, Editor in Chief at Under30CEO
How do you cope with burnout?
I started my career in the bustling “ad world” in NYC. I loved the city life, my colleagues & was learning skills that helped me grow as a designer, but the toll the hustle culture was taking on my mental health wasn’t worth it. So I created HIYO DESIGN. I now set my own boundaries & have found it produces more effective & affordable results for my clients, without the late nights or burnout.
– Cristi, CoFounder & Design Director at Hiyodesign.com
How can essential oils help with burnout?
It’s no secret that essential oils can have a powerful effect on our mood and overall well-being. But what many people don’t realize is that essential oils can also be extremely helpful in managing burnout. For those who are struggling with the effects of burnout, essential oils can provide much-needed relief from stress and fatigue.https://www.lovingessentialoils.com/blogs/essential-oil-tips/essential-oils-for-burnoutEssential oils are natural compounds extracted from plants. Each oil has its own unique scent and therapeutic properties. When used aromatically or topically, essential oils can help to promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve mood. Essential oils can be a great way to help with burnout. They are a natural and safe way to boost your energy levels, reduce stress, and restore peace and clarity. There are a number of essential oils that are known to be particularly effective in managing burnout. Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils for burnout and relaxation, as it’s known for its calming and soothing properties. It can help to reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of burnout. Other essential oils that can help with burnout include chamomile, eucalyptus, and rosemary. Simply inhaling the scent of these essential oils can help to calm your nervous system and ease stress. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to an aromatherapy diffuser, or create a relaxing aromatherapy massage by combining essential oils with carrier oils like jojoba or coconut oil. For those requiring an energy boost, oils that are known for their energizing effects are peppermint, rosemary, and lemon. You can diffuse these oils or inhale them directly to help revitalize your energy levels. Geranium and frankincense can help to promote feelings of peace and clarity. You can diffuse these oils or inhale them directly to help you clear your mind and bring peace. By taking some time for yourself and using essential oils, you can help combat burnout, ease symptoms, and restore balance to your life. With their calming and rejuvenating effects, essential oils can help you get back on track and find your footing again. If you’re feeling burned out, essential oils can be a helpful way to ease your symptoms and help you relax. For more guidance on burnout relief essential oils visit:
How can we cope with burnout within our community?
When friends and people in your social circle are coping with burnout, this is one of the best times to show up as a friend and demonstrate your support and care. Often, when people are dealing with burnout, their natural tendency is to collapse inward. Feeling exhausted, people will pull back from social interaction and worry that they have to try to cope with their burnout alone and overcome it all by themselves. It doesn’t have to be this way! If you sense that a friend is dealing with burnout, or if they’ve explicitly told you so, this is a prime opportunity to let them know that they don’t have to deal with it on their own. Show them the power of friendship to help them heal and bounce back from burnout.
- Emotional support (a.k.a. esteem support or appraisal support) looks like giving someone love, affection, acceptance, caring, empathy, and other behaviors that foster mutually positive feelings. To give emotional support to your burnt-out friends, express to them verbally or in writing how much they matter to you, how much you believe in them, and how much you want to stick by their side as they heal from burnout.
- Tangible support is concrete and direct, like helping someone move from one apartment to another, giving them money, or making them meals. Far too often, when people want to be supportive of a friend, they assign the work to their friend of describing what kind of support they need, and this often comes out in the default sentence: “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” Very independent folks used to doing everything on their own might not even think about asking for help. Other times, people know they need help but still have trouble asking. To show tangible support, just do the thing! Make a meal and drop it off. Send a delivery of their favorite restaurant’s food to their house when you know they’re going to be home. If they have a task that they’ve been putting off, show how you can help them get it done. For example, you can send them a text that says, “Me and you. Saturday. Wine, snacks, and laughs as we finally tackle resume-updating, *together*. Should I come over at 4 pm or 6 pm? 💛” Make it easy for them to say yes.
- Informational support includes helping someone conduct research, giving advice, offering recommendations or introductions, and suggesting practical solutions. If you know that your burnt-out friend hasn’t been able to finish an information-based task like apartment hunting, job searching, or meal planning, and you happen to love doing research and falling down internet rabbit holes gathering information, this is a great kind of support that you can offer your friend! To be really proactive about it, you can just start a google doc or spreadsheet with 5-10 examples of the kind of information you think they could use, then send them a link to it and say, “Hey, I know you’ve been needing XYZ, so I did a little preliminary searching. Here’s a link! Would it be helpful to you if I added more to this document to help you out? Let me know if these are a fit or if I should adjust to any preferences you have 🤓”
- Companionate support is given and received when we are simply present with each other in ways that contribute to feelings of belonging, like showing up to celebrate someone’s birthday, visiting them when they’re in the hospital, or sitting together quietly when you know they’re having a hard day. Sometimes, “doing nothing together” is the best way to do something for someone dealing with burnout. If your burnt-out friend feels overwhelmed and lonely, ask if they’d like some company. If they say yes, start gently. Settle into a calm, restorative nothingness together: Listen to music together, watch movies together, body double as you color in adult coloring books together, or just go lay on a blanket in the park while you stare at the sky. Even though it might seem like you’re doing nothing, offering your supportive and calming presence can go a long way toward helping your friends feel less burnt out and less alone.
– Kat Vellos, Speaker, Connection Coach, & Author at We Should Get Together
In what ways can we support a loved one going through burnout?
Before giving a hand to someone experiencing burnout, I want you to know they might be in an emotionally vulnerable state right now.
Any conversations could make your loved one feel low or defensive, and they might push you away anytime. However, don’t let your ego come in your way and force you to give up. Just be patient with them.
Here are the seven simplest ways you can provide the best support to your loved ones struggling with burnout:-
1. When they ask you to give them space, don’t ask questions or forcefully accompany them. Let them enjoy solitude for some time. It would help declutter their thoughts and refresh themselves.
2. Don’t be their daddy and use generic phrases that everyone already knows and says. For example, statements such as, “burnout is a part of life. Just keep going, and you’ll get rid of it.” would frustrate them even more.
3. Convince them to take a recovery break from work because they may be working too much for too long.
The quote by Michael Gungor, “Burnout happens when you try to avoid being human for too long,” would massively help you while you would be convincing them.
4. Do fun activities with them to keep them distracted from pondering over their work. You could try watching movies, playing games, or hanging out with them.
5. Don’t start any conversations that might trigger their burnout feelings. For example, if they experienced burnout because of working their ass off in their business, asking them “how’s their business going” every day won’t be a good idea.
6. Suggest them to spend time doing the things they love. Forcing them to do something against their will may end up frustrating them even more.
7. At least, for now, prevent your “loved one” from pushing past their limits. If you see them working too much again, pull them back.
– Varun Pahwa at Uprisehigh.com
How can remote workers prevent burnout?
- Having an Agenda before you start the day
We easily mix up our priorities as remote workers because stuff is always floating around. Even writing down the things we still need to complete from the previous day would greatly aid us in preparing the schedule for the next day. For remote workers, prioritizing duties will undoubtedly be helpful because it streamlines the day’s schedule. We should plan out how long each task should take by include the virtual calls on this schedule as well. When we have a streamline plan for the day, we’ll always have things to do in steady pace, giving us allowances to plan in the breaks as well.
- A dedicated Workspace
As long as there is an obvious separation between the work area and the rest area, a dedicated workstation can be found anyplace. Many people assume that since the majority of employees are required to work from home or have a hybrid work style, they will need to upgrade their home offices with more peripherals. However, the truth is that our minds would naturally adjust to it as a single workstation as long as there is a distinct boundary between the work and play areas. In that we would be able to take breaks and leave our office for a brief period of time to decompress, this would help to prevent burnout.
- Take sufficient breaks especially when facing a digital screen for the whole day
When we interact with co-workers or go to the pantry to get a snack, we naturally take breaks from the screen as opposed to in an office setting. This promotes mental health and gives our brains a little period of rest. This paradigm ought to be used when working remotely as well so that we can rest our eyes and renew our mental faculties. Long-term health benefits from this would likewise be favourable.
– Qinthara Fasya, Assistant Editor for DigitalCFO Asia
How can remote workers set boundaries to avoid burnout?
Remote workers are frequently disconnected from the rest of their team, both physically and culturally. It is easy to fall into the habit of working excessive hours or allowing projects to expand beyond the scope. Both of these are examples of boundaries being compromised. Boundaries should be set cooperatively between your management team and yourself. What are your expectations, and what are those of management? For example, if your management team expects you to be available 24×7 because you are remote, that’s just unreasonable. Likewise, if you want to work on agreed-to projects that only require 25-30 hours of your time per week, is that fair to your company or to you? Boundaries should include a reasonable amount of work time and space for lunch, breaks, and family events.
Further, remote work should allow you some flexibility of schedule, including time off for special events. On the occasional times where you have to work more on a project, you should be able to ask for compensating time off. Remote work should be a benefit to you, the company you work for, and your mutual customers or clients.
What are your 3 top tips to stay productive even when we’re on the verge of burning out?
1.) Lower your expectations for yourself. Remembering that good enough is good enough gets me through many low periods. Not everything needs to be 100%, and some things can wait until you feel better.
2.)Reprioritize. Make a list of all your responsibilities and see which ones are crucial and which ones can wait. Identifying the most critical task and downgrading the less time-sensitive will take a lot of stress off your plate.
3.) Remember that you are your own most valuable asset. Burnout is a mental health condition and a sign that your environment might need some changes. When you’re feeling better, look at what might be ramping up your anxiety and see if you can make some changes. Do what’s best for you without shame, and take the time you need to get better.
– Maria Black at MySoulBalm
Why is being kind to yourself essential when we’re experiencing burnout?
There’s a misconception that kindness is meant for others.
Most of us know how to be kind towards others — to be considerate towards service staff, compassionate towards those in need, and gracious towards the people around us. For some, it’s as natural as breathing; for others, it’s more of a work-in-progress.
Nevertheless, the majority of us would at least understand the fundamentals of kindness and how it can be applied to others. Yet, we often struggle to extend this same grace towards ourselves.
While we might baulk at the idea of forcing others to work until they reach physical or mental exhaustion, many of us have no qualms about pushing ourselves to do that. We work long hours, building stress and ignoring our own needs in favour of doing more.
The end result is, of course, burnout.
No matter how we justify it to ourselves, reaching the point of burnout is a sign that we’ve been significantly unkind to both our minds and bodies. That is a problem — if we aren’t able to take the first step of treating ourselves with the kindness and respect that we deserve, then we can’t extend that same compassion to others.
So how can we be kind to ourselves during burnout?
The first step would be to slow down and understand our needs. Without knowing why we’ve burnt ourselves out, it is difficult to help ourselves exit that state. Take some time to figure out what exactly caused the burnout and then address it.
In the meantime, do some things that make you happy — take a walk, watch a movie, or curl up with a good book. Being kind to yourself isn’t very different from being kind to others — the aim is still to extend graciousness and compassion to be a positive force in life.
Being kind to ourselves also brings us many health benefits. Research has found that people who practise self-love and compassion not only experience less stress but have a lower heart rate and blood pressure and a stronger immune system.
Keep practising kindness on yourself, even when you’ve overcome your burnout.
Being kind is a way of making our own lives and the lives of others meaningful. It allows us to communicate better with others, be more self-compassionate, and also be a positive force in other people’s lives.
– William Wan, JP, PhD, General Secretary at Singapore Kindness Movement
What tools can people use to identify if they are burnt out?
First of all, people can use the 3 factors I described in my article we already talked about:
- Occupational exhaustion
- Depersonalization/loss of empathy
- Personal accomplishment assessment
This is important because burnout is not a binary thing, but a spectrum or a scale.
Common signs are (but are not exclusive to burnout):
- exhaustion – it feels like one can never recover from being tired mentally/emotionally
- a long streak of lack of motivation
- cognitive issues – e.g. finding it hard to focus and pay attention
- regularly feeling frustrated and/or cynical – one might feel what they do doesn’t matter anymore, and they get disillusioned
- having regular negative thoughts and/or anxiety about work even when not at work
- burnout can lead to physical symptoms, such as headache or intestinal issues (but of course, there are many other potential causes for these)
- reduced performance – mostly because of the negative thoughts, exhaustion and finding it hard to focus
- messed up sleep cycle
- no/low satisfaction from one’s achievements – even when doing a fantastic job, you’re not getting the satisfaction you used to.
– Csaba Okrona at Leadership.Garden
How can we benefit from therapy when we are fighting burnout?
Burnout can manifest in many different forms. Physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, political, etc… It’s a buildup of stress, tension, and intense demands that takes its toll over time.
Whether you’re feeling emotionally and/or physically exhausted, dread going to work, or find yourself isolating or avoiding the people, places, and things you used to love, you may be struggling with burnout.
Burnout has been even more prevalent over the past few years while we all experienced the shared trauma of navigating life during a pandemic. This added level of stress has contributed to higher levels of burnout than usual.
Regardless of where you fall on the level of heightened stress, anxiety, and full-on burnout spectrum, there’s no doubt that therapy with a licensed mental health professional can help.
Since the pandemic started, counseling has become much more mainstream and accessible with telehealth (online counseling). The stigma about seeking mental health services has finally begun to decrease allowing more people to seek counseling when needed.
Many counseling offices (like ours in South Florida – Bayview Therapy) provide in-office appointments and telehealth options, which are convenient for professionals with demanding schedules, stay at home parents, and people who travel a lot
There are many benefits from seeking counseling. It’s important to find a therapist that you feel comfortable with so you’ll be open with them and they can help you create a plan to attain your goals.
Your therapist will help you learn the skills to better manage life’s challenges such as anxiety, stress, depression, trauma/PTSD, substance abuse, and relationship discord. You’ll gain more insight into your behaviors and how to create more preferred behaviors moving forward. You’ll learn strategies to attain greater peace, balance, happiness, and fulfillment in life and your relationships.
The benefits of counseling are endless. Give it a chance if you haven’t already, you’ll be glad you did!
How can we explain burnout to someone who has not experienced it?
Burnout is a workplace phenomenon resulting from chronic stress due to one’s occupation. Although the experience of burnout differs from individual to individual, it is often likened to a state of absolute exhaustion, feeling defeated, and emptiness.
Burnout symptoms vary; however, there are three main classifications; exhaustion, cynicism, and ineffectiveness. Those experiencing burnout may feel a sense of overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from the job, or a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment in their role.
As burnout is often exacerbated by repetitive stressful activities, it can be prevented through the balance of practicing repetitive positive behavior, getting adequate sleep, exercise, nutrition, and self-reflection. Talk-based therapy is often very effective, and it can be encouraged to chat with your peers at work, friends, family, a coach, or a therapist similar to those offered on Frankie.
Frankie Health is a workplace mental health platform assisting employees tackle burnout through personalizing their support journey and offering support via therapists, coaches, and tailored exercises.
– Seb Poole at Frankie Health
How can switching off help with burnout?
Over 80 percent of the worldwide inhabitants own a smartphone. Mixed together with your laptop computer, monitor, and TV, you most likely spend extra time in the entrance of a digital display than sleeping. That’s not hyperbole: Work it out. Mockingly, iOS does it for you (at the very least on your Apple units). Evaluate these hours of time spent sleeping and I feel you’ll be shocked.
“What’s the issue?” you may ask. Other than poorer eyesight, complications, and insomnia, know-how habits can be related to anxiety and depression. You may suppose your always-on connectedness helps your clients or staff, however, you’re setting yourself up for failure and worse. Logging further screentime isn’t a badge of honor: it’s a wellbeing threat.
Schedule common breaks away from units. Most docs counsel a five-to-ten minute break each hour, go additional, and take a complete day (or extra) on occasion. Switching off might be laborious at first – you may even really feel irritable – however, in the long term, releasing your thoughts from the clutches of your units will assist sharpen your ideas and bolstering your psychological wellbeing.
How can we find motivation amid burnout?
What is the future of the non-stop hustle mentality after this pandemic burnout era?
With the lines between working and personal life becoming blurred as a result of the pandemic, many working professionals have found it hard to switch off and enjoy downtime with their loved ones. This can take many forms, including not having a dedicated and separate workspace in the home (for remote/hybrid workers) and not switching off workplace notifications on their phones. This has created a workforce made up of individuals experiencing extreme levels of burnout.
And while businesses are doing all they can to combat burnout, it’s not quite enough; they need to tackle the source – of which burnout is simply the outcome.
The digital era has facilitated a space where the world is non-stop, with FOMO becoming a real issue for every generation. The ability to switch on any device and be instantly connected with millions of other people around the globe irrelevant of the time of day is as empowering as it is exhausting. And with remote/hybrid work becoming prevalent in the workplace, professionals are often finding themselves working with disparate teams, meaning if they log on at 2 am, they’ll be able to converse with a colleague in the middle of their working day on the other side of the globe.
But the danger of this approach is the inability to switch off which can lead to much more serious issues than burnout. It can have long-lasting impacts on mental health and wellbeing, including impacting personal lives and leaving individuals feeling despondent.
So how can businesses combat this non-stop hustle mentality? While the simplest approach might be to instill set working times and encourage individuals to only work within specified hours, this can be difficult to monitor. The reality is that organizations need to reassess the expectations they have of their employees; how many in their workforce feel they’re under-resourced and unable to complete their required tasks? How many feel like they need to work additional hours in order to meet deadlines and deliver on expectations? These are the true causes of burnout: understaffed, under-resourced departments that can’t keep pace. And while the global skill shortage may be contributing to this additional pressure, businesses should be looking at the bigger picture to determine where there are weak points in their workforce and how they can support current employees.
– Natasha Vickery-Orme, Editor in Chief at Insights For Professionals
How can work-life balance help us avoid burning out?
There are Big Benefits to Beating Burnout
Much like a plant needs the sun to grow, burnout needs chronic stress to develop. Therefore, if we prevent or reduce stress by balancing our personal and professional lives, we eliminate burnout’s ability to develop or deepen. All in all, work-life balance is not only the best preventive measure; it is the actual cure.
Between work, children and family, people have a lot on their plate, and balancing it all is no easy task — if it were, everyone would be doing it, because the benefits are undeniably fantastic. Work-life balance improves physical and mental health and enables people to cope better with stress. In addition, those with balanced lives are generally happier and more productive and successful.
Unfortunately, burnout has reached epidemic proportions. The World Health Organization declared burnout an official diagnosis in 2019 and labeled it an “occupational phenomenon.” This is why companies are increasingly investing in work-life balance benefits for their employees. They realize it is in their best business interests to join the battle against burnout. Around 95% of companies deal with the negative impacts of burned-out employees. However, organizations that prioritize work-life balance can cut turnover by upwards of 50%. Their employees are also happier and more productive — working 21% harder.
In the battle against burnout, work-life balance is the proverbial armor we should all be wearing.
– Kelly Crotty, Marketing Content Manager at BestUponRequest.com
What are your top tips on how to prevent burnout at work?
Recognize the symptoms: Identifying the warning signs of burnout is important to take the necessary steps to resolve them.
Sleep: When looking to prevent burnout aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep per night will not only prevent burnout but the development of other chronic diseases.
Exercise: This is a great way to reduce stress and increase energy for optimal mental and physical health.
Time management: Keeping to-do lists manageable and avoiding unnecessary meetings is a great way to start managing your time at work.
Ask for help: If your work tasks are overwhelming, it’s a good idea to ask management for help so they can help delegate, delay, or delete some of your tasks.
Socialize: Talking to a colleague and spending time with loved ones outside of work can be very beneficial for our emotional fulfillment.
Make time for yourself: Taking time off work to relax or go on vacation is a great way to reduce the chances of burning out. Make sure to really switch off and not answer emails or work calls during this time.
With these tips and support from management, stress levels can be reduced, and burnout can be prevented.
The Bottom Line
We hope that this article has provided you with useful insights into recognizing, coping with, and preventing burnout. By taking proactive steps to reduce stress before it becomes overwhelming, we can improve our mental and physical wellbeing. As individuals, we have a variety of actions we can take to prevent burnout, and we encourage you to prioritize your self-care and seek support when needed.