As the end of the year draws near, it’s normal to experience increased feelings of stress. With almost a year long of hard work, day in and day out, that December time off couldn't come sooner.
But is your body a little more stressed than usual? Are you feeling physically and emotionally drained? If so, your body may be telling you to slow down, and you may be experiencing workplace burnout.
The thing about stress is that it starts as a tiny seed which we often ignore. Over time, that seed thrives and before you know it, you have a weed infested garden which will likely take a lot of time and effort to clear out.
The same goes with burnout. It starts with a build up of all the small things, which over a long period of time can manifest into one big case of workplace burnout. At Mind and Body Counseling Associates, we take burnout seriously and are here to help.
What is Burnout Exactly?
Burnout is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion that occurs after a long period of stress. And it’s surprisingly common. So much so that 1 in 5 employees are at risk of burnout and according to Deloitte’s external survey, 77% of professionals have experienced burnout in their current jobs.
Signs of burnout include physical and emotional fatigue, depression, frustration, loss of motivation, and even a decline in overall health. The causes can range from person to person but some common causes include unreasonable deadlines, unmanageable workload, lack of support and not being unable to ‘switch off’ from work and home life.
If you’re experiencing high levels of stress, here are some ways to avoid feeling burnout.
Take Care of Yourself
Self care isn’t selfish. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When you neglect yourself, you can’t show up as the best version of yourself at work, home or with friends.
There are a number of ways you can self care, but start with what feels right for you. What do you enjoy doing? And what makes you feel good? It could be a walk in nature, eating good wholesome food, digitally detoxing for a few hours or even taking a bath.
If your stress levels are high, you’re probably not dealing well with your workload. You need to come up with a new system of managing your workflow.
Utilise tools like Trello to manage both your personal and work ‘to-do’ list. You could even start simpler with list-writing. Write out an initial list of everything you need to do, not limited by time. Then write a second list of what you can realistically do this week, and a third list of what you can realistically do today. Don’t forget to cross off your list as you complete tasks and don’t throw that list away. It is a lot less stressful and rewarding to see a list of ‘done’ rather than a list of ‘to-do’.
Take frequent, short time out when necessary. Use this time to pause and reflex instead of getting worked up.
In stressful moments, take a walk outside. Breathe.
Perhaps that also means going somewhere quiet before you get home, or meditating for 10 minutes. Wherever you need to go to get some peace and quiet to wind down and switch off before going home. Taking this short time out will also help avoid feeling frustrated at home and causing more stress in your relationships.
Remember, time out also includes longer periods of regular, relaxing holidays.
Take Up an Old or New Hobby
If you’re stressed, it’s likely that you’re too busy for hobbies. But don’t forget about all the things you love doing, or that one thing you’ve always wanted to try. Hobbies are a great stress reducer as they release dopamine and generally make our lives much fuller and more interesting.
Start small with something manageable such as 30 minutes a week, and increase your time as you begin to feel less stressed.
Lean on Your Loved Ones
Open up and speak to those who love you. Your relationships can really be neglected when you experience burnout, not to mention, stress can really impact your sex drive. It’s really important to communicate with your partner and loved ones when you’re feeling stressed.
Simply ask if they’d mind talking about what’s on your mind lately. You’ll be able to get things off your chest and if they know you’re stressed, it will be easier for them to understand.
Developing workplace burnout occurs over long periods of time. So if you’re feeling stressed today, you won’t wake up tomorrow feeling burnout.
You can recognise the warning signs and deal with your stress levels at an early stage to avoid it. Take the above five actions into consideration, understand your stress triggers and say no to things you can’t take on. But most importantly, recognise when you might need a little more help.