Does your level of tired feel more than just a bad night’s sleep or a busy calendar? Does your level of hustle at work feel closer to helplessness? Then you may be experiencing burnout. Until recently, burnout was a bit of an enigma. You may have been told “just suck it up”, “it’s just the way it is”, or worse, that if you can’t handle it you must be out of your depth. Lucky for us, The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stepped in to recognise burnout as a legitimate health concern, by listing it in the International Classification of Diseases. Burnout is real. It’s legitimate. So what can we do to change it?
WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress" marked by:
1) feelings of energy depletion/exhaustion
2) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism to one's job
3) reduced professional efficacy
Here are 4 tips on avoiding burnout:
Get to know your signals
Many of us don’t realise the impact of stress until it’s too late, often because we don’t truly recognise our signs of stress to act on them as they come. We’re not meant to run on “fight or flight” mode 24/7. That bubbling panic in your chest over a deadline, teeth grinding over a problem to solve, shortness of breath over your never-ending “to-dos”. Get to know your first signs of stress intimately. Keep an energy log of feelings, body tension, and emotional reactions from your day, and then find patterns as to when, in what environment, and with which people you are triggered. The more awareness you have of how you operate, the quicker you can take care of yourself when it hits.
Quit wearing busy as a badge of honor
Modern work culture glorifies hustle. The truth is, work can still be done efficiently and brilliantly when we aren’t bending over backwards to do it. Notice when you’re choosing work over friends/family and truly ask yourself why? If your reason is that you have to impress the boss, or it’s crucial for your career, then it’s time to take a step back and reflect. What is crucial for your wellbeing and happiness?
Start your day fresh
Create a more sane relationship with your phone. Start by not checking your phone as the first thing you do in the morning. Your phone is the gateway to external influence, expectation, and opinion, which often sets off your stress response - NOT something you want first thing in the AM! Take this further by using features like Do Not Disturb mode, disable notifications, or periodically lock apps.
Invite help at home
Your duties and responsibilities outside work can contribute to your mounting burnout, so accept help where you can at home even if temporarily. Trial a meal service such as Hello Fresh or Marley Spoon, band together with other parents to share After School Care, or ask family/roommates to help with chores until you have recovered.
As an employee you are responsible for safe-guarding your own wellbeing, but you can also help create greater change by speaking up to employers. As a modern workforce, the only way we will not spiral into a collective burnout is by being open and flexible to a new way. Less hustle. More patience. Less bureaucracy. More humanity. Less timesheets. More ideas.
Businesses run on humans, so as humans we must be well.
Kris Deminick is an Internationally Certified + Award Nominated Life Coach, Mindfulness Instructor, and Marketing Specialist. Kris helps individuals and businesses prioritise wellbeing in the workplace to manage stress, burnout and self doubt. She facilitates workshops, 1:1 coaching, and conference wellness services to bring work back to the humans that get it done. Her techniques promote creative health to allow her clients to get their spark back. Find out more here or follow kris here