“Burnout is not caused by doing too many things. It is likely evidence that there may be too many things you’ve not been doing.” – Ben Kubassek
The modern world moves at the speed of light, and many people have difficulty keeping up with it. In an attempt to juggle between personal and professional lives, some individuals may find themselves experiencing burn out – a state of mental and physical exhaustion that removes the joy from every aspect of your life, from personal relationships and interactions to career satisfaction, and everything in between.
It is not always easy to spot burnout because it has a funny habit of masking itself with behavior that appears ‘normal.’ Nevertheless, it is imperative that you know the red flags and ways to avoid or deal with burn out. Burnout is a severe stress condition that prevents individuals from being able to deal with stress and perform their daily duties. It is much worse than ordinary fatigue and may make an individual feel hopeless and pessimistic, often leading to serious psychological and physical illnesses such as heart disease, depressions, and diabetes. A recent Deloitte survey reported that 77 percent of respondents experienced burnout in their present job. The World Health Organization included burnout as an occupational phenomenon in the International Classification of Diseases in May 2019.
While burnout can occur to anyone who is continuously exposed to stressful situations, some individuals, like business leaders, can be especially at risk. Situations that can lead to burnout include working extra-long hours without getting proper and regular rest, caring for an ill family member, and continuously witnessing upsetting news related to safety, politics, or other issues. Burnout can be a significant hurdle in building a resilient culture in the workplace, so this problem should be actively addressed.
As a corporate leader, you need to be trained to help your team prevent and deal with this stress condition. Of course, it is also necessary to keep yourself from getting burnt out, because you can’t help others that way. Let’s look at some ways to prevent burnout and build a resilient culture in the workplace.
Make Self-Care a Priority
It is important to remember the mental and physical limitations of the human body. Taking time to replenish your emotional, mental, and physical energies is highly recommended because it affects your productivity, focus, motivation, and overall mental health.
Self-care includes eating healthy, getting regular and good quality sleep, adequate exercise, and maintaining healthy social relationships. It also includes identifying and avoiding people, situations, and activities that drain your energy, lead to negative emotions, and spoil your mood. Invest your energy in activities that inspire positive emotions and boost your energy while also ensuring that you spend a regular, peaceful, and positive time away from work.
Here are some ways to practice self-care:
- Practice meditation
- Have one or more hobbies
- Take regular naps
- Push your limits, but know when to stop
- Go off the grid, and spend some quality time alone
Decrease Your Exposure to Stressors
Several high-value relationships and activities lead to unhealthy stress. One way to deal with this is to reduce your exposure to stressors – factors that trigger stress – whether they are within your work or personal life. This may involve learning to say no to certain things (and not feeling guilty about it), and updating the expectations that co-workers, clients, friends, and family may have from you. While this may require dealing with difficult responses from those around you, it is essential to remember that this is needed to protect your health and promote productivity and focus in the long-term.
Adopt a Better Mindset
While the effects of burnout often manifest in a person’s physical health, the root cause of it remains your perspective on what you are facing. We may not realize it, but many times, how we perceive a problem or a difficult situation may be causing us more distress than it should. Closely inspect your assumptions and mindset. Can you identify any areas of your situation that can be fixed? Is there a way to adopt a more positive approach towards any challenge that you are experiencing? Changing your perspective can reduce the negative impact of even the unchangeable aspects of your situations. Here are some ways to improve your mindset:
- Identify tasks that you can delegate to free up some time and energy for yourself.
- Identify parts of your work that frustrates you and figure out ways to shield yourself from them.
- Look for ways to develop supportive, positive relationships that replenish your energy as opposed to exhausting ones.
- Seek out for development, assistance, and training whenever you feel ineffective.
- Look for ways to highlight your work if you desire more recognition.
Reach Out for Mutual Support
A great way to counteract the impact of burnout is to seek out healthy interpersonal interactions. Along with that, reach out for continuous personal and professional development by seeking mentors and coaches who can guide you to be more efficient at work, address your productivity issues, develop positive relationships, and utilize learning opportunities.
Situational factors often cause burnout, so you may find others in the same boat as you. This provides the opportunity of sticking together to identify problems, figure out and advocate for solutions, and share mutual support, resulting in giving you an increased sense of connection, social support, and control.
Mindfulness promotes a relaxed and focused mindset by helping you live in the present moment. Quite often, we are occupied with thoughts of the past or future – and this adds up to our daily stress. Individuals are encouraged to learn how to detach from the past and present and focus all their energies on the present moment to avoid burnout. This includes the emotions and feelings being felt at present, and the task you are doing in a specific moment. Here are some ways to practice mindfulness:
- Regular mini-breaks
- Taking slow, deep breaths
- Enjoying a long shower
Going through burnout may feel like a long-term sentence. However, you can recover from and avoid getting overwhelmed by understanding its causes and symptoms and learning how to address them. Implement the strategies mentioned above to turn your life around and head towards a healthier, happier life with a more sustainable and rewarding career. This is essential for developing a resilient culture in the workplace, helping workers survive through thick and thin.
Some courses that may help you develop your skills in this area include:
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