Keeping It Real Through Burnout
While the term was used before 2020, for many people it was the Covid-19 pandemic that created a perfect storm of stress; health risks for frontline workers, working remotely that blurred boundaries and cut social interaction, financial insecurity for businesses and furloughed employees, and an increase in general household overwhelm.
Burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion that can zap the joy out of your career, friendships, and family interactions. Continual exposure to stressful situations, like caring for an ill family member, working long hours, or witnessing upsetting news related to politics and school safety can lead to this stress condition.
It isn’t always easy to spot. In 2019, burnout was recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and categorised as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ but it can go far beyond the office.
According to Healthline, signs that you could be experiencing it include exhaustion, isolation, escape fantasies, irritability and frequent illnesses.
As our lives have kicked back into higher gear post-pandemic, so has the multitude of to-do lists and, specifically, the return of workplace stress. If you feel like you’ve been running on empty lately, a long-overdue week’s leave or a well-intentioned team social is a quick fix at best.
In attempting a more sustainable solution before it’s too little, too late, we turn to Victoria Joy, a qualified coach who helps people take back control of their everyday, cutting through the overwhelm to create helpful habits that make life feel easier.
Let hers, as told to Service95, be the only to-do list you look at today:
5 WAYS TO HELP AVOID BURNOUT
1. Audit Personal Tech
Having your phone or laptop pinging constantly with notifications from work means there’s no delineation between work and other areas of your life. Mute the notifications outside of working hours and when you’re focusing on a particular task to minimise distractions.
2. Lay The Foundations
When we’re stressed, busy or flat-out fatigued, our basic needs are the first things to suffer. So laying the foundations shows yourself compassion, and builds resilience against daily stress. Foundations can include nutritious meals eaten without distraction, natural light on your face in the morning, and nightly good-quality sleep. Start small – choose one – and prioritise it.
3. Own Your Identity
If work feels all-consuming, be aware of the language you use to describe it. Instead of saying ‘I am’ (‘I am a teacher’, ‘I am a project manager’) use ‘I work as’ (‘I work as a teacher’, ‘I work as a project manager’). This can help create mental boundaries between work and the rest of your life, reminding you your job is only one aspect of who you are and the life you lead.
4. Keep Perfection In Check
Is your need to win approval from others, make the best decisions possible or appear at the top of your game adding to your work stress? Aim to view your workload and specific tasks with fresh eyes – from a place of ‘good enough’ instead of ‘perfect’ – and be honest about how realistic you (and others) are about what’s achievable.
5. Rest And Reset
Ensure you’re setting boundaries in your life outside of work to rest and recalibrate. Finding what truly encourages you to rest may require trial and error, but examples include meditation, socialising with friends, listening to calming music or phone-free activities such as doing jigsaw puzzles.