Submitted by Patrick Gray
The temperatures may be rising, but hotter temperatures are not the cause of employee burnout. The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about our competence and work value. It occurs when we feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands, both personal and professional. It can happen to office employees, caregivers, leaders—truly, it can happen to us all.
Below are some tips for recognizing, avoiding, and overcoming burnout, and helping others do the same.
Recognition is the first step in battling burnout. There are three key signs to look for in yourself and others:
- Exhaustion: We all feel tired from time to time, but we need to determine when the fatigue turns into true exhaustion in both our body and our mind. Healthline recommends that we look for these symptoms of exhaustion: lack of motivation, trouble sleeping despite severe fatigue, irritability, feelings of hopelessness, absent-mindedness, headaches, change in appetite, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, irrational anger, sense of dread, and depression.
- Cynicism: Cynicism is a feeling of distrust or that something isn’t going to work out well, based on a belief that nothing will ever change. Feeling cynical can be a clue that we have reached a stage of hopelessness and helplessness, believing there is nothing we can do to make a difference in the world or in our life.
- Lack of personal effectiveness: Personal effectiveness happens when we use all our skills, talent, and energy to reach a goal. When we experience burnout, we stop working towards our goals, our energy level plummets, and our skills and talents fall by the wayside. We focus merely on getting through each day instead of working towards our goals.
Avoiding and overcoming burnout
Wonders Counseling offers the following tips for avoiding and overcoming burnout:
- Be proactive. Look for early signs of burnout and when you see them, make a decision to create balance in your personal and professional life. Make your self-care plan a top priority, and stay on the lookout for ways your life may be out of balance.
- Schedule self-care. Look closely at your calendar and plug in your self-care time just as you would other obligations…and stick to it. Self-care can range widely—from regular doctor appointments to regular exercise. It can be pleasurable events, hobbies, time alone, meditation, massage, or taking time to sit down and eat a meal rather than eating on the run.
- Appreciate the little things. If you don’t have blocks of time, you can still fit in moments of relaxation. Even if you take just two minutes to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, this can make a profound difference in the way you feel.
- Make your health top priority. Ensure you are getting ample, quality sleep, choosing nutritious foods, and moving your body daily even if it’s just a ten-minute brisk walk. When you attend to your physical health, your mental and emotional health tend to be in balance.
- Tune in. On a regular basis, it’s a good idea to actively check in with the messages your body is giving you. Is your back stiff? Time to stretch. Are you feeling run down? Increase your dark leafy greens, slow down, and rest. Your body’s sensations have valuable information. Listen to these messages and attend to what your body and mind need.
- Learn to say “no.” This can be a difficult skill to master. However, we must realize how important it is not to do everything everyone asks or invites you to do. And there are many creative and polite ways to say “no.” Here are some examples:
- “Thank you so much for asking me. I truly appreciate it, but I am not going to be able to make it this time.”
- “I apologize, but I don’t have the availability in my schedule right now.”
- “I can’t make it. Maybe next time though!”
- Step away from the screens. Turn off the TV. Put the phone, tablet, and laptop away. Take a break. Go outside and look up at the sky.
- Create new habits. If you can accept and embrace the fact that self-care is absolutely non-negotiable, it will naturally become a part of your daily life and you will more easily have balance. Habits are formed by repetition. Groove new healthy habits by choosing one action you can take each week to care for yourself and stick with it.
- Reach out for help. If you feel overwhelmed, like you are experiencing burnout, personal counseling or coaching can make a world of difference. Sometimes when we have lost our balance and can’t find our way back, seeking professional support is the best avenue.
Patrick is the Marketing Director for Bayada Home Health Care. Parick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (302) 824-0378.