Too often in today’s workplace, we find ourselves feeling burned out. It can take a toll on our physical and mental health and wellbeing – and we often don’t even know it. But there are ways to overcome workplace burnout and get back to feeling alive.
Here are the questions we will be answering:
1. What is workplace burnout?
2. What are the signs and symptoms of workplace burnout?
3. How can you address workplace burnout in the moment?
4. What is the best way to recover from workplace burnout?
What is Workplace Burnout?
Workplace burnout is a mental, emotional, and physical condition that occurs when we feel overwhelmed and exhausted from our job or workplace.
While burnout has been defined as a workplace phenomenon of mismanaged chronic workplace stress by the World Health Organization, we also experience burnout in other areas of our life.
Our key focus will be on the workplace because a predominant focus of our daily workload, anywhere from 8 -12 hours of our day, is spent in the area of our careers.
It's important to note that burnout has both a systemic and individual component. From the workplace level, it centers around ineffective workload and people management practices as a culture that unsustainably adds stress to employees.
Often it's done unconsciously as leaders and managers make decisions without properly weighing and managing expectations, coupled with having an unclear understanding of individual mental and emotional bandwidth when it comes to high performance and effectively achieving goals.
Coupled with profit and marketplace demands, and our modern-day pace of technology, it has created an unsustainable environment where it's become more difficult for people to keep up.
As a result, as we cope to hit our objectives, we also inevitably begin to achieve diminishing returns with a growing pressure to maintain our performance - stress-out and burnout.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Workplace Burnout?
As we mentioned earlier, the hallmark of workplace burnout is feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. But here are some other signs and symptoms of workplace burnout:
- Feeling like you can’t take it anymore
- constant stress and anxiety
- feeling like you’re constantly struggling
- feeling like you’re not good enough
- feeling like you can’t relax or take breaks
The biggest challenge with burnout isn't that we can't cope with stress and are not resilient, rather stress becomes a chronic condition that slowly increases over time.
The adage of "how to boil a frog" applies to our workplace conditions, where we slowly slow cook ourselves with stress, and often when we begin to notice the exhaustion, most of us have made our workplace behaviors habitual and fail to turn it off.
That's why even with all the self-care and prevention practices to avoid burnout, we no longer have the mental and emotional bandwidth to keep up with our day-to-day stressed-centered, energy-draining habits that consume us.
“I’m so tired of the endless rushing, even when you’re supposed to be relaxing you’re rushing against the clock.” - Marsha
How Can You Address Workplace Burnout In The Moment?
The best way to address workplace burnout in the moment is to remember that you are not alone. Many people have been through the same thing and can offer you some advice and support.
Clarity is a powerful first step of action. Recognize that while there is a workplace cultural component to burnout when it comes to how you feel, you can take responsibility for your recovery process.
Don't wait for management to change their practices to reduce stress and manage expectations and workload for you. Communicate your needs and properly request time to effectively recover.
Remember, if you're experiencing burnout, chances are those around you are as well. Taking the opportunity to communicate it to management will help raise awareness and initiate change.
Also be mindful that if the immediate culture around you is toxic, you may need support from your HR team. It's no secret that most employees quit their managers and not their workplaces.
Most companies have policies around sick days, vacations, leave of absence, and short-term disability. It's important to put yourself first when it comes to burnout, left unaddressed can have serious health implications and negative impacts on people around you and other areas of your life.
What Is The Best Way To Recover From Workplace Burnout?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to recover from workplace burnout will vary depending on your situation and history.
It's important to note that prevention practices (avoiding burnout) and recovery (stopping burnout and self-regulating) are two very different processes.
Prevention practices help you to maintain your mental and emotional wellbeing, which include:
- Yoga and Meditation
- Regular exercise, adequate nutrition
- Sleep hygiene and rest
- Living by your values
The goal for recovery is to stop the unconscious drivers and energy drainers in your career and life. This can include:
- Setting and Enforcing Boundaries
- Releasing compulsive thinking and behaviors
- Processing suppressed emotions and clearing trauma
- Resolving inner conflicts
- Relaxing and resetting the nervous system
Overcoming workplace burnout is possible, and we here at the Burnout Clinic want to help you do just that. If you're looking to get started on your recovery journey, join our free 30-Day Burnout Recovery VIP Challenge.
Written By: Duncan So, C.Ht, MMER, MNLP, Executive Director at The Burnout Clinic
Invite your friends, everybody saves.
For every friend that subscribes using your referral link, you'll get 10% from their payments as credit toward your own subscription. They'll get 5% off too!