Updated: Apr 25
Burnout lowers your productivity and causes emotional and physical exhaustion. Identify the signs of burnout, as well as ways to prevent it before it gets bad.
Do you always feel a lack of concentration at work? Do you feel stressed even when you think about work? Does your emotional and physical health hardly seem to be optimal? Observing depletion in enthusiasm and joy out of your career? You may be getting burnout at work!
Burnout impacts your productivity, health and lowers the sense of accomplishment at work. With the economic pressures rising, more and more people are feeling burned out at work. You need to identify signs of burnout at work and find effective ways to prevent them to rejuvenate your health and save your career.
What is Burnout?
According to WHO, Burnout is a syndrome caused due to chronic workplace stress that has not been addressed. It is characterised by three aspects mentioned below:
● reduced professional efficacy
● feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
● feelings of negativism towards one's job
WHO has included Burnout in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon. You can read further details here.
Major Signs of Burnout at Work
You may find it difficult to engage in activities you normally find meaningful when you experience burnout. When it sustains for a long time, it becomes physically and mentally draining. Determine the major signs of burnout at work before it shows overwhelming consequences on your mind and body.
Here are some of the prominent signs of burnout categorised into three major categories:
● Feeling helpless
● Decreased motivation
● Increasingly negative outlook
● Decreased sense of accomplishment
● Increasing absenteeism
● Coming in late or leaving early
● Taking out frustration on others
● Withdrawing from responsibilities
● Consuming drugs or alcohol to cope
● Frequent headaches
● Frequent back pain
● Chronic muscle aches
● Change in appetite
● Lowered immunity
● Feeling fatigue most of the time
● Insomnia or disturbed sleep cycles
How to Avoid Burnout
Knowing the signs and learning how to prevent burnout in the workplace is crucial for your well-being. Although, being burnt out does not necessarily mean you need to leave your current job and find a new job or profession. You need to incorporate effective changes in your professional as well as personal habits to combat burnout.
Here are seven tips related to work habits that can help you to avoid burnout.
1. Acknowledge that you are burnt out
Early recognition of burnout is crucial to lowering its impact on your health and career. Assess your daily routine at your workplace to determine if you have reached that stage. Even after identifying a couple or more symptoms, self-denial can occur. You must first accept that you have burnt out to start planning your next steps to tackle it.
2. Convey to your boss and colleagues
Once you acknowledge that you are experiencing burnout due to work, don’t be afraid to communicate with HR or your boss and trusted employees about it. They will understand your concerns and will work with you on a solution since you all belong to the same workplace.
3. Take some time off and contemplate your options
One of the most effective ways to recover from burnout is to detach yourself from your workplace for a while. You should take a short vacation to rejuvenate yourself. Use this time to take concrete steps to assess and recalibrate the options you have. You can contemplate the following options:
● Gaining more control over your time
● Taking to a different job within the organisation
● Seeking a job with another company
● Seeking a job within a different field
● Learn to accept and appreciate yourself
4. Know your limits
Find if you are over-exerting yourself at work. Knowing your limits enables you to know reality and act accordingly. Avoid taking on more tasks and responsibilities than you can handle. Write down the professional commitments you need to accomplish in your position. Always try to complete these activities first before taking on more work.
5. Learn to say “no”
Once you determine the exact roles and responsibilities you have to play as a professional, deny extra and unnecessary tasks to avoid burnout at work. Do not hesitate and start saying “no” tactfully. Learning to say no at appropriate times is an important skill for your well-being.
6. Organize your desk
A well-organised desk and its surroundings help you get more done. It saves time and reduces stress because you know where everything is. It also enables you to focus on the task at hand instead of getting overwhelmed by visual distractions.
7. Take breaks to unwind
Throughout your work day, you need to block a few chunks of time to have a quiet time and unwind. Do not work during that time. Taking scheduled breaks throughout the day is good for your mental well-being and productivity.
Along with workplace habits, you need to modify some of your personal habits too. Here are three tips related to personal life to try out to avoid burnout.
Exercise is well known for improving our physical health. It also helps to improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood. You do not need to spend hours at the gym; slightly intense physical activities like mini-workouts and short walks can be beneficial.
9. Eat a balanced diet
Eating a healthy diet filled with appropriate nutrients can be a natural antidepressant. Adding foods enriched with omega-3s may help give your mood a boost. Some of the major sources of that nutrient are flaxseed oil, walnuts, and fish.
10. Get optimal sleep
Good sleep habits help to improve your mood, brain performance and health. Bad sleep habits, insufficient sleep or low-quality sleep raise the risk of many diseases and disorders. Take enough sleep to rest and reset, it will be beneficial for your well-being.
Burnout means you need to slow down and rejuvenate yourself so that you can be happier in your professional as well as personal life. It is not an indicator that you need a new job but to relax and respect your boundaries. Incorporate the above-mentioned suggestions into your daily habits so that you can give your best at your workplace and beyond.
Are you in the right job? Take the Free ‘Are You in The Right Career Assessment’ to identify whether you are in the right job and discover what type of jobs you will excel at. The results of this test will be your guide towards a successful career change.
Smita D Jain is a Certified Life Coach, Executive Coach and NLP Practitioner. Smita’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Personal Clarity Coaching Programs enable busy professionals unhappy in their jobs to tap into their passions and transform them into professions so that they work because they want to, not because they have to.
Before her journey as a coach, Smita had extensive experience of 14 years as a corporate and business strategy professional with Fortune 500 companies. She is also a speaker at various public forums, a published writer, and an Amazon bestselling author.
You can learn more about Personal Empowerment Life Coach and Executive Coach Smita D Jain’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Coaching Programs by visiting www.lifecoachsmitadjain.com and book a strategy session at https://www.lifecoachsmitadjain.com/booking.
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