Cara de Lange is the Founder and CEO of Softer Success, x-Googler, Wellbeing & burnout consultant, Change maker, Learning and Development specialist, Author of Softer Success, Mental Health advocate.
In this blog, Cara explains what burn out is, what the signs are that you're becoming burnt out, and some top tips to avoid it.
This last year has seen many people working from home for extended periods of time. For some more than a year! We have adjusted to video calls and working in different set ups, some more comfortable than others.
The pressure of work has continued, and for some the work load has increased. Without the ‘switch off’ time of a commute, many are using that time for extra work or keep working late into the evening.
The feelings of always ‘switched’ on and not able to disconnect can contribute to feelings of tiredness, fatigue and even burnout.
But what is burnout really?
The World Health Organisation defines burnout as
"a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.
The symptoms of burnout are:
A continuous feeling of exhaustion or lack of energy
Negative feelings and a distancing from the job role
A reduction in professional efficacy.
As well as the three recognised symptoms of burnout, there are a few other signs that may indicate you are heading towards burnout. Things to look out for include a general dissatisfaction with your working environment; regular headaches, stomach aches or issues with your digestion; a constant lack of energy; insomnia and a lack of motivation in all areas of life.
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to help prevent yourself from reaching that burnout stage. If your work is becoming increasingly stressful, then it may be time to talk to your manager or HR department about making some changes. Perhaps you need to reduce your hours or rearrange your schedule to allow for a little more breathing space. Discuss your feelings and try to work out a plan to stop yourself from reaching burnout. We can help you with that too, find out more details below.
Here are some useful ways to help you manage your stress and prevent burnout.
1. Keep work out of sight
When you finish work – put all your work stuff (laptop, notebook etc) away in a drawer or cupboard. Out of sight really can help to make it out of mind!
2. Choose how you speak to yourself
If you tell yourself you are burned out; the brain will go ‘ok I am burned out then’ and you will feel more tired. What about using positive phrases such as 'I feel tired but I am working on ways to gain more energy' or 'I feel calm and have more energy every day'. Write out some positive affirmations and put them in places where you can easily read them and remind yourself during the day.
3. Get outdoors
Nature nurtures – trees are healing. Take yourself outside and do some forest bathing. Walking amongst trees can reduce stress and tiredness. Alternatively, get your feet on the grass for a few minutes a day.
4. Take meaningful quick breaks
When working, make sure to take regular breaks in between meetings and tasks. At Softer Success we advocate micro wellness – super short 60 second breaks that give your mind and body a rest. Something as simple as taking a deep breath before you join that next meeting, give your toes a wriggle and feel your palms.
5. Stop wearing the 'burnout badge of honour'
We are all human and deserve to rest and recover. Get a sleep schedule in place that ensures you get a full 7-9 hours a night and clean up your diet so that you no longer need to rely on sugar and caffeinated products to help you get motivated.
Try these tips for a few weeks and you will soon notice a change.
If you would like to find out more about how to prevent burnout, contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org