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Overcoming burnout: Recognising signs and prioritising mental health at work

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Burnout is defined as the overwhelming mental and physical exhaustion you experience when the demands of your work consistently exceed the amount of energy you have available. The problem has become so widespread that it has been dubbed the modern workplace epidemic.

When constant work stress pushes you into the incapacitating state known as burnout, it is a severe problem that affects not just your own performance and well-being on and off the job, but also that of your team and your business.

It might make you feel drained, sluggish, agitated, and unable to complete tasks. If you feel as though your life-force battery is running dangerously low, then you may be burnt out.

So, you’ll need to figure out how to “put gas back in your tank.” Here are some suggestions for how to restock your mental energy:

Impact of burnout on your well-being

Burnout has been associated with a variety of unfavourable physical and mental health consequences, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, sleep difficulties, depression, and anxiety, as well as increased alcohol and drug use, according to research. Furthermore, burnout has been linked to feelings of futility and alienation, as well as a decline in the quality of relationships and long-term employment possibilities.

Telltale signs of burnout

Exhaustion

The primary symptom of burnout is exhaustion. It consists of severe physical, cognitive, and emotional exhaustion that impairs people’s capacity to work well and feel good about what they’re doing. When you’re exhausted, you can’t concentrate or see the big picture; even ordinary and formerly fun chores become challenging, and it’s difficult to drag oneself into and out of the office.

Cynicism

Also known as depersonalisation, it is a loss of engagement. It is essentially a method of psychologically detaching oneself from your task. You feel disconnected, negative, and even heartless toward your assignments, projects, coworkers, clients, and other collaborators, rather than invested in them. Cynicism can be caused by work pressure, but it is also common in situations characterised by excessive conflict, unfairness, and a lack of participation in decision-making.

Inefficacy

This refers to feelings of incompetence and a lack of productivity and achievement. People experiencing this burnout symptom notice their skills deteriorating and are concerned that they will be unable to succeed in certain settings or complete particular activities. It frequently coexists with exhaustion and cynicism since people can’t perform at their best when they’re out of gas and have lost touch with their work.

Recovery and prevention

If you read through the above symptoms and feel it resonates closely with your current state, it’s likely time to recharge and start planning your next steps. Here are some ways:

Make self-care a priority

Prioritise excellent sleep patterns, nutrition, exercise, social connection, and practices that promote serenity and well-being, such as meditating, journaling, and enjoying nature, to refill your physical and emotional vitality, as well as your ability to focus. If you face a mental or creative blockage, give yourself a week to reflect on how you’re spending your time.

Change your perspective

While rest, relaxation, and replenishment can alleviate weariness, reduce cynicism, and boost efficacy, they do not address the underlying causes of burnout. Back at work, you may confront the same overwhelming workload or unsolvable disputes. So, you must now examine your thinking and assumptions. What components of your situation are genuinely unchangeable, and which can you alter? Even the most inflexible features can be mitigated by changing your attitude.

Reduce your exposure to workplace pressures

You will also need to focus on high-value activities and relationships that continue to cause stress. This includes changing colleagues, clients, and even expectations of family members about what and how much you’re willing to take on, as well as ground rules for working together.

Throughout your work day, allow yourself some time off

While you are working, whether from home, in an office or in a restaurant, one of the few ways to effectively heal is to temporarily remove yourself from your job environment. A recent study has shown that taking a vacation could save your career and restore your state of mind.

Look for connections

Seeking out rich human contacts and ongoing personal and professional development is the best antidote to burnout, especially when it is fuelled by cynicism and inefficacy. Locate coaches and mentors who can assist you in identifying and implementing positive relationships and learning opportunities.

Closing thoughts

Burnout might feel insurmountable at times. However, feeling overwhelmed is a warning sign, not a long-term punishment. You may recover and establish a road map for prevention by recognising the symptoms and applying relaxation techniques so that you can give your best self to your work, your family and yourself.

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Source: HEALTHIANS