Burnout in the workplace has become an alarming issue. In the U.S., searches on Google for “burnout symptoms” reached their highest peak in 2022. A recent Microsoft study surveying 20,000 individuals across 11 countries found that over 48% of employees and 53% of managers experience burnout. With job burnout now at an all-time high, corporations must prioritize their employees’ mental and physical well-being to tackle this problem. So if you find yourself displaying any signs of burnout, how can you recover from it? This article delves into the signs of burnout and explores strategies to combat the same and create a healthier work environment.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is not a temporary phase of exhaustion or stress but rather a long-term condition that can lead to serious consequences for individuals and organizations. The World Health Organisation classifies burnout as a medical diagnosis and describes it as a syndrome that develops from chronic workplace stress that has not been efficiently managed. While burnout is not considered a medical condition, it can significantly impact an individual’s physical and mental health and the productivity and effectiveness of organizations. Signs of burnout can be characterized as follows:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion: Burnout can cause employees to feel drained not just mentally but physically and emotionally as well, resulting in fatigue and depletion.
- Increased mental distance or negativity toward one’s job: Employees experiencing burnout may develop a sense of detachment from work, leading to cynicism or negativity toward their jobs.
- Reduced professional efficacy: Burnout can cause employees to become unproductive and less effective in their roles, creating a sense of frustration and a perceived lack of accomplishment. This can also hurt the growth and success of the organization.
Now that you know the signs of burnout, let’s look at the causes of burnout.
What Causes Job Burnout?
Burnout can be caused by a variety of factors, such as an imbalance between work and personal life, prolonged and excessive stress in the workplace, a toxic work environment, no control at work, unrealistic deadlines, excessive workload, insufficient resources, and social isolation at work. McKinsey identifies toxic workplace behavior as one of the major causes of burnout among employees, with studies indicating that employees experiencing high levels of toxic behavior at work are eight times more likely to exhibit symptoms of burnout.
Toxic workplace behaviors encompass a wide range of negative interactions, including harassment, aggressiveness, discrimination, disorganization, gossiping, bullying, micromanagement, and excessive workload, among others. These behaviors can create a highly stressful work environment, impacting an employee’s well-being and productivity. Organizations need to actively address and eliminate toxic workplace behaviors; they need to create a positive and healthy work environment for their employees to reduce the likelihood of burnout.
Strategies to Recover From Job Burnout
Burnout is often a result of feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and unsupported, and could put you at a higher risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Recovering from job burnout can take time and effort but it is possible to overcome it with self-care and support. Here are some strategies to tackle the telltale signs of burnout:
1. Strive for Work-Life Balance
Maintaining a healthy balance between your work and personal life is crucial for employees to prevent (and recover from) burnout. Setting a specific end time for your work and avoiding taking the same home is important. It is also advisable to avoid accepting additional job requests when you are already overwhelmed with work. For remote employees, achieving a clear-cut work-life balance can be particularly challenging. If you are working from home, consider designating a specific space as your workplace and setting a specific end time for work. During non-working hours, try to engage in recreational activities to find a balance between work and your personal life.
2. Develop a Self-Care Routine
Create a self-care system to maintain your physical and mental well-being to recover from burnout. Self-care activities can vary from person to person, including regular exercise, sufficient sleep, healthy eating, meditation, taking breaks, and engaging in enjoyable activities outside of work. By prioritizing self-care, employees can enhance their effectiveness and engagement at work while leading a happier and healthier life overall.
3. Practice Meditation
Meditation can be an effective practice to alleviate signs of burnout. Meditation helps calm your mind, reduces stress and anxiety, and increases focus and productivity. Additionally, regular meditation practice allows employees to develop resilience and cope with high levels of work-related stress. Taking a few minutes to quiet your mind by practicing meditation and mindfulness can drastically improve your stress levels and overall well-being and prevent burnout.
4. Take Time to Rest
Getting enough sleep is not always sufficient to combat burnout, resulting in exhaustion, stress, and fatigue. However, taking a break to rest your mind and body can help prevent and reverse burnout. If you are feeling exhausted or fatigued, slow down and relax. Consider taking a nap, getting a massage, taking short five-to-10-minute breaks, listening to music, spending time in nature, or reading a book. Even small changes to your routine, like closing your eyes for a few moments or finding a quiet place to escape sensory overload from computer screens and background noise, can positively impact your well-being.
5. Seek Support
Isolation in the workplace is another factor that can contribute to job burnout. If you are seeing signs of burnout, seek guidance and support from trusted colleagues or friends who can empathize with your situation and help alleviate stress and isolation. Sharing your feelings and experiences with someone you trust can help you feel less alone, find guidance, regain your confidence and motivation, and make it easier to manage the stress of work and personal life.
6. Get Professional Help
It can be challenging to cope independently if you are struggling with severe burnout. Seeking support from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, can be a helpful step toward recovery. A professional’s guidance can provide a supportive, safe space for you to explore your feelings and experiences and work toward regaining your emotional well-being. Professional guidance can also help you identify signs of burnout through patterns and behaviors, develop effective coping strategies, and make a significant difference in your recovery process.
Addressing job burnout in the workplace is crucial as it can have detrimental effects on both individuals and organizations. Employees and organizations should take necessary measures to prevent signs of burnout, promote a healthier and more productive work environment, and increase job satisfaction and overall well-being.
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By Krati Joshi
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