Burnout has become a hot topic, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, 88% of workers have experienced burnout in the last year. The burnout rate is 59% – that’s up 13.5% from 2021. This is a real problem.
What does burnout look and feel like?
- You’re exhausted all the time
- You don’t feel appreciated
- Your sleep patterns have changed for the worse
- Increase mental distance from one’s job
- You find it hard to concentrate and be productive
- You feel like you have to drag yourself to work
Lots of workplace stressors can lead to burnout including workload, feeling of lack of control surrounding work, not feeling compensated for your work, lack of community, and issues surrounding organizational values.
This doesn’t happen all at once though. Burnout often happens slowly and you may feel like you didn’t even notice it happening. According to Freudenberger and Gail North, the scientists who first identified burnout as a condition, common stages of work burnout are:
- The compulsion to prove oneself
- Working harder
- Neglecting personal needs
- Displacement of conflict
- Revision of values (work to the exclusion of all else)
- Denial of emerging problems
- Withdrawal (typically accompanied by self-medicating)
- Odd behavioral changes
- Depersonalization (unable to connect with others or one’s own needs)
- Indeed emptiness
- Burnout syndrome
So we know what it feels like, what causes it and And the stages that result in it. But what can we do about it?
The three “R” Approach is a great place to start.
Recognize: Watch for the warning signs of burnout to try to prevent it before it happens.
Reverse: Undo the damage by seeking support and managing stress.
Resilience: Prioritize and practice self-care strategies to build your resilience.
If you’re experiencing burnout, you have to do something to complete the stress cycle that work is creating. Ideas to release include:
- Physical exercise – what movement do you enjoy? Go for a run. Do yoga. Dance your heart out. But allow your body to physically release the stress you’re holding.
- Cry. Again, a way for your body to physically release the stress. Sometimes a good cry does wonders.
- Laugh. Find a funny movie or surround yourself with people who allow you to let go and have a good laugh.
- Breathing exercises. Coming back to your breath can be a great way to recenter your physical and mental bodies.
- Creative expression. Paint! Play music! Take a pottery class! Not only is this a great way to express yourself, but it can help get your mind off the stress of work as well.