Doctors get it. Moms get it. Influencers get it.
In today’s fast-paced world of expanding work hours, productivity shaming and an “always-on” culture, burnout isn’t selective with who it devours.
Appearing “busy” at all times is now seen as a good thing and those juggling a multitude of tasks at once are considered admirable.
In 2015, 60% of work absenteeism in Ireland was related to stress and a staggering 75%- 90% of GP visits today involve patients reporting high levels of anxiety.
With the rapid rise in employee wellbeing programmes and a culture obsessed with mindfulness, why are we still experiencing such a high percentage of burnout?
What is Burnout?!
Burnout is essentially a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion.
It has been defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed” and will become a globally-recognised medical condition as of 2020.
According to a study conducted by the VHI in 2018, 67% of corporate workers said they need to take more care of their mental health and 1 in 5 felt extremely or very stressed.
If not managed, this repeated stress can easily turn into burnout.
As with all conditions, the symptoms of burnout can vary from person to person.
The following is an overview of some of the most common symptoms to watch out for:
How to Tackle Burnout
The good news is that burnout is preventable and can be treated by implementing some stress-reducing lifestyle habits.
We’ve included 7 of these habits that can help towards refuelling your engine and keep burnout at bay.
End Each Day With Good Vibes
We are told regularly about how important it is to start your day right.
Rise and shine, eat a good healthy breakfast…but what about how you end your day?
Ensuring that you allocate time to unwind and de-stress from your day is just as important as how you start it.
- Call a friend or family member
- Add to a gratitude journal
- Dance around your kitchen in your pyjamas
- Take a relaxing bubble bath with an addictive novel
Whatever “good vibes” means to you, make sure to end your day with a little bit of the good stuff.
Pay Attention To Your Self-Talk
How we talk to ourselves can have a huge impact on our mood and self-esteem.
When we are feeling stressed or burned out, our gut reaction is often to lash out at ourselves.
We’ve all been there.
But let’s picture this:
You have a friend who is feeling stressed out, tired and worn-out.
What would you say to that friend to make them feel better?
….Now consider using these kind words on yourself.
Remember To Breathe
We know what you are thinking… pretty obvious right?
Well, surprisingly a large majority of us experience interrupted breathing every single day due to rising anxiety levels.
This is because, during the stress response, our breathing becomes faster in order to distribute oxygen-rich blood quickly around our body.
To help calm your nervous system, aim to take a few minutes each day to focus on your breathing, practice mindfulness or try out a few simple Yoga poses.
Controlled breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the nervous system, promoting a sense of calm. This site has a few great stress-busting breathing exercises that can be used at work or whenever you need it the most.
Don’t Ignore Basic Maintenance
We aren’t telling you anything that your parents haven’t drilled into you your entire childhood but even adults need a reminder to take care of themselves every now and again.
- Eat Regularly: Don’t skip meals and try to include stress-reducing foods such as fatty fish, eggs, chamomile and nuts into your diet.
- Sleep Well: The key to great sleep is to make sure to start to unwind a few hours before bedtime. Avoid using your phone or laptop at least 2 hours before you go to sleep.
- Hydrate: How many glasses of water have you had today? If it is anything less than 8, chances are that you are dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to stress and stress can lead to dehydration. It's a vicious circle.
Whether it’s cranking up the Lizzo or chucking on your Asics for a run around the park, exercise is a fantastic stress reducer.
By reserving time to move your body every single day, you can reduce your stress hormones, stimulate the production of endorphins and promote an overall feeling of relaxation.
Learn To Say No
Yes, we’ve all read Sarah Knight’s book.
And no, we aren’t going to pretend it is easy.
Very few people feel comfortable saying no. And for those who do...we salute you!
Learning to say no is difficult to master overnight, but to get started, we suggest trying the following:
- Take stock and make a list of the things in your life that are truly stressing you out. You can’t tackle what you don’t know!
- Consider how you can delegate or share out tasks to reduce pressure. You may be surprised about who would be happy to help out if they are asked
- Remember that you cannot be everything to everyone. Prioritise!
If you feel that your stress or anxiety is starting to become too much, make sure to seek additional support.
Speak to a friend, family member or loved one. Reach out to your GP or seek support from a therapist.
If you are eager to learn more about burnout or discover even more tips to tackle it, we’ve put together a shortlist of some podcasts and books we’ve come across that deal with the topic:
- Burnout to Breakthrough with Dr Eric Shuemake
- Burnt out to Lit up with Erika and Mike
- The Feel Good Effect with Robyn Conley Downs
- The Burnout Solution by Siobhan Murray
- Burnout: The secret to solving the stress cycle by Emily Nagoski
- Mommy Burnout by Dr Sheryl Ziegler
Have you experienced burnout?
Do you have any tips for reducing stress at work?
We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!