Blue Monday can be way more than an 80s bop. Sure, we all get this feeling once in a while. However, we all need to be more careful when these sensations kick in. Are they occasional or perpetual? How do they affect our focus, mood, and general well-being? Maybe we’re a step away from burnout syndrome. So, how to prevent burnout? Is there a successful tactic to do so?
Well, the issue is a bit more complex. Unfortunately, there is no single remedy that will work equally well for everyone. Still, there are a few simple steps and precautions we can all take to banish stress and look after ourselves. But first, let’s see what we’re dealing with. Once we define the term, acknowledge the symptoms, and learn about the effects, we’ll cover some tips, actions, and strategies that can be of help.
What does the term burnout mean?
According to WHO (World Health Organization), the unpleasant phenomenon known to us as the Burnout syndrome is a work-related struggle. It is defined as unmanaged workplace stress that causes serious consequences. In other words, if the pressure that’s tied to one’s occupation keeps on piling up, it will most likely lead to this sort of collapse. Reduced efficiency, exhaustion, negative feelings towards one’s job, and bitterness in the interactions are some of the signs that accompany burnout. But there is much more to it. What’s more, the effects of burnout on mental health can be quite severe, which is why every company (and every individual) must be well-informed on the topic.
So, we covered the basic definition. But, how does burnout feel? The predominant sensation most get when they reach this dangerous stage is emptiness. The lack of genuine interest in getting things done in the workplace is one of the key indicators of this syndrome. And surely, the feelings overflow onto other domains in one’s daily life. For instance, some start to have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. The impression that one lacks true purpose at work and that their efforts are meaningless makes one tired, irritable, and often cynical. Moreover, it makes people hate their jobs, colleagues, managers, and basically everything that has anything to do with the company.
What are the 5 stages of burnout?
Around 77% of US workers have reported that they’ve burned out at least once throughout their careers. There are multiple factors that can cause this condition, and its precise effects and consequences can vary as well. According to studies, we can define five stages of burnout:
- The early phase that many call the honeymoon phase, which is when a new hire still has a lot of energy, but the stress starts to increase and load up;
- The next stage starts to bring out job dissatisfaction and lack of efficiency. Fatigue and poor sleep quality also kick in at this point;
- The third stage is when the stress becomes chronic and so do the symptoms. Anger, depression, and even physical illness usually accompany this chapter;
- The fourth stage is the true crisis because this is the period when all of the symptoms suddenly intensify. Now, one can start to experience even severe maladies and develop an escapist mentality;
- The final stage is when most stop noticing the signs because they have become an integral part of their lives; This is when the situation gets truly tricky since this syndrome is embedded in the individual’s perspective, behavior, notions, and feelings toward work in general.
From the honeymoon stage all the way to enmeshment, it is critical to see the red flags. If there’s even a remote possibility that you’re heading toward getting burned out, stop and think. Learn about the tactics to overcome this situation, and be open about what bothers you.
How long does burnout last?
Unfortunately, you can’t put a deadline on this syndrome. Some people manage to overcome it within days or sometimes weeks. But regrettably, some can suffer from it for years. There is no easy-peasy way to just eliminate stress. Nor is there one to simply turn off its consequences. Nevertheless, there are some tested tactics to cope with it. Taking a break, whether it’s a long lunch, an extra coffee break, or a day off, can help you on the micro plan. Also, it is recommended to assess and retouch your personal agenda. Revisit your goals, see where you stand, and make new ones to add extra value. And, as always, make sure to start small. Cover the basic ground first, and gradually move on toward changing the bigger picture.
How do you fix burnout? Here are 5 simple tips you should follow!
Did you just start to experience the symptoms, or have you been ignoring the internal alarm for some time now? Whichever your scenario is, there are still ways to move past the burnout and into a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling state of mind and workplace mood:
- Be aware of the signals your body and mind are sending out,
- Discover (or – rediscover) the actual purpose of what you do,
- Get your priorities in order and boost your organizational skills,
- Make some me time and stick with it,
- Don’t be afraid to get vocal about what you’re going through and seek help.
Let’s move on to these most simple tips, discover the ways to put them to practice & learn how to prevent burnout in the workplace!
Recognize the warning signs & react instantly
The loss of enthusiasm usually comes first. Everything suddenly seems so difficult, time-consuming, and pointless. At the same time, people start to feel exhausted. It’s more than just being tired. It actually feels crushing. Then comes the decreased performance. And since one does not perform as expected, they’re often bound to feel anxious about it. These signs put people into a full-on paradox. They’re unwilling to change their ways and become productive, but they simultaneously lose sleep over it. Literally, they sleep less and wake up all drained. And that’s not the only physical symptom to watch out for. Many get headaches, stomach pains, and more.
Employers, learn how to prevent burnout: detect and eliminate the main causes!
As we mentioned, there are numerous reasons one can be burned out. So, what causes burnout stress, and which are the key triggers? Here are the most frequent set offs:
- No room to make decisions and be heard,
- Unrealistic or unclear expectations and duties,
- Poor workplace communication and dynamics,
- Lack of support and proper leadership,
- Chaotic environment and fluctuating workloads,
- No work-life balance.
Company culture also plays a huge role in each employees’ content, engagement, and overall satisfaction. It impacts the long-term success of the whole firm and the individual career development of every member. That’s why paying close attention to it is unavoidable. Employers and managers should take charge and know about these 6 causes of burnout and how to avoid them.
Focus on the true purpose of your work
Everyone’s career should have a much deeper purpose, other than simply getting a paycheck. In most cases, finding your purpose all over again can help you dodge burnout and control stress. Does your work make other people’s lives better? Direct your thoughts toward this silver lining. And then, make sure to do just a bit more to get the most out of it and bring even more splendid results. Still, you can feel like you’re on the wrong track after some meticulous introspection. If that’s the case, ensure to explore the options and do your best to find a new lane that will make more sense.
Here’s a bonus tip: you can love your job more if you find your pace. Focus on one task at a time. Don’t rush yourself and put your well-being above all else. Take regular breaks, know your priorities, and do what helps you concentrate. FInally, learn from the ultimate masters of delegation and hand over some chunks of your workload to others.
Get organized and take control
You don’t need to change your background and qualifications and become a Project Manager to obtain and refine organizational skills. On the contrary. These particular skills are the key, and everyone must work on them. Here are the grounds to cover:
- Master time management by knowing when you’re most productive and prioritizing accordingly,
- Plan carefully before you set a deadline and get on with the work,
- Make lists and schedules, write down your estimations, and keep others in the loop,
- Keep your desk and work area tidy and neat,
- Set realistic goals and get ready to feel the endorphin kick in once you nail them and cross them off your to-do list,
- Collaborate and delegate, learn to be a team player, and ensure to know when to ask for help or assign your task to a teammate.
Acquiring organizational skills comes easy to some. Others take a bit more to find the tempo that suits them while they’re still managing to fulfill all assignments in a timely manner. If you get stuck, don’t give up. Just take a break and strive to find a slightly different method that feels right.
Find time for yourself
Sadly, the effects of burnout in the workplace never stay limited to the working hours nor locked down inside the office space after hours. They can spoil more segments of one’s life. That’s why you need to do what makes you happy. Here is the first step – mute notifications and don’t even take a glance at the unread email that’s falsely labeled as urgent. Once your workday is over, liberate your mind from it. Do those things that help you relax. Some manage to get back on their feet by hitting the gym, while others seek new hobbies that stimulate creativity. Pick your own alternative.
Mindfulness tips & more!
Here’s the good news: there are countless options that will help you relax and leave the job-related stress behind. Maybe you don’t need to quit your job ASAP. It’s possible that all it takes is a long walk, a trip to an exotic destination, or some exercise. Or maybe you just didn’t get to try out the tested mindfulness practices:
- Observe your breathing and try to focus on it first,
- Limit the daily intake of caffeine and unhealthy snacks,
- Swap that third latte for some fresh juice, and hydrate yourself through the entire day,
- Take as many breaks as you need,
- Never juggle multiple tasks at once,
- Write things down – in work and in life; to-do lists and tools that will help you manage your assignments are great, but keeping a journal outside of the occupation is actually healing.
Start every day by taking a deep breath and instantly thinking positive thoughts. Sure, thinking positively is often tough. But it’s not impossible. And lastly, always stay kind to yourself. You are way more than your thoughts – and you’re certainly more than a bad day at work, a poorly conducted task, or negative feedback you’ve got recently.
Speak up and share your thoughts
This piece of advice is crucial: always speak up if something bothers you. Don’t give away vague hints or signs of discontent visible to you only. Say it out loud. Set the boundaries. Criticize if it’s necessary. And it’s not just about saying these things in the workplace and communicating more transparently. If you feel overwhelmed, even if it may seem like there’s no actual reason for these feelings, be honest about them. Maybe it’s not that smart to just blubber them out to everyone in the office, but there’s always at least one person you can confide in. Tell them what’s on your mind and ask for help in every single domain of your work and personal life that needs some fixing.
Spot the red flags & learn how to prevent burnout now!
So, how to prevent burnout syndrome? Well, we’re not saying it’s easy. But it’s doable! Just make sure to follow these small steps and manageable guidelines, and you’ll be on the right path. Noticing the warning signs is crucial. If something feels off, don’t sit around waiting to find out just how bad it can turn out. React instantly. Assess your internal motivators, strengths, and weaknesses. Give a once-over to your aims, make a new strategy to reach them, and set some more objectives. Be objective – know if the environment is actually toxic, and don’t be afraid to speak up. Ultimately, you can always seek a more fulfilling career elsewhere. Just remember: your well-being is what comes first.