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Burnout: What is it and how can I avoid it?

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​As the BBC reports that up to 42% of global workers are experiencing feelings of burnout in the post-Covid working world, our Learning & Development Officer Marsharee Walker investigates the causes of burnout and the simple changes we can implement day-to-day which can help to alleviate these feelings.

What is burnout?

  • A form of exhaustion in which you feel constantly swamped

  • Feeling overwhelmed and emotionally drained

  • The inability to keep up with life’s continuous demands

Where does burnout come from?

  • Overcompensating behaviors including 'people pleasing' and masking your emotions in order to appear okay to others

  • Struggling to recognise our own limits as we don’t want to disappoint others

  • Feeling guilty for resting, often to avoid the perceived stereotype of laziness

What’s the main cause of burnout?

  • Prolonged stress

  • Money issues combined with lack of recognition

  • The inability to say no

  • Not getting adequate rest; one of the quickest routes to burnout

14 tips to help beat burnout and increase productivity

  1. Affirm your self-worth, remembering that you are valuable regardless of what you do for others.

  2. Practice saying no without apologising - in a polite manner of course!

  3. Commit to rest in a way that works for you, be that reading, taking a nap or watching your favourite TV show.

  4. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

  5. Eat well, including natural, nutrient rich foods in your diet as they help your gut. The food you eat goes to your brain, which is why you may feel lethargic after eating certain foods. If you have allergies or intolerances this can also lead to burnout as your body gets stressed.

  6. Sleep! Make sure you’re getting enough every night so your body can recharge ready to take on a new day.

  7. Determine what you can realistically control.

  8. Identify what’s making you feel burnt out – is it your lifestyle?

  9. Stay social!

  10. Breathe heavy at least once a day. Try box breathing; each of the 4 steps last 4 seconds - breathing in, holding the breath, breathing out, holding the breath.

  11. Disconnect electronically. Remember that going on your phones before bed or in the middle of the night actually wakes you up.

  12. Make sure that relaxation a part of your schedule.

  13. Remember your past experiences. When you’ve been overwhelmed before, you survived so there is no reason it won’t happen again!

  14. If you are overwhelmed due to having a lot of tasks (both in and out of the workplace), put them into a priority order and consider if any of these tasks be rescheduled?