Avoiding Burnout in the Workplace

Are you feeling stressed because of what is going on in politics around the world? Are you feeling unproductive even though you are working long hours? Are you having problems focusing and organizing? Have you considered the possibility that you are experiencing symptoms of burnout?

To be able to answer this question you need to know how 'occupational burnout' is defined. This definition is found on Wikipedia.

"Burnout is a type of psychological stress. Occupational burnout or job burnout is characterized by exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm and motivation, feelings of ineffectiveness, and also may have the dimension of frustration or cynicism, and as a result reduced efficacy within the workplace.[1]"

Most of us agree that mild stress in your life helps you function at top efficiency. It is when this stress becomes severe that you are a candidate for burnout. When people experience burnout in their occupation productivity goes down. They may feel isolated and experience a loss of hope. "Why should I even try?" they may say. "No one cares about me." If this is you then take a moment and ask yourself the following questions.

1. Am I feeling unproductive even though I am working long hours?

2. Am I constantly tired and having trouble organizing my day?

3. Am I having trouble focusing or am I experiencing a loss of creativity?

4. Am I having more conflicts in my interpersonal relationships?

5. Am I experiencing more headaches or back aches?

6. Am I feeling stressed when I have to go back to work? Does my work always feel negative?

If you have answered yes to these questions do not despair. Half the battle is recognizing that you are at risk of burnout. Here are a few tips on what may lead to burnout in the work place and how to deal with it. These are notes I took after listening to videos given by Todd Dewitt on Avoiding Burnout (2.) on LinkedIn.

In the workplace the following are related to burnout.

  • Number of hours worked per week. > 50 hours/week may lead to burnout.
  • Amount of responsibility given. The greater the responsibility the > chance of burnout.
  • Possibility of negative professional relationships.
  • Lack of control over your work.
  • Unclear expectations.
  • Is your job a good fit?

The main point that stuck out for me is whether your job is a good fit. Only you can decide.

What can you do to avoid burnout?

1. Communication is vital with your boss and peers in your job.

2. Communication is vital with your support systems outside of your work.

3. Embrace your non-work identity. Hobbies are important. If you did not work at your current job what other identities do you relate to? ie. Husband, wife, volunteer, coach.

4. Follow a realistic eating plan and not a diet. Try to eat less processed foods. Eat lots of real foods. Choose reasonable portions.

5. Exercise. Make a point of doing this.

6. Get 7-9 hours of sleep.

7. Build multiple daily breaks in your work day. Todd suggests hourly breaks for a few minutes. Talk with a valued friend. Make a personal connection.

8. Connect with a partner or colleague who will work with you to reduce your and their level of burnout. Give them permission to hold you accountable by telephone, in person, or on Skype or zoom.us.

9. Do what Todd says is a 'gut check'. Ask yourself, "How bad is my current situation?" If it is bad then remember to ask for help either from HR, from a professional or a quality mentor.

Let's face it life is stressful. If you can stay healthy, prevent burnout, enjoy your family, your work and your hobbies, than life is good. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Wishing you the best that life has to offer.