The stresses associated with the way we choose to live, work, travel and even play can leave us feeling ‘burnt out’, but what does that actually mean and how should we deal with it?
What is burnout?
American-German psychologist Herbert Freudenberger is widely recognised as the person who coined the term ‘burnout’, talking about it in his book Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement.
Now, people often say, “I’m burnt out” when they’re feeling particularly sleepy, physically tired and/or mentally drained. But the reality is we all feel run down from time to time and it’s usually an acute condition i.e. it doesn’t last for a prolonged period of time.
Burnout, though, tends to creep up on you and becomes worse as time goes on. It normally starts with just a few subtle signs in the beginning: fatigue, headaches, heavy shoulders, a stiff neck, detachment from your work/home life, and/or feelings of inadequacy.
However, once this has progressed to full-fledged burnout, you are no longer able to function effectively; are physically and emotionally exhausted; and feel as though you have nothing more to give.
Burnout risk factors
It’s not always people with high-stress jobs or fast-paced lifestyles who are most at risk of burnout. Workers in every industry and at all levels are at potential risk, with certain factors increasing
According to a 2018 Gallup poll, burnout among employees has five main causes:
- Unreasonable time pressure — Employees who have enough time to carry out their work are 70% less likely to experience burnout.
- Lack of communication and support from a manager —Employees who feel strongly supported by their manager are 70% less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis.
- Lack of role clarity — Only 60% of employees know what is expected of them in their roles. But when things aren’t clear, employees can become exhausted just trying to figure out what it is they are supposed to be doing.
- Unmanageable workload — When an employee feels as though their workload is unmanageable, even the most optimistic will feel hopeless. This can quickly lead to burnout.
- Unfair treatment — When there is favouritism in the workplace, employees who feel they are treated unfairly are 2.3 times more likely to experience a high level of burnout.
Dealing with burnout
The best way to deal with burnout is to prevent it from happening in the first place. That’s why it is important to keep the warning signs in mind and remember that burnout builds up gradually over time. If you notice any of the red flags mentioned above, pay attention and make some changes in your life before burnout occurs.
- Start with the basics — Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of high-quality sleep and exercise as regularly as possible.
- Reach out to close friends and family — Talking about what you’re experiencing can really help and the people you confide in will be flattered that you trusted them enough to do so. At the same time, make sure the time you spend with the people closest to you is positive and enjoyable.
- Learn to say no — If you don’t have the time or resources to take on more tasks at work, assert yourself politely and say no. Taking on more than you can manage inevitably helps nobody.
- Find value in your work — Chances are you once enjoyed in your job. Figure out why that might have changed and rejuvenate the passion you once had.
- Re-evaluate your priorities — There’s only 24 hours in a day, which is why you need to re-evaluate what’s important to you and use your time only for stuff that is really worth it.
- Get rid of toxic friends — If you have people in your life who do not add any positive benefits and somehow seem to bring you down whenever you’re together, remove them from your life. Just because you’ve known them for years isn’t a strong enough reason to keep this kind of negativity close by.
- Consider changing your job — In some circumstances, a change of position or a new job altogether might be needed to reverse burnout. If you literally dread going into work each day, figure out why that is and make a decision to address it.
- Make some healthy changes in your home — We’ve written before about how important natural light is for your health. Couple this with more fresh air and some beautiful views of nature and you’ll stand to benefit from better sleep, boosted performance and improved mental health.
Now that final point is one that we can help you with. That’s because one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to allow more natural light, air and views of nature (depending on your setup) into your home is by adding a rooflight or two.
Want to bring more light into your life? Our team is here to help Contact us today online. Alternatively, call us on 0116 269 6297
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