Work Burnout: What Is It and How to Deal With It?

The corporate landscape has become increasingly competitive and because of that more and more people are burning out at work. Burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion that occurs after being overwhelmed at work.  Burnout can also make us feel like we have nothing left to give – mentally, physically, and spiritually. Anyone who is exposed to high levels of stress and anxiety can experience burnout. In other words, no one is immune to burnout. Many of us are feeling burnout and might not even realize that this is what we are experiencing. 

The leaders and managers of the corporate world are making mental health and burnout more of a priority especially, in the last two years working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. While stuck at home most of us had only work to focus on, although some of us sought solace by watching TV shows online or immersing ourselves in a good book. After all, we only needed a good internet connection for that like Metronet Internet.

In 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) conclusively acknowledged burnout as an occupational health issue. Many businesses like Bumble and Nike, recently offered their employees some extra time off from work so they can work on their mental health and address burnout more healthily. It is important for individuals to recognize when they are experiencing burnout or when they are on the verge of it and also what they can do to avoid it. In this article, we’ll share a few symptoms of burnout and tips to prevent it from happening. 

The Phases of Burnout

Burnout happens when an employee is exposed to stress persistently over time. Below mentioned are the 12 phases in which burnout happens:

  • Extreme drive/ambition: Burnout is especially common in overly ambitious people.
  • Exerting yourself to work harder: Overambitious people tend to work ten times harder than any other employee.
  • Overlooking your own needs: Sacrificing self-care like eating well, sleeping, and exercising.
  • Displaced anger: Rather than recognizing that you are exerting yourself too much, you blame something/someone else.
  • Non-work-related needs seem burdensome: Your social life starts to feel exhausting, instead of enjoyable.
  • Denial: Irritability with those around you increases.
  • Withdrawal: Social invitations to movies, dinner dates and parties start feeling like an inconvenience, instead of a chance to unwind.
  • Behavioral changes: People on the verge of burning out tend to snap on loved ones easily. 
  • Disassociation: You lose the ability to control your life.
  • Anxiety or inner emptiness: Feeling anxious and empty from within. You may turn to unhealthy behaviors to cope with this emotion, such as substance abuse, gambling, or overeating.
  • Depression: You begin to feel hopeless and life loses all its meaning.
  • The final collapse: Coping becomes impossible. Mental health and medical attention may be needed.

Tips to Avoid Burnout

There are a few things you can do to avoid burnout and listed below are some of them:

  • Exercise: Working out regularly can help to relax both our bodies and our minds. Try to get your body moving at least once a day, if possible, to release stress.
  • Take breaks: When we are focusing intensely on something, be it work or a project, we can forget to take breaks. Set an alarm on your phone that reminds you to take breaks. Use this time to get up, stretch, and step away from what you are doing for a while. 
  • Try to understand your own limits: Make a point of being conscious of your own limits. If you sense your stress increasing, try to stop and take in what exactly is triggering your stress.
  • Allow yourself to put your phone down: Sometimes the constant stream of news, information, and interactions can lead us to severe burnout. Be careful about your social media and news intake. Set aside time at both the beginning and end of your day when you are not on your phone. This is important for your mental health!
  • Name your feelings: It will probably feel strange the first time you do it, but naming your feelings is a helpful way to acknowledge how you are feeling. Saying “I feel awful right now” or “I am feeling extremely overwhelmed right now” out loud can help us hear ourselves and prompt us to take a step back.

Wrapping Up

The term “burnout” may suggest the condition is irreversible and permanent but that is not the truth. In order to stop burnout, it is important that the individuals make the necessary changes to the way they work. The above-mentioned tips may be helpful for you to do so.