In the wake of Covid-19, people are working harder than ever.
While many of us thought productivity may dip when we started working from home, the pandemic actually added 30 minutes onto the average Briton’s working day. Many employers will welcome these changes with open arms. However, as workloads mount and the boundaries between our working and personal lives continue to blur, rates of employee burnout are higher than ever.
If you want to progress in your professional career without sacrificing your physical and mental health, this article features 6 simple ways to tackle burnout. But before we dive in, let’s explain exactly what we mean when we talk about burnout.
What is Burnout?
World Health Organisation (WHO) defines burnout as a syndrome resulting from ‘chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’. It’s characterised by feelings of energy depletion, increased mental distances from one’s job or feeling cynical towards one’s job. Other common symptoms of burnout include anxiety, depression, insomnia, muscle aches and headache.
While burnout has been on the rise for decades, the events of Covid-19 have caused members of the working population to feel more worn out and less optimistic about their future. This has contributed to what some psychologists are terming “pandemic burnout“.
If you’re currently experiencing burnout or fear it’s on your horizon, consider following these 6 methods.
1. Form Healthy Boundaries
The global work from home (WFH) experiment has proved that as long as you have a stable WiFi connection, you’re able to work. But while technology can be a valuable tool for workforces, the ‘always on’ culture it fosters can lead to higher rates of burnout. Therefore, if work is becoming an increasingly central part of your existence, it may be time to carve out some healthy boundaries.
By allocating yourself a set amount of downtime each week, a healthier work-to-life balance can be restored. Even if you’re an extremely career-driven individual with sky-high ambitions, taking some time out for yourself doesn’t have to compromise your success. In fact, giving yourself time to be social, to engage in hobbies or to rest and rejuvenate is actually likely to benefit your productivity in the long run.
2. Stay Active
Another way to keep burnout at bay is to live an active lifestyle. Even if your job responsibilities are keeping you busy during the week, taking a little bit of time out of your day can reduce the mental symptoms of burnout significantly. This is because engaging in physical activity can raise your body’s serotonin and endorphin levels, which both have the power to improve mental well-being.
In addition to relieving stress and improving mental health, staying active can also reduce levels of fatigue and boost a person’s cognitive function. If you’re interested in working out to reduce burnout, high-intensity exercises like jogging, HIIT workouts, and boxing will be the most effective.
3. Reach Out to Family and Friends
Burning out can be an extremely isolating experience. When you’re overwhelmed, stressed and fatigued, it can be natural to withdraw from people that are close to you. However, research has found that talking about your problems and venting negative emotions can profoundly reduce physical and mental symptoms of stress. Therefore, if you’ve been dealing with work stress by yourself, reaching out to your support network can be a valuable way to prevent the onset of burnout.
Not only does talking things through with your family members, friends or colleagues give you a space to express your feelings, it also allows you to receive useful advice. Therefore, to combat the isolation of being overworked, we recommend that you reach out to loved ones in person, over the phone, or even by message.
4. Try CBD Oil
If you’re looking for an alternative way to manage burnout, it might be a good idea to try CBD (also known as Cannabidiol). CBD is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid that derives from the hemp plant. Nowadays, it is available in different product formats – from CBD gummies and oral tinctures to capsules and infused topicals, to name a few. The agent has been used by an increasing number of people to remedy pain, anxiety and insomnia.
As research into its potential mounts, a number of experts also believe it could be a useful antidote to employee burnout. A recent Brazilian study has even concluded that the cannabinoid notably relieved emotional exhaustion for frontline healthcare workers suffering from the condition. However, because of the compounds’ relatively entrance into the wellness scene, we recommend that you do your research before using CBD to address work-related stress.
5. Prioritise Your Sleep
When work starts to get the better of you, your sleep can be the first thing to suffer. In fact, insomnia is one of the top symptoms associated with burnout. However, since sleep is instrumental to our physical and mental well-being when people struggle to get healthy amounts of sleep, the condition can be exacerbated even further.
To try and establish healthier sleeping habits, there are a number of things you can do. First of all, attempt to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. This will help to set a routine in your internal body clock. Secondly, if you practice meditation, reduce your caffeine intake or decrease light exposure in the evening, you have a greater chance of snoozing at a reasonable time.
6. Talk to Your Manager
Finally, if you suffer from burnout or think you may be heading in that direction, it’s also wise to speak to your manager. Managers tend to have a moral and legal responsibility to protect the well-being of their staff. This means that if your work-life balance is putting strain on your mental and physical health, they need to know about it.
Even though this might sound daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Opening up to senior staff about your experiences and addressing your symptoms can be a relieving and even liberating experience. It also allows you to discuss changes that can be made to make your work life tolerable. Finally, explaining your situation is a great idea because it raises issues in your company’s workplace culture that your employer could address.