It seems burnout is increasing more than ever. People who never experienced it before are also suffering now. According to Hartford, 68% of females in the U.S. are experiencing burnout at work, compared to 52% of men in 2021. Even though the women percentage is higher, we cannot ignore the inclining numbers.
61% of remote workers and 53% of office employees say they find it difficult to disconnect from work during off-hours. That is why burnout cases are increasing,
So, are you wondering how to know if you are showing the symptoms of burnout as well? If yes, then how not to burnout at work?
Ok, let us ask- do you find even a minor task too irritating to do or get frustrated easily at the workplace or home?
Do you feel weak and tired of doing anything?
Are you unable to focus on your work? Does everything feel uninteresting?
Burnout is a state where you feel exhausted mentally and physically, making it difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks. If not done anything, you slowly fall into a severe depression.
Burnout starts slowly, but gradually it affects the work-life balance severely. You first lose your focus. Exhaustion, loss of appetite, muscle pain, etc., prevail. You start distancing yourself from others. Then stress takes a toll on you, and you burn out yourself critically.
It might not happen to everyone- initially. But, there will come a time when even the enthusiastic ones will suffer from burnout. Some may not even know what they are going through. They will simply ignore it. But not for long, because they will start noticing its effects on their work-life relationship.
And anyone can suffer from burnout. Excessive stress because of heavy workload with no quality sleep, rest, and breaks ignite it.
So today, we came up with an interesting piece to help you identify the symptoms and ways to prevent burnout.
Symptoms of burnout
We have divided the symptoms of burnout into three categories. So, let’s start.
When burnout starts taking a toll on you, you will feel weakness. You will find it difficult to move an inch from your current place. You will become too lazy and struggle to do anything.
Headache is another common symptom. You will have pain regularly. Consequently, it affects your eyes as well. Everything will seem blurry sometimes.
You will have muscle pain here and there. Especially, it will affect your back, stomach, and shoulder blade. Increasing stress causes it.
Burnout will deprive you of quality sleep. You will have difficulty sleeping. Sometimes, you will be awake for hours and hours, and sometimes even an entire night.
Unnecessary thoughts come to your mind, making you awake.
You will start eating less than before. Burnout will disrupt your daily routine and diet plan.
You will not feel hungry. Sometimes, due to stress, you will consume more junk foods, alcohol, etc., instead of healthy diet foods.
Moreover, you will have difficulty digesting foods due to stomach pain, constipation, etc.
You will become a victim of many diseases because of burnout. Your immunity power will decrease and suffer from headaches, stomach pain, flu, diabetes, heart problems, fatigue, etc.
As a result, frequent absence at work becomes common.
Burnout affects your mental health as well.
Decrease in self-esteem
You will feel too weak to do any of your tasks. Demotivation and self-doubt dominate your brain. You will feel helpless and a sense of failure always haunts you.
Stress and depression
The severe effect of burnout is stress and depression. While the latter is also responsible for burnout, the fact it causes critical stress for long-time remains.
Irritation and frustration over a minor thing become an everyday routine.
You will start distancing yourself from others and your loved ones. You will stop socializing with them and confine yourself to one place, or feel like living alone every time.
You will feel like escaping the current situation every day. Plus, you will freeze in your own world while working for no reason.
You will feel dissatisfied with your work. You will start thinking that everything you are doing is for nothing and it isn’t doing you any good.
You will feel like quitting your current job.
Not only you, but it will affect your organization and colleagues. It will create a burden for others because of your behavior towards them, loss of focus, frequent absenteeism, etc.
You will lose your focus. As stated earlier, you will be in your own world thinking about many things. You will have it tough making a rational decision. Plus, you will be forgetful.
Other than these, you will have symptoms such as:
Burnout effects will be seen in your performance and productivity. You will lose the touch and effectiveness that you had before. You won’t be able to give your best, affecting your inputs and outputs.
When burnout causes stress and exhaustion, you will be unable to carry out your tasks effectively and efficiently. Slowly, it will affect people around you.
How not to burnout at work?
Burnout is a serious issue if not treated on time.
So how do you prevent burnout?
Focus on workspace
If possible, customize your workspace with the things that motivate you, energize you, and spread a positive vibe. You might not have your own dedicated cabin at the office, even so, you can modify your desk. Add some plants, figures, photos, or anything on it to motivate you.
Work somewhere you feel pleasant and free from distractions. Sometimes, due to frequent interruptions, frustration, irritation, and stress build-up. To avoid such a situation, tell your colleagues about your availability priorly.
Moreover, companies must keep in mind that frequent distractions affect an employee’s performance. So, if possible, they should provide a dedicated workspace for their workers. Otherwise, notify everyone about refraining from interrupting others every second, unless it is an urgent matter.
The way you manage your workload plays a significant role in preventing burnout. When you are unable to cope with tasks that come under your responsibilities, it keeps piling up. Consequently, it becomes too much for you to handle, and you break under the pressure.
Before you truly become helpless and your workload affects you negatively, managing your workload takes priority. So how do you do it?
- Make a to-do list
First, make a to-do list. This will help you plan for the day and stay organized. And this way, you will have a clear idea of what you need to do and what you don’t. Plus, managing time for each task becomes much easier.
- Prioritize tasks
Not every task you have on your hands is important. Some tasks need immediate attention while some don’t. After you create a to-do list, break it down into higher and lower priorities. Work on the former ones so they don’t hamper the project later. Once you finish them, focus on the low-priority tasks.
Instead of trying to do everything at once, prioritization will bring your workload pressure down. It will help you relieve the stress that comes when you don’t finish the high-priority tasks. Plus, you will be more focused this way. You will achieve more and save time.
Say no when necessary
One mistake that leads to burnout is saying yes to every task you get. When you already have too much work on your hands, then additional roles will only create extra pressure to finish everything on time. One man can only do so much. Trying to handle everything alone only builds workload pressure.
Understand your limits and learn to say no. Only take on the number of roles and responsibilities that you can handle. It is a perfect way to avoid burnout.
Plus, this doesn’t apply to an employee only. The organization must understand the situation of its workers. If they already have so much to do, then extra tasks will be a burden to them. They can only focus on one task at a time. Then, telling them to do extra will create problems, which will be visible later in the performance of an employee. So, refrain from giving them too much work at once.
If you have too many tasks on your hand, then delegate some of them to your colleagues. This way, it will halve your workload pressure, preventing you from burnout.
But ensure that delegating your tasks to your colleagues doesn’t create workload pressure on them instead. Always do it when someone has fewer roles and responsibilities for a day or two. Otherwise, as stated earlier, learn to say no if you think you can’t finish them on time.
When employees are in their best condition, then only achieving success is possible. Otherwise, failure becomes common. And an organization needs to understand this. So, delegate roles and responsibilities not only based on their skills and experience but also on how much they can manage. As a human, everyone has limitations and weaknesses.
Share your problems
If you are demotivated or feel like you are not performing well because of burnout, then share your problems with your colleagues and management. They will help you cope with it.
Otherwise, no one will know what you are going through and more and more responsibilities keep stacking up.
So, until and unless you share your problems, preventing burnout will be challenging.
Plus, the company must set realistic expectations for its employees. The management should be friendly and communicate with everyone in the organization regularly. Otherwise, their workers will not be able to open up about their problems.
Schedule your availability priorly
Do you get work emails and calls even after office hours and during holidays? Are you fed up with such a situation? So, what can you do? The answer is scheduling your availability time.
When you don’t get enough time to relax, you won’t be able to refresh your mind and body, which eventually will take a toll on you, and you will feel exhausted physically and mentally.
So, one of the best ways to avoid burnout is to schedule your availability priorly and notifying about it everyone in the company. This way, you will be free from ringing phones, notifications tones of constant emails, and text messages from your company. Then you will have a relaxing time and be able to spend quality time with your loved ones after office hours and during holidays.
So, what an organization can do for its employees in this situation? Refrain from calling them. Find someone who is available and delegate tasks to them.
Try to limit office work at the office only
As said earlier, work emails and calls after office hours and during holidays are some of the causes of burnout.
Moreover, when you take work to your home, you will take the pressure with you as well. It will prevent you from spending quality time with your family. And it will redirect the stress that comes with your work to your loved ones. Irritation and frustration over little things will upset your family members.
Your home should be a place to relax and enjoy yourself with your family members, not a place to redirect your frustration. So, leave the work and pressure at and within the office only.
Take occasional breaks before you burnout. Not taking time off from your work leads to stress and exhaustion. So, go on a vacation to refresh yourself. Your exhaustion and workload pressure will go away. It will energize you when you return to work, boosting your performance.
Plus, taking short breaks about 5-10 minutes every day in the middle of your work is another effective way to prevent burnout to some extent. Go for a small walk or coffee break, do anything between these intervals to take some load off of your mind. Moreover, it helps you recover your energy and give you some room to get some fresh air.
Going on a vacation and taking short breaks during your work maintains your work-life balance.
Engage in activities
To be free from the workload pressure, some people engage themselves in activities such as volunteering for social work and some sort of hobby to fill their day with refreshments. Sometimes to change their environment, employees focus on things they are passionate about, that makes them happy.
Engaging in different activities refreshes your mind, and frees you from stress and tensions that normally occur from office work. Watch movies, play sports, and do anything to recharge your body.
Practice productivity method
Practicing the productivity method helps you manage your time and be stress-free. One of the best techniques is Pomodoro. It suggests that you set 25 minutes for each task and take 5 minutes break. You need to iterate this 3-4 times for a task to stay focused and not to burden yourself with work pressure.
Also, you can find similar productivity techniques and practice yourself to prevent distractions and focus on your tasks.
Isolation is one of the significant factors of burnout. So, building relationships play a major role in preventing it. When you have the support of others, you can achieve more in less time with less pressure. Your day-to-day activities will be much easier because you have your own team to work together and solve problems collaboratively. Everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, so the situation of doing everything all by one person will not arise ever.
Not only in the company but building relationships outside of it also helps you relieve stress. After office hours, you can have some time off enjoying yourself with them to refresh and recharge yourself. This also prevents you from feeling monotonous at work.
So, build connections and expand your network so that you have enough support when facing problems and when you want to have a good time and company.
Plan a diet
You already are out of energy, working eight to nine hours a day. On top of that, if you don’t consume a healthy diet, then you won’t be able to energize yourself. It will only boost your stress and burnout.
Moreover, a healthy diet helps you boost your mood, relieving your tensions and pressure.
As stated earlier, working eight to nine hours a day keeps you occupied, not giving you a chance to relax and rest your mind and body. When this continues for a long time, the chance of burnout increases.
Tensions of projects, and managing your team and clients pressurize you even more. In such a situation, if you don’t give yourself some time to steam off those pressures, it will negatively affect your work-life balance. And one of the best ways to prevent it is exercising regularly.
Exercising regularly helps you relieve work stress. Plus, do some yoga and meditation daily to practice mindfulness.
Join a community
Joining a community will help you meet with people facing the same problem and who have experienced it, avoided it, and who will help you solve your issue. So, join them and ask for help.
When you are suffering from burnout, stress, and depression, ask for help. Sometimes, conveying your problems to your loved ones or your colleagues might be uncomfortable, so seek professional help.
To prevent burnout, first, you need to identify the signs of it. And if you are already suffering from it, pause, plan and work on it. The above ways will help you prevent burnout. And if it seems too much to handle alone, ask for help.
Have you ever suffered from burnout? Please comment below and share your experience.
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