Is Burnout killing you?

How to Know if Your Burnout Is Killing You

This week at Therapia Psychology we are taking a look at the effects of burnout.

For the past week and a half, the words “rest” and “burnout” keep coming up.

Every conversation I’ve had this week has included the discussion of burnout. Just about every article I’ve read has mentioned the importance of rest and avoiding burnout.

Perhaps this theme is circulating because it’s now winter. Winter is typically the season where we just keep working with very little in the breaks and public holidays.

Perhaps it’s circulating because so many of us have been working so hard we’re starting to experience the effects of burnout.

I have several new clients coming to me because they’re experiencing burnout in their current jobs and recognise a need for a change. I also can easily experience burnout if I don’t take time to rest.

And just last month, the World Health Organisation redefined burnout as an actual syndrome linked to unmanageable chronic workplace stress.

There’s been a lot of buzz about this new medical classification of burnout since it was announced. Perhaps this is also the reason the topic of rest keeps coming up.

Hidden Signs of Burnout You Shouldn’t Ignore

The syndrome for burnout includes several physical, emotional, and cognitive warning signs:

• Inability to concentrate
• Feeling like you’re constantly failing
• Making careless mistakes
• Re-upping a bad habit (i.e. if you previously quit smoking but started up again due to the stress from your job)
• Dizziness and headaches

Do any of these things describe how you’ve been feeling lately?

If so, first, do what you can to find the time needed to get some rest! Second, you might need to consult your doctor.

Then, you may want to make an appointment with your Workplace Wellness provider. If your workplace doesn’t have one bring it up at the next team meeting.

Quote: “If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” Unknown

Burnout is Toxic

In fact, if you want to live longer, a recent article says one of the 30 things you can do to live longer is to establish more balanced work hours.

The article criticizes the fact that our current work culture has made it acceptable to work over 40 hours a week, to work through lunch and breaks, and to come in early and leave late.

Another article states if management has little or no concern for work-life balance on a daily basis, this is one of eight signs your workplace is extremely toxic.

This means you feel like you have to sacrifice your personal life and family for your job on a regular basis. Which is evidenced by more hours per week, little to no vacation time, and 24/7 availability for work communication.

How to Reduce Burnout by Making Good Decisions

This lack of balance has become our “new normal,” and it needs to return to the “old normal” if we want to be productive both in our jobs and our personal lives.

Of course, this is easier said than done. It will require a culture shift in the world of work. While the shift has begun, it still has a long way to go before the pendulum will swing back to what’s considered realistic.

There are things you can do as an individual to start making this shift in your own personal and professional life. This includes learning how to negotiate win-win scenarios with your current supervisor when asked to take on additional responsibilities.

It also includes learning to make good decisions when seeking new opportunities. Always choose those opportunities that support your personal mission statement and turn down those that don’t.
Think about what you value above just the monetary return on an opportunity.

Quote: “There are four types of wealth:

Financial wealth (money)
Social wealth (status)
Time wealth (freedom)
Physical wealth (health)

Be wary of jobs that lure you in with 1 and 2, but rob you of 3 and 4.”

It’s Okay to Rest and Do Nothing

It’s okay and necessary to do what it takes to recover from your burnout. This means getting the rest you need, and also spending some time just doing nothing.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to just do nothing. But The New York Times published an article by Bonnie Tsui which assures us we’re doing something important when we aren’t doing anything at all. Tsui says,

“We need to rest, read, and reconnect. It is the invisible labour that makes creative life possible.”

During winter I like to take the time to spend a weekend in silence reflecting on the first half of the year, reading, and thinking about how to be more intentional in the remaining half of the year. It is so tranquil and renewing to my mind and soul. It leaves me feeling rested and refreshed.

I encourage you to spend a portion of this weekend getting some quiet time and some rest, both alone and with your family.

Doing so will give you the clarity and energy you need to make some necessary changes moving forward in your career.

Whether it’s learning to manage your manager, carving out some work-life balance, or making a career change to something healthier.

If you or your staff are feeling overwhelmed, stressed or nearing burnout Therapia Psychology can help. To find out more about our Workplace Wellness program email info@therapia.net.au or call us today on 8364 3811.

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