What is burnout?
In 2019, the World Health Organisation recognised burnout as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ and in the current context of a pandemic, several lockdowns, and working from home, burnout has never been more relevant. But what is burnout?
Burnout is ‘a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress in your job, or when you have worked in a physically or emotionally draining role for a long time,’ (Mental Health UK, 2020).
Whilst burnout can feel horrible, it can be completely reversible if you are willing to make some changes to your lifestyle where possible. Keep on reading to find out more.
How to spot burnout in yourself/others?
Symptoms of burnout can include:
- Feeling constantly tired and stressed,
- Feeling overwhelmed,
- Feeling helpless,
- Feeling defeated,
to name but a few of the symptoms. Burnout can be because of workplace stressors, but that is not exclusively the case, burnout may arise because of other factors such as lifestyle and intrusive thought patterns. So how do I help myself if this is how I feel?
How to help against burnout?
There are a few different tips and tricks to help avoid burnout before it becomes a bigger problem; some you may have already heard of before, others, perhaps not. However, they are all worth a shot as you will find what works better for you and doesn’t as when it comes to mental health, we are all unique.
Here are a few of our favourite tips to avoid burnout:
- Take some time away from technology, often, being around our technology all day every day can lead to heightened anxiety and stress, especially due to the fast nature of social media- therefore give yourself some time away from your phone, switch it off for a period before bed for example.
- Exercise a few times a week, whether this is a walk, or perhaps something more like a gym class or swimming- finding what you enjoy is crucial.
- Or, if this is too much, simply just some fresh air for 5 minutes away from what you were doing can help to clear your head.
- Setting boundaries, for example, this can relate to making sure that you only respond to work demands during working hours- give yourself a relaxation period where you can let your brain switch off for a while outside of those working hours.
These are just a few examples of different ways to help yourself avoid burnout- but a major one that we can all do with being aware of, is to make sure to recognise the signs within ourselves that demonstrate that we are operating close to burnout. Once you can recognise these signs, then you will be more likely to avoid future issues, and you will be able to take better care of yourself as well as others around you.
What to do if burnout is unavoidable or has already happened?
But what to do if we have already hit burnout? If you have already become burnt out, chances are you will be feeling overwhelmed, stressed, you may even become physically unwell as a result.
The first step to recovery is to not panic (easier said than done though, isn’t it), if we can avoid panic and accept burn out for what it is, we will be more likely to be able to move forward and through it.
The second step is to, if possible, take some time for yourself. Whether that is an hour, a day or even a few days away from the situation that is making you feel overwhelmed- it is worth the time apart.
If it is not possible to take some time away for whatever reason, create a list of tasks to do, and rank these in order of priority. Often, we procrastinate what really needs doing in favour of doing what we would rather, which can often lead to a build-up of stress and anxiety, and potential burnout. If there are tasks which you can delegate to other people (whether that is in your personal or work life) try to do so. Often, other people are very responsive to helping others out, and will most likely be more than happy to help if they feel they are able.
And finally, learn to recognise the signs within yourself- if you begin to start becoming snappy towards other people where you usually don’t for example, perhaps it is time to make sure that you aren’t overburdening yourself with work and becoming burnt out.
Hopefully now you can understand what burnout is, and how to avoid it in the future to be the best version of yourself for everyone around you. If you would like to look at some other resources, or even to find yourself some support, look at our website for more information: https://help.miricyl.org
Written by Caitlin Jilbert, Miricyl Marketing Manager, on the 27th April 2022.
(All information correct as of 27/04/22- do not take this as medical advice- if you are feeling that you are suffering from serious forms of burnout, please seek medical advice from a doctor or mental health practitioner.)
https://www.verywellmind.com/stress-and-burnout-symptoms-and-causes-3144516 (Accessed: 11/04/22).
https://mentalhealth-uk.org/burnout/ (Accessed: 11/04/22).