Workplace ‘burnout’ has become such a serious issue in the modern-day work environment, it has been officially recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a chronic condition or ‘occupational syndrome’.
The WHO characterises burnout as ‘feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.’
The phrase ‘burnout syndrome’ is credited to psychologist Herbert Freudenberger who produced a study on the condition in 1974 after he observed it in some of his colleagues. In more recent times, a UK survey found that nearly 30% of human resource directors thought burnout was widespread in their organisation, and a report from Harvard declared burnout in the US a public health crisis, potentially costing the economy $4.6 billion a year. In January 2019, a Buzzfeed article titled How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation went viral. ‘Why can’t I get this mundane stuff done? Because I’m burned out. Why am I burned out? Because I’ve internalised the idea that I should be working all the time,’ writer Anne Helen Peterson wrote in the article. She went on to describe how burnout affects all areas of life, writing: ‘Burnout and the behaviours and weight that accompany it aren’t, in fact, something we can cure by going on vacation. It’s not limited to workers in acutely high-stress environments. And it’s not temporary affliction: it’s the millennial condition. It’s our base temperature. It’s our background music. It’s the way things are. It’s our lives.’
If you’re burned out, these six tips should help you regain balance and improve your life.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health. Quality sleep improves your concentration, productivity and immune function, and boosts your mood.
If you’re stressed at work, don’t shed hours off your sleep – you need to make sure you get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
2. Learn To Say ‘No’
If you don’t have the time to take on an extra project or attend a social event, say ‘no’.
Overloading yourself with extra work and too many social commitments does your health no favours so be realistic about how much you can take on and learn to say ‘no’ to the things you can’t afford.
3. Take Holidays
Annual leave exists in the workplace for a reason so make sure you use your holiday time because it gives you the opportunity to break away from your hectic work life.
Whether it’s a sun-drenched holiday abroad, a relaxing staycation or a trip to nature, taking a holiday is a great way to relax, alleviate your stress levels, and recharge your batteries.
4. Schedule Time To Rest
Don’t get into the routine of work-eat-sleep-repeat. This type of lifestyle is so damaging because you’re not making time to do what you love.
Schedule ‘unmissable meetings’ with yourself – whether it’s an extra hour in bed on Sunday or evenings spent painting, watching movies, or reading.
5. Do Less And Set Boundaries
In this fast-paced digital age, with a pressure to be ‘always-on’, it’s easy to check in on work during your free time and days off.
Leave your work at the office and set strict boundaries with yourself about taking calls and responding to emails in what you’ve ‘booked’ as your relaxing time.
6. Learn To Delegate
If you know you’re taking on too much and on the destructive path to burnout, learn to delegate tasks.
Sharing your workload or collaborating with your colleagues on certain projects is much more effective and helps you reduce your stress levels.