What Is Workplace Burnout And How Can You Avoid It

Workplace Burnout

Do you feel like your job is completing draining you of energy and motivation? According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), you’re not alone as the agency has now declared burnout as an ‘occupational phenomenon’, with more and more doctor visits being related to stress. The WHO defines burnout as the direct result of ‘chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’ and describes the symptoms 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
  • Reduced professional efficacy

The modern-day work environment is a high-stress zone, with demanding workloads and deadlines, so it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself so you can avoid the dreaded burnout.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Plan your day

At the end of each day, take five minutes to do a ‘brain dump’. This is setting aside five minutes to write, evaluate and plan the day ahead so you’re leaving the office work-free.

2. Change your environment

Sitting at your desk, staring at a screen full of plans, meeting notes, and presentations is your health’s worst enemy. Get up at least once an hour for a minimum of two minutes but if your stress levels are particularly high, it is recommended that you take longer – get some fresh air, go for a walk with a colleague, take an extra long trip to the kitchen. A break away from the desk is a welcome boost to your brain power and energy levels.

3. Listen to music

Listening to slow or classical music has incredibly relaxing powers, both for the body and mind. A study by scientists at Mindlab International found the following to be the most effective songs at decreasing the levels of stress hormones:

  • Marconi Union – Weightless
  • Airstream – Electra
  • DJ Shah – Mellomaniac
  • Enya – Watermark
  • Coldplay – Strawberry Swing
  • Barcelona – Please Don’t Let Go
  • All Saints – Pure Shores
  • Adele – Someone Like You
  • Mozart - Canzonetta Sull’aria
  • Café Del Mar – We Can Fly

 4. Meditate

When you feel your stress levels boiling over, take 10 to 20 minutes to engage in meditation. Taking the time to practice a regenerative activity can help you control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and achieve a greater capacity for relaxation.

5. Take a sick day

Stress accounts for roughly 60% of all lost days in the workplace so if the pressure of your workload is burning you out, take a sick day to relax and rejuvenate. If you’re feeling burned out but are ignoring your body’s cries for rest, you’ll find yourself becoming very sick – and not the kind that painkillers can fix. Do yourself, your body and your mind a favour and take a few days to rest.

6. Be in good company

Surround yourself with positive people. Working in a high-pressure environment is easier when you have colleagues that make you laugh and smile. Make real connections in your workplace and avoid as much negativity as possible.