According to the World Health Organization and International Classification of Diseases, burnout is defined as:
‘A syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterised by 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.’
Do you relate to any of this?
I do. This topic is dear to my heart because a few years ago, I was there: exhausted, disengaged, pessimistic.
I experienced many of the warning signs:
The list is so long you could wonder how come I didn’t see it coming. But I wasn’t listening to the cues at that time, I bought into the misconceived belief that listening to yourself was a selfish behaviour. Ah, but how can I serve others if I’m down & resourceless myself?
Does this ring any bells?
Late 2020, a survey of 1,000 adults in the UK suggests 22% of us have experienced job related burnout, with a slightly higher prevalence amongst men. That’s about 12 million people just for the UK!
Let’s talk about performance, now.
Burnout, which can be summarised in 3 words
👉 exhaustion + disengagement + pessimism 👈
doesn’t combine - at all - with sustained high performance. It decimates performance and the worst part of it is that, when you reach that tipping point (of burnout exhaustion), it takes a lot of time & dedication to rebuild your resources.
So here are 3 tips for avoiding burnout:
Be ruthless about recovery. Take recovery as seriously as you take your work. To avoid physical exhaustion, all roads lead to.. s-l-e-e-p. Thanks to Arianna Huffington, sleep deprivation isn’t cool anymore.
Fight disengagement with curiosity, and schedule time to do and learn about what interests you. Don’t let events just happen: if you don’t make your wellbeing a priority, you’ll end up following someone else’s priority.
Prevent pessimism by controlling your thoughts. Scientists have now looked into this and identified the best practice to nurture positive feelings is gratitude.
I covered the benefits of sequencing versus multitasking in a previous post on how to stay in focus mode. Besides unlocking focus, being fully ‘on’ also allows you to be fully ‘off’ for recovery when the time comes. No regret, no blame, no shame.
It’s very hard to allow yourself to be fully ‘off’ when you don’t feel you’ve done your job for the day. And today’s workplace doesn’t allow that naturally: we often feel we’ve got more on our plate at the end of the day than when we started.
Research shows, as we could expect, that insufficient reward is just as much of a contributor to burnout as overworking is.
Create your sense of reward by setting a few clear, specific goals for the day: make them a priority, and check them off your list. The simple action of ticking the box floods your body with dopamine, known as the feel-good hormone.
Stay safe with 🤜 energy + engagement + optimism! 🤛 The world looks better that way.