5 tips to avoid work-related burnout
Everyday life during work contains many stress factors, such as deadline pressure, constant availability or demanding clients. The consequence: burnout. In the last decade alone the number of illnesses has increased threefold.
In the following article we’ll discuss what burnout is, how to recognise it and tips that you can follow to prevent burnout.
Burnout - What is it?
Burnout is caused by chronic, uncontrollable stress during work. Burnout can be accompanied by depression and therefore the psychologist's diagnosis is a stress-related overload disorder, depression, anxiety disorder or similar. It is a complex range of different diseases and symptoms that are related and arise due to overwork.
There are different triggers that can lead to work related burnout, such as a new boss, a new team, a new job, fear of losing your job, a bad working atmosphere or unclear expectations or distribution of tasks.
Symptoms of early burnout can be:
- Powerlessness and fatigue
- Constant irritation
- Twitching nerves
- Increased mental distance from the workplace
- Negative feelings about work
A burnout is an often unnoticed process that develops over a longer period of time.
5 simple tips to avoid burnout
In order to avoid burnout, consider making some changes in both your private and professional lives and in yourself. Only through changes and patience will you be able to restore the balance back to your normal.
If you want to be proactive about preventing burnout, follow some of these simple tips.
- Structure everyday working life
Tasks can quickly pile up, whether due to spontaneous, unforeseen deadlines or too many meetings back-to-back. In order to prevent this from becoming an everyday occurrence, you need to start setting limits or booking out time in your calendar for you to get on with whatever is needing done next.
Learn to say "no" here and there where appropriate. It’s not healthy to always work overtime long-term or add more to an ever-growing to-do list.
- Time management is the be-all and end-all
One way to avoid burnout is well thought-out time management. You can use the Eisenhower principle to help you: create an overview of your tasks per week and divide them into different categories. Think about how much time the individual tasks will take up and create a realistic schedule. Check the list regularly and tick off each completed project. You will notice after each check mark motivation increases a little more.
There are also many apps that can help you to optimise your time management, such as Trello, Monday.com, Microsoft Planner and more.
- Take short breaks
Take time to give your body breaks. Working for several hours at a time quickly leads to a dip in performance. So make sure you take regular 10-15 minute breaks. Get up from your desk, stretch your body or get a coffee.
Short relaxation exercises also bring new energy. This includes deep breathing, for example. Close your eyes. Breathe in deeply through your nose and feel your abdominal wall slowly bulging. Then breathe out slowly through the mouth and watch your abdomen flatten again.
- Separate private and professional life
Nowadays, with the increase in remote working it’s almost taken for granted that managers, and specialists, can be reached by phone or e-mail during their free time. The consequence: they can hardly switch off and risk burnout.
If it is unavoidable that you need to be available outside office hours, you should set aside certain times. Then switch off your mobile phone or close your e-mail apps. Many apps now include ‘do not disturb’ modes in which you can set the time period during which you do not want to receive notifications.
- Sleep and exercise
Regular and sufficient sleep is important for people to be physically and mentally fit. Maintaining a regular sleep rhythm that the body can get used to is great for you, getting into a daily routine helps you achieve this.
Sufficient exercise also helps to reduce stress and makes the brain release happiness hormones called endorphins. Build exercise into your daily routine: leave your car and cycle to work, use the stairs instead of the lift or take a walk on your lunch break. It doesn’t always have to be a HIIT session, a change of scenery can do your mind the world of good.
How can HR professionals support their employees?
For companies, the question is how to deal with increased absenteeism and increasingly stressed-out employees. In addition to workplace health promotion measures, offers such as a company social counselling service or an external employee counselling service can provide support to employees. As dealing with these issues is often very personal, individual assistance is particularly effective.
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