Cybill Juarez takes on Mental Health being the New Pandemic? Here’s How to Transform Burnout Into Fulfilment
Every day seems like a bad day.
Putting your two cents in at work or home life drains your energy.
You feel exhausted all the time and experience headaches or stomach aches more often than usual.
Are you on the road to burnout? Is the pandemic pushing mental health over to its tipping point?
In this article, we’ll look at some research, understand how burnout develops, and discuss ways to tap into your inner strength and bounce back from burnout!
What Is Burnout Anyway
Caused by prolonged, recurring stress, burnout is a state of extreme physical, emotional, or mental fatigue. The World Health Organization refers to burnout as a developmental process that is characterized by:
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
- depersonalization or increased mental distance from one’s job (or work-related cynicism); and
- reduced personal achievements or professional efficacy.
Beyond Burnout: Understanding the Why
Burnout often stems from overwhelming stress and responsibilities at work or home. Whether you’re a working-from-home parent who tends to kids and house chores or a hardworking office manager who hasn’t had a vacation in years, anyone who feels overworked and unappreciated is at risk for burnout.
A 2018 Gallup survey sums up the top five causes of burnout:
- Unfair treatment at work
- Unmanageable workload
- Lack of role clarity
- Lack of communication and support from peers / leaders
- Unreasonable time pressure
The Ugly Truth About Burnout
Along with the rise of economic insecurity amid the pandemic, millions of global workforce are forced into a remote setup or pseudo office. Both employers and employees scour the internet for the perfect recipe for work-life balance.
Yet, burnout is still rampant, especially after several on-and-off periods of isolation and social distancing. It’s about time to face these facts:
- Nearly 60% of leaders showed symptoms of burnout, stating they feel used up at the end of the workday. (2021 Global Leadership Forecast)
- 69% of remote staff experienced work burnout on a regular basis. (2020 Monster Survey)
- More than 55% of U.S. employees noted significant workplace stress, putting them at a higher risk for burnout compared with other developed countries that promote work-life balance. (2019 Gallup Survey)
This Is a Billion-Dollar Problem
High attrition rate, increased sick leaves, and decreased productivity are just some of the burnout-related factors that hurt an organization’s bottom line. For individuals, burnout means compromising their health and wellness. As statistics show:
- 46% of companies said that burnout accounts for employee turnover. (2017 SHRM Infographic)
- 63% of workers who experienced burnout are more likely to take a sick day, and 23% of them are more likely to visit the emergency room. (2018 Gallup survey)
- 13% of employees who always experience burnout feel less confident about their performance. (2018 Gallup survey)
Are You on the Road to Burnout? Recognize Its Signs and Symptoms
For someone who experiences burnout, what used to be an enjoyable task can suddenly become a dreadful one. If you constantly feel exasperated at work and unsatisfied with most of what you do, you might be showing signs of burnout. Other common red flags include:
- Mental exhaustion from growing cynicism about work and negative self talks
- Physical fatigue due to change in appetite, lack of sleep, and frequent illnesses
- Other physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations
- Emotional distress ranging from loss of motivation and sense of fulfillment to feeling helpless and stuck
Transforming Burnout Into Fulfilment by Carving a New Path
One cannot simply ignore the downward spiral impact of burnout on individual and organizational performance. While burnout prevention rests on the shoulders of employers, research suggests that the best person to help you recover from exhaustion is yourself.
Recovering from burnout may seem like a herculean task. But with the right approach, bouncing back might be easier than you think.
Back to basics: Re-evaluate your daily routine and habits. This means nourishing your mind and body and feeding your energy.
- Do you exercise regularly? Not only does exercise help reduce stress, but it also improves your overall well-being and quality of life.
- Do you have a well-balanced diet? When you’re too busy making a living, it’s easy to ignore your basic needs like making healthier food choices.
- Are you getting enough sleep? You know it’s time to get rid of those dark circles if you can’t even remember the last time you ever had an uninterrupted 7-8 hours sleep.
Make time for “Me time!” Because exhaustion happens as a slow burn and recovering from burnout doesn’t happen overnight, it’s important to develop a self-care plan.
Your self-care plan is a multifaceted, purposeful strategy that promotes work-life balance and builds resilience from stressors
- Set work-life boundaries and pause your notifications. Always ON? Manage healthy boundaries in the digital age and don’t hesitate to set your status as “away” or “inactive.”
Drop checking work emails on your rest days. And take the holidays off to relax, destress, and come back to work feeling re-energized.
“Working from home can blur the lines between where your work life and family life start and end. Setting limits may be perceived as hindrances or a form of indifference. But lines must be drawn if you want to be able to keep doing your best at work and honoring yourself enough NOT to risk burnout.
While burnout usually stems from feeling overworked and undervalued at job, people who are overwhelmed with time and financial pressure at home also experience exhaustion. Signs of burnout include cynicism about work or home situation and feeling emotionally drained and mentally checked out.
Burnout can leave you high and dry as the stress continues, and it can spill over every aspect of your life — from work, home, to social life. It even makes you vulnerable to physical illnesses, such as respiratory and gastrointestinal issues, if the mental or emotional exhaustion is left undealt with.
Despite how massive burnout is, it’s never too late to fix it! It’s important to take the proactive approach to combat burnout by:
- re-evaluating your daily routine and habits;
- developing a self-care plan; and
- setting healthy boundaries.
Don’t let burnout trump your goals and achievements. You have so much more to give.
How soon should you address the issue? Now is the best time to replace “burnout” with purpose and fulfillment. Don’t delay it any further.