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Reduce stress at work and prevent burnout – a psychologist explains how

How did those New Year’s resolutions work out for you? Old habits will have already returned for many – you’re not alone if you’ve already stopped using that new gym membership. Similarly, you’re in good company if 2021 is already stressing you out. Stress, and more chronic exhaustion such as burnout, is commonplace within the […]

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How did those New Year’s resolutions work out for you? Old habits will have already returned for many – you’re not alone if you’ve already stopped using that new gym membership. Similarly, you’re in good company if 2021 is already stressing you out. Stress, and more chronic exhaustion such as burnout, is commonplace within the modern workplace. People are sinking under the pressure of an attendance culture that glorifies being present at work at the expense of their health. But why exactly does this happen and what can you do to prevent it?

Presenter’s cultures, which see employees working longer hours, have been linked to higher rates of burnout. This is the opposite of absenteeism. People attend work when sick, or even overwork, and it is a habit that is more common than we think. Employees feel they’re unable to challenge this culture because they see everyone else doing the same thing. People that go to work when ill or work longer hours than expected often work at less than their full capacity. Studies show this results in a decline in productivity.

One study in the Netherlands looking at a variety of jobs found that presenters may appear to be profitable for companies at first because of the reduced absence of employees. But in the long term, presenters resulted in higher levels of sickness and absenteeism later on. Other studies have found that presenters can cause a decline in productivity in the individual employee by at least one third and is more costly to the employer than its counterpart, absenteeism. It is also what makes employees sick. The World Health Organization officially classifies burnout as an “occupational phenomenon”. It is defined as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. And it is characterized by feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, negative and cynical feelings towards your job, and a decline in performance.

Starting at the top

Tackling burnout is the responsibility of both organizations and their employees. If improving your health is a priority for you, your work health plays a crucial part in this – both physically and mentally. Leaders need to lead by example. There is a trickle-down effect in leadership where subordinates copy those above them. They don’t want to appear weak and feel they need to push themselves more. If leaders start taking lunch breaks, going for a walk in the middle of the day, and leaving at a reasonable hour, that sets a good example to their team.

If you’re a manager and you see more and more presenter’s behavior, shame culture could be affecting your organization. Consider tackling this head on. Provide fruit, encourage walks outside and tell your staff to leave on time. These are just some of the small changes you can make to help create a healthier, happier workplace. If you can, get workplace wellness consultants to run workshops for you and your team.

Health starts at home

If you’re an employee, you shouldn’t expect your boss to solely be responsible for your workplace wellbeing. You also need to make changes yourself. There’s no shame in returning to those New Year’s resolutions you set back in January.

Here are some tips to relieve your stress and lower your chances of burnout:

Pick a priority.

Write down exactly what you want to happen this year. Are you looking for a career change or a promotion? Do you want to priorities your life outside of work? Once you’ve defined what you want, you can start making small changes to work towards this. Set some goals. Once you have established exactly what you would like to achieve, set some monthly objectives. Work at a pace that suits you. Achieving smaller goals can result in a dopamine boost that will increase your sense of accomplishment and motivation.

Listen to podcasts

One of the best things that you can do is learn to listen to others. You can do this by listening to podcasts from people that have achieved something amazing. This makes it possible to use other people’s experiences as a lesson on how to achieve something great yourself.

Get better sleep.

 Prioritizing rest and improving your sleep hygiene will boost your immune system. Getting disciplined about logging off electronic devices one to two hours ahead of going to sleep at night will also improve the quality of your sleep.

Read Books

Reading books is one of the best ways to relieve stress and relax your mind for a while. It will not only help you to have more control over your emotions and feelings, but it can also offer you some new perspectives on life. It will improve your grammar and vocabulary and make you more capable of expressing your thoughts Books can be brutal towards bad guys, an unreliable narrator might make you question your own sanity, or they can set you in a different time period with a life so vastly different from your own. The point is – reading can help distract your thoughts in any way you need it to, and that’s why should consider picking up a book when you’re feeling stressed.

Meditate

Most of us can’t just turn off our brains. We worry about future events in the present, which affects our mood and health, puts us into a vicious cycle. Meditation is a technique that helps you be more aware of your thoughts and emotions, so you don’t have to fight them all the time and can clear your mind.

Seek Therapy and Counseling

No matter what troubles you are facing, therapy could be the solution. Therapy is meant to help people cope by assisting in recognizing the problem and providing tools that help overcome it. This means healing isn’t just about feeling good again. It means becoming a stronger person so that you can prevent future feelings of distress from taking over.

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