Anne-Marie Fox Consulting
What is burnout and how do you know if you are suffering?
It is a type of work-related stress. It is a “state of physical or emotional exhaustion that involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity”
Physical signs include feeling tired and drained most of the time, lowered immunity, frequently getting sick, constantly getting headaches and pains, maybe also a change in appetite and inability to sleep.
OK then, but what causes this burnout?
There are so many different possible causes, and everyone is affected differently at different times, but mainly it really comes down to some of the following points
· Lack of control over your job, inability to influence decision that directly affect you (ie your work schedules, assignments, workload etc)…
· Unclear job expectations…
· Unhealthy workplace dynamics
· Extremes of activity, unrealistic deadlines…
· No social support
· Work-life imbalance
What are your OPTIONS when this happens? You are now in a cycle where you are in a stage of burnout and your work is suffering which will lead to further stress…..
You need to focus on getting yourself BETTER
From a personal self-care side there are a number of areas you can start working on straight away; they might seem simple, but once you start really deciding to do them, you will notice a huge difference
Breath – Take a break when you need it, this might be in the office or when you are at home. Stop what you are doing, breath; breath; breath. A lovely exercise I recommend here is Box Breathing (Breathe in through your nose while counting to 4 slowly, feel the air enter your lungs; hold your breath while counting to 4, exhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and then repeat. Repeat for about 4 mins and you will start to relax and feel calm). Would love to hear how this works for you so do let me know
Exercise – Go for a run or a jog. Even if you are not someone who has exercised much go for a walk. Exercise produce endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers, also helping with sleep which in turn reduces stress. Taking a quick walk during your lunch might be a way to start.
Say NO – Set boundaries for yourself, again this can be useful in your personal life as well as your work life. Set clear boundaries for yourself. Some examples could include having clear working hours, switching off your emails when you leave the office, leaving the office on time, removing yourself from any toxic conversations. Whatever boundaries you feel work for you, make sure you set them. I have even found that by WRITING down these boundaries in a journal will help you stick to them.
Overthink much? – This is a very common cause of burnout and is caused by self-doubt and self esteem issues. It really makes it harder to enjoy your work and your day to day life. Simple steps again to overcome it; Just LET IT GO, think about it give it 10 seconds and then just let it go. I know it may be easier said than done, it comes with practise, so do try it. Focus on something else.
Journaling and gratitude – By writing down what you are grateful for, you give yourself a positive target. You will start feeling better, less stress. Gratitude puts everything into perspective and helps bring a balance to you. It plays a major role in reducing stress.
As an EMPLOYER you need to look at your employees and work with them on their SELF-CARE and how you can be more supportive.
The main factors in having a stress-free work environment that you should be mindful of are
· Appreciation for your work
· Good relationship with your colleagues
· Good work-life balance
· Good relationships with your superiors
· Learning and development
· Job security
What can you do if you are an employer?
Communication – I have heard time and time again with everyone I have worked with that Communication is one of the biggest issues in organisations. Supportive managers and leaders who communicate with their team have a more positive outcome. Communication is not just talking it is listening also. This is where the biggest emphasis on any team should be.
Permission – Employers need to have an understanding that there is permission (acceptance) to take time. Whether it is to take an uninterrupted lunch break or go for a walk to clear their head; rather than thinking that they have “too much to do”
Culture – Employers need to have an understanding that all staff are different and have different needs. It is up to the employers to CREATE a working environment that is inclusive to all these different needs, supporting flexible working, adjusting hours, holidays, development and mentoring plans
Trust – essential in any workplace along with excellent communication is TRUST. By allowing staff to work how they want to work does require a huge amount of trust. When this is implemented it can radically impact positively on a company’s success. When employees feel the trust they contribute more, they have a desire to perform better.
It really is as much about the business creating the space for the employee as it is for the employee to look after their own self-care.
Anne-Marie Fox Consulting