Workplace Burnout – Unplug & Recharge

“Burnout is the result of too much energy output and not enough energy self-invested. In other words, it’s burning more fuel than you’ve put in your tank.” – Melissa Steginus, Mindfulness Teacher and Productivity Coach

According to the World Health Organisation it is an occupational phenomenon. International Classification of Diseases (11th revision) classifies it as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed, characterised by feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; feelings of negativism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

There are several causes associated with work stress, these are but not limited to:

  • inconsistent leadership
  • a poor workplace culture
  • work overload
  • economic pressures
  • job insecurity
  • underlying physical, mental, and health problems

So how can we reduce stress to prevent workplace burnout?

These situations really consume you – they are draining, and it almost feels impossible to come out of it. So, the first thing that you need to do is change your mindset. A positive mindset helps you perceive things differently. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words… your words become your behaviour… your behaviour becomes your habit…your habit becomes your values…”and “your values become your destiny.”

Here are some key things you can do right now to reduce stress:

  1. Prioritise – clarify the significant tasks from the ones you can do tomorrow. Review deadlines and juggle urgencies so that you have more time to focus on doing quality work.
  2. Simplify – find ways of “working smarter” and do not overcomplicate things. Create a clear process and stick to it.
  3. Be realistic – there will be unrealistic deadlines set at times due to lack of knowledge or situations and challenges you do not foresee that creates a roadblock. Follow due process, let the relevant stakeholders know, negotiate a new deadline and re-focus. It is not a sign of weakness to admit that something cannot be done by a certain deadline. But you do need to be transparent enough to seek assistance if the deadline is immovable.
  4. Renew yourself – “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”- Dolly Parton. Make time for sufficient rest and balanced recreation; enjoy time with your loved ones, do some exercise, read a book – but “switch off.”

Never underestimate the effect of burnouts. As Anne Lamott says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… Including you.”

Share this post