So you have burnout, you know someone who is experiencing it, or you want to prevent it. Now what? One of the first things to address is: what puts us at risk of developing burnout in the first place?
Risk factors for burnout
Dr. Maslach identified six components of our environment that can contribute to burnout.
Burnout tends to happen when one or more of these areas is chronically out of balance with the others. The ability to identify and perhaps curtail some of these risk factors may prove beneficial in the long run.
Who gets burnout?
Anyone can get burnt out! In a study conducted by Gallup this year, 76% of employees said they had experienced burnout at some point in their professional career. A survey conducted by Monster found that 69% of individuals working from home during COVID were experiencing burnout symptoms. Given that parents are juggling kids and work, another study found that 56% of working moms and 50% of working dads were struggling to balance work-life integration. We are all susceptible to burnout!
Tips for helping burnout
You may be thinking, “Am I going to feel like this forever?”. The short answer is no! A balance of rewards, recognition, and relaxation is something we should strive for in jobs and life. We put together some suggestions and tips to help you regain balance in your life and start incorporating some daily habits that can help alleviate the feelings of burnout:
- Change up the environment in which you are working in, like rearranging your room.
- Make your tasks smaller. So instead of “work on document x” your tasks now become: open document x, read the draft, edit paragraph 1. Scratch the items off the list and celebrate those small accomplishments!
- Do something that brings you joy once daily and do it for at least 15 minutes. If this means playing your favourite instrument, sitting in your garden, blasting your favourite song and screaming along to the lyrics, or reading your favourite book. Do something where your cell phone and work are not involved.
- Set up a structure. This can mean setting up a time to check your emails and social media separately or having a routine you do each night before bed.
- Eat healthy & get your blood moving. I am not saying no ice cream, chips, or chocolate, but to be consciously aware of what you are fueling your body with. Also, a simple walk around the block to get your blood pumping could be great!
- Create a co-worker. While this may sound funny at first, it works! Find an object and make them your co-worker. Rant to them, yell at them and let them be a sounding board for your issues and ideas.
- Change up your work patterns. Take more small breaks, avoid working overtime, and if working overtime try setting more boundaries.
- Have fulfillment in multiple domains. There are multiple aspects of our life including friends, family, pets, alone time, partying, social gatherings, and sports that we can try and tap into to bring us fulfillment.
- Reminding yourself WHY you are doing what you do. Are you helping someone? Is this your passion? What do you like about what you do?
- Develop better self-understanding. This includes self-analytic techniques, counselling, or therapy.
The Burnout Blame Game
The top 5 reasons for burnout according to a recent Gallup study included:
- Unfair treatment at work
- Unmanageable workload
- Unclear communication from managers
- Lack of support from managers
- Unreasonable time pressure.
It appears these are not solely individual problems, but also a corporate issue. Indeed, there is a growing shift away from the thinking that it is an individual’s problem for being burnt out and turning the attention towards organizations. As a business and as leaders we need to help build a burnout strategy and ask better questions of why employees are experiencing burnout and how we can make work better for them. Burnout is not going to solve itself on its own, instead, we are going to have to work as a team.
If you are an individual, a leader, or a business who is experiencing burnout, want to support someone going through burnout, or be proactive, ConsciousWorks is hosting a Burnout Course. This course will provide both education and training on burnout from a specialist in behaviour change, which will go beyond the current job or situation, providing individuals with long-lasting change. It will help save time, energy, and effort and allow individuals to take back control and have satisfaction in their work and life.
Not sure if you are burnt out? Read more on the signs and symptoms of Burnout.
Ready to take steps towards recovery or prevention? Sign up for the next Burnout Course on Sept 23rd, 2020.
Burnout Course (NEW Open Enrollment)
Dr. Lisa Belanger is excited to pull from psychology, neuroscience, and behavioural medicine, in order to lead you through skills, habits, and work design that is needed to aid recovery from burnout and facilitate burnout prevention!
Sign up for the next Burnout Course on Sept 23rd, 2020.
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Maslach, Christina, and Susan E. Jackson. “The Measurement of Experienced Burnout.” Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 2, no. 2, 1981, pp. 99–113. Crossref, doi:10.1002/job.4030020205.
Maslach, Christina, and Michael P. Leiter. “Understanding the Burnout Experience: Recent Research and Its Implications for Psychiatry.” World Psychiatry, vol. 15, no. 2, 2016, pp. 103–11. Crossref, doi:10.1002/wps.20311.
“Monster Poll Results from Work in the Time of Coronavirus.” Monster, July 2020,learnmore.monster.com/poll-results-from-work-in-the-time-of-coronavirus.
“Raising Kids and Running a Household: How Working Parents Share the Load.” Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project, 30 May 2020, www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/11/04/raising-kids-and-running-a-household-how-working-parents-share-the-load.
Robinson, Bryan. “Two-Thirds Of Workers Experienced Burnout This Year: How To Reverse The Trend In 2020.” Forbes, 12 Dec. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/bryanrobinson/2019/12/08/two-thirds-of-workers-experienced-burnout-this-year-how-to-reverse-the-trend-in-2020/#4b6780857974.
Smith, Melinda, et al. “Burnout Prevention and Treatment.” Help Guide, Oct. 2019, www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm.
Wigert, By Ben. “Employee Burnout: The Biggest Myth.” Gallup.Com, 21 Aug. 2020, www.gallup.com/workplace/288539/employee-burnout-biggest-myth.aspx.