Burnout is on the rise and it’s felt by many workers in today’s workforce. Michelle was invited by New Idea Magazine to contribute her thoughts in this article, on ways to avoid burnout at work.
In the face of shrinking job stability, mounting workloads, fewer resources to complete work and less work life balance, it’s little wonder that burnout is on the rise at work. And it’s a real thing! In May 2019, the World Health Organisation officially classified burnout as a recognised illness. Knowing the warning signs and putting in place practices to prevent it taking hold is, therefore, critical. Here’s how, according to leadership and career expert Michelle Gibbings.
Step one – start noticing
Firstly, be alert to the warning signs of burnout. This can include: feeling ineffective and increasingly negative, having reduced energy; motivation and efficiency, and being more frustrated and irritable. You may feel as though you are working hard and yet accomplishing less. At this poi n t, you may also find yourself drinking too much, eating badly; and relying on substances and other unhealthy mechanisms to get you through your day. These practices will only exacerbate the problem. Once you’ve noticed, the next step is to take action.
Step two – take deliberate action
Get intentional about how you spend your time and energy, and recognise the choices you have about your day – wallow i n it or find a way to move through it. Everyone likes to see they are making progress – we find it motivating. Whereas, a lack of progress and constant setbacks are demotivating. Consequently, find ways to break your work into smaller, more bite-size pieces of work so it is easier to see regular progress. Regularly take breaks during the day and, when you can, set aside time to go outside your office or work environment and walk. The key is to get away from your desk and shift your environment. When you shift you r environment, you shift your state and that can help to reset your mindset and get a fresh perspective.
Step three – Say ‘no’ more often
Be upfront with your boss about your workload and what’s manageable. It can be very easy to say ‘yes’ when a request comes in, and yet, there will be times when you need to say ‘no’. It helps to set realistic boundaries about what you will and won’t do. If you don’t set boundaries that you are OK with, you’ll ultimately end up resenting the other person.
Step four – Build healthy habits
Build regular routines that are healthy and support you to be your best. Get physical – exercise and moving helps to shift your state, releasing the brain’s happy chemical. Get enough sleep, eat well and meditate – all of which impacts your mood and ability to cope. Find a furry friend – patting a dog or watching a dog run around the park can help, as it’s proven to help de-stress. Breathe – remember to slow down and when you reflect on what you have it’s breathe. Finally, practice gratitude – easier to realise that bad days are often temporary, and you have so much to be thankful for.
Step five – Stay connected
Research shows employees who have best friends at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their job. When you have connections at work, you have you have trusted friends you can come to for advice.