Back-to-back workdays, no vacation time, travel lockdowns, illness, third waves – this daily reality can become too much. Some days, it is difficult to shake off the negativity.
Moreover, with the majority of the global workforce working from home, loneliness and social isolation are added to the mix. This can lead to unprecedented levels of stress and financial anxiety, making us feel tired and out of sorts.
What is burnout?
Burnout is defined as work-related stress, a state of mental and physical exhaustion that leaves you feeling uninspired, listless, and unable to focus on any one task.
Therefore, if you have started to feel tired, worn out, and demotivated by your workplace – you might be showing signs of burnout.
As per WHO, here are some signs to look out for:
- Are you feeling depleted or exhausted?
- Are you feeling mentally distant from your job or responsibilities?
- Are you feeling highly negative about your job role and its prospects?
- Are you feeling reduced effectiveness at work?
Given the current state of isolation and loneliness that we all feel, it is common for people to stop identifying with their jobs, especially given that we are working without vacation days and sometimes at reduced salaries.
If this is you, do not worry. Act today to handle this stress! Here are some things to try –
1. Understand it
Try to ask yourself what is the root cause of your tiredness. For instance:
- Are you dissatisfied with a specific part of your work (a project, etc.)?
Or are you overwhelmed because of the pressure or volume of tasks?
These can be addressed by realigning yourself with the type of work that makes you feel more energized and secure. Speak to your manager and see if you can work out a change in responsibilities, expectations or reach a compromise.
Alternatively, if the cause of your burnout is the role itself or the company culture, it might be time to look for a change. However, before you put in your resignation, check if there is any scope for change.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you quit:
- Should you quit your job if you are burnt out?
- Is there any way to grow professionally in my current workplace?
- If I share my problem, would my superiors be open to working out a solution?
- If I cut down on my working hours, would it help me feel less stressed?
- Can I outsource some of my responsibilities to a colleague?
- Can I initiate communication for any cultural mismatch issues? Is it likely to be effective?
If answers to the above are not satisfactory, then it may be time to look for a switch. The job market is always on the lookout for talented individuals across fields – this may be the right time for you to take a stab at a new position or organization.
2. Find something beyond work
Often, we become so overwhelmed with work, that we end up thinking about pending tasks, deadlines, etc. way beyond office hours. Is this you? If so, it could be a good idea to take up a hobby or activity that you can do beyond your desk job.
You can look for opportunities to make a difference (such as volunteering for a cause you care about), learn a new skill, or join meetup groups to discuss something fun. You can even try taking up a new sport or hobby – something to help your mind switch off from work in the off-hours.
3. Foster a circle
Sharing our feelings of burnout can help ease them. Friends, family, trusted colleagues – anyone who you feel comfortable with, can share in your angst. However, remember that constantly complaining and fixating on the pain can make it seem worse. Instead, initiate conversations that are positive and focused on solutions.
Often, we do not reach out to our well-wishers for fear of judgement, but having a nurturing circle of kind friends can help break this cycle of loneliness and anxiety.
We get so caught up in what is going wrong with our professional lives, that we overlook everyday wonders that enrich our lives and make them beautiful!
Simple things such as expressing gratitude every day, exercising daily and getting 8 hours of sleep can help, allowing you to focus on all the things that are going right in your personal life.
5. Ask for help
Finally, if the stress does not abate no matter how hard you try, seeking professional advice can help. Additional support from psychotherapists can help you feel heard and help guide you through this difficult time.
Remember – your mental well-being and health are paramount. These are just some tips to help you regain your happiness at the workplace, but you can have your own ways of reaching professional joy. Hope this helped get you started!