Many of us are familiar with the game of Jenga. At first, you confidently place the blocks on top of each other and see them build, but as the game progresses and the structure starts to weaken, the blocks seem heavier, the Jenga tower becomes unstable and ultimately, it collapses.
At times, life can feel like a game of Jenga. Tasks build and responsibilities are placed upon us. Our foundations feel shaky, we’re stressed and overwhelmed. We can crumble under the weight of it all.
In other words, we’re burnt out.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially classified burnout as a medical diagnosis, including the condition in the International Classification of Diseases: “A syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Burnout is not something to suffer through in order to succeed. It also isn’t limited to the workplace, it can affect all of us—from parents of a newborn baby to college graduates. Taking proactive steps to prevent burnout will pay dividends in the long run. Your mental and physical health will thank you.
Step 1: Recognize the Symptoms
The first step to preventing burnout is recognizing its symptoms. According to the WHO, the four symptoms of burnout are:
- Feelings of energy depletion, exhaustion, and fatigue
- Increased mental distance from your job
- Feelings of negativism or cynicism related to your job (or responsibilities)
- Reduced professional efficacy
Step 2: Practice Self-Care
Self-care comes in many forms. At a basic level, you need to ensure you’re getting enough rest, eating nutritious food, and spending some time each day moving your body. Self-care also doesn’t have to be complicated. From running a bath to booking yourself a massage each month, your self-care routine is all about what makes you feel relaxed and refreshed. Busy parents, business owners, stressed-out students, everyone needs to prioritize self-care in order to avoid burnout.
Step 3: Set Boundaries
Burnout and stress at work often go hand in hand. To add to this, the rise of remote working means many of us no longer have distinct boundaries between the office and our homes. As a result, we find ourselves working longer hours and blurring the lines between our professional and personal lives. Setting boundaries is a vital step to preventing burnout. Turn off Slack notifications after 5:30 p.m. Refrain from responding to emails until the next day. Don’t work on weekends. Small steps can make a significant impact.
Step 4: Seek Professional Help
Unfortunately, many people still feel stigmatized for seeking help from a counselor or therapist. However, speaking to a professional can dramatically improve your sense of mental well-being and equip you with the tools to prevent burnout. While many of us are privileged enough to afford a session with a therapist, there are many free tools and resources available for those who wish to receive guidance without the cost.
Step 5: Speak Up
Sharing your feelings of burnout can feel daunting, but it could be a vital step in changing your situation for the better. If you’re a business owner and an employee approaches you with symptoms of burnout, take the time to listen and support them. This could be an indicator of a larger problem within your organization. As an individual, confiding in a close friend, family member, or trusted colleague could alleviate any feelings of isolation and create a safe space for you to discuss your concerns.
Proactively addressing burnout will pay dividends in the long run. Prioritize your health and you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to.
Last modified on September 7th, 2023 at 1:29 pm
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