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Burnout occurs when a person feels the demands of a job goes beyond their ability to cope long-term. Though some stress is normal and even helpful, when it becomes chronic we can experience burnout. As a result, our physical and mental health can suffer. Whether the cause is due to work related factors or external to your job, here is how to avoid burnout: 

Recognise the signs

The best way to avoid burnout is to recognise the signs and make positive changes before it gets worse. Common warning signs include:

  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Change in appetite or sleeping habits
  • Feelings of dread, self doubt, detachment, pessimism and frustration
  • Withdrawing or self-medicating

Ask for support at work

It’s important to seek support wherever you can in your job. This could be about:

Information

A query on a topic (such as job role, setbacks, flexibility, time management) from a supervisor, database etc.

Resources

Ample staff, funding, tools etc. to complete work

Mental Health

Work counselling services, coworker support etc.

Improve how you work

Self-reflection

  • Re-assess your work goals, skills and passions
  • Make sure to stay focused on your own tasks and outcomes
  • Check-in with yourself while working by recognising how you feel and taking small breaks.

Time management

  • Begin the work day by planning for the day’s tasks and events
  • Minimise distractions (for example, keeping your personal phone out of reach)
  • Learn to say ‘no’ to requests outside of your job description
  • Set aside a realistic length of time for completing core tasks
  • Delegate tasks to others where needed

Assertive communication and problem solving

  • Manage conflict in a positive way rather than avoiding individuals or tasks
  • Express your needs and opinions clearly and respectfully
  • Be aware of the priorities of colleagues and work towards like minded goals
  • Accept compromise when it is feasible and appropriate to do so

 

Practise self-care

Sleep

Those aged between 18-64 should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Some tips for a good nights sleep include:

  • Waking at the same time each day and exposing yourself to sunlight
  • Regularly exercising (at least two hours before bedtime)
  • Adjusting light sources to red after sunset

Mindfulness

Being more mindful can help you to regulate your emotions and become more self aware. We have previously touched on how to start practising this skill, both here and here.

Movement

Moving your body produces serotonin and endorphins in your brain, which can improve your mood and decrease your levels of stress, depression and anxiety.

Coping tools

This is anything that grounds you and makes things seem more manageable. For example, keeping your living space clean, making or listening to music, or spending time in nature.

Support System

Getting enough quality time with friends and family is so important for our mental health. However, it can be hard to do so or really enjoy yourself when experiencing burnout.

 

If you feel that your stress is getting too much, a psychologist may be able to help. Psychologists are highly trained and qualified professionals skilled in helping people with a range of mental health concerns, including stress in the workplace. A psychologist can help you manage your stress using techniques based on the best available research.

Book an appointment with one of our psychologists or visit our clinic and wellbeing store in Bulimba.