Feeling burnout can be different for many people including signs of exhaustion and stress. You may feel no motivation at work and can feel overwhelmed right now. The first step is to realise that this is a normal feeling and you shouldn’t suppress it, your mind and body are sending you messages asking you to slow down and stop. We need to listen to these messages because they serve as indicators for our overall well-being.
The World Health Organization classifies burnout as an “occupational phenomenon”, not a medical condition. The WHO has characterised burnout in the following three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy. As the pandemic took hold around the world last year, more and more workers are feeling this no matter what level you are in the organisation.
Take that break, now.
If you are feeling burnout, slow down immediately and find that spot that you can mentally rest and reset. Speak with your manager and take some time off from work, this is critical because you need to lock in that time off early before it’s too late. Your manager should be accommodating to this and support you with your decision for the time off. You can use this break to reflect on how you are feeling about your job and what is the root cause of the burnout. It’s a great time to think about options such as changing things in your current role, exploring transfers within the same company, finding a new profession that is more fulfilling or just taking a break from work until you are ready to go back.
It’s important to talk with others
Speak to someone who you are close with, it could be a family member or a friend. Tell them how you are feeling and ask for their perspective on the situation. It’s always good to see another viewpoint so you can use this as part of your decision process. Your workplace may also offer confidential assistance through a third-party which you may also want to utilise.
Find a mentor
There are so many benefits in having a mentor including having someone to guide you through this tough time. Many experienced executives have experienced some form of burnout during their career and they will have some excellent advice to help you. It is also a good time to speak to your mentor about your work and the options you have in front of you, they can help you evaluate all your options. Mentors shouldn’t just be seen as helping with career guidance, they should be helping you through the most difficult times in your life.
Develop insight through mindfulness
You may wake up in the morning with anxious feelings about the day ahead at work. Go for a walk and focus on the simple act of walking, and give yourself some space by focusing on your breath. You may also want to do a short meditation in bed as you wake up, this could be for a few minutes until you are ready to get up. Find something that will allow you to focus on the activity at hand so you don’t have uncontrollable thoughts in your head that causes your anxiety. You can also download an app that can help with breathing exercises. As you build your mindfulness practice, you will feel much more balanced and calm, this will give you the insight you need for managing your burnout.