In the lead-up to the holidays, the hustle and bustle of meeting year-end targets, navigating budget reconciliations, and the relentless pursuit of professional goals creates an environment that paves the way for the silent intruder known as burnout.
According to Australian HR Institute in their 2019-2022 workplace report, 68.5% of Australian workers reported they felt like they were burning out at work.
Identifying burnout in its early stages is crucial for maintaining a positive and healthy work environment for yourself. You won’t just avoid a dip in productivity; you will preserve your passion and dedication for what you do. By catching these initial signs, you can intervene before the situation worsens.
So… what are the signs to look out for?
If these symptoms resonate with you, you may be getting burnt out at work.
1. Constant fatigue – playing “catch up” with your energy levels
You may find yourself struggling to muster the energy to engage in tasks that were once routine. The feeling of "catching up" with your energy levels can become a relentless cycle, impacting your overall sense of vitality.
Establishing a consistent sleep routine is key. Break down your day into manageable segments, allowing for short breaks to recharge. Incorporate moments of mindfulness or relaxation, whether it's a brief walk, deep breathing exercises, or moments of quiet reflection.
2. Cynicism and a negative attitude towards work
A negative attitude towards work can manifest as a pervasive sense of disillusionment. Tasks that were once engaging may now feel burdensome, and interactions with colleagues or superiors may be tinged with scepticism. This emotional distancing can create a barrier between you and the intrinsic rewards your work once provided.
Reflect on the factors contributing to your negative outlook. You may feel like you want to quit, but that may not be the root of the issue. A change in role may not fix it and could possibly exacerbate the issue, as moving companies is a tiring and full-on experience. Engage in open communication with colleagues or supervisors to express your concerns and seek understanding. Reconnect with the purpose and impact of your work, focusing on the aspects that align with your values. Establish clear boundaries to prevent work-related stress from infiltrating your personal life.
3. Loss of motivation and enthusiasm
The erosion of motivation can feel like a loss of direction and purpose. Tasks that once sparked enthusiasm may now seem mundane. A general sense of apathy can permeate your approach to work, making it challenging to summon the drive needed to tackle professional responsibilities.
Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable milestones. Celebrate small victories to regain a sense of accomplishment. Identify tasks that align with your personal and professional interests, injecting a renewed sense of purpose. Talk to your manager about new challenges or projects that can reignite your passion and enthusiasm for your work.
4. Difficulty concentrating
Difficulty concentrating is like trying to focus amidst a constant mental fog. Distractions may feel more pronounced, and sustaining attention on tasks becomes an uphill battle. The mental strain associated with burnout can hinder your ability to maintain productivity.
Implement time management techniques to structure your workday. Triage tasks, tackling them one at a time rather than attempting to juggle multiple responsibilities simultaneously. Break down larger projects into smaller, more manageable steps to alleviate the overwhelming nature of the workload.
5. Physical symptoms
Physical symptoms, such as frequent and persistent headaches and stomachaches, can be the body's way of signalling distress. Stress-related symptoms that arise without a clear medical cause can be linked to the chronic tension and anxiousness associated with burnout.
Prioritise self-care by incorporating regular exercise, maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet, and staying hydrated. These simple lifestyle adjustments can positively impact both your physical and mental well-being. Integrate stress-reducing activities into your routine, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or engaging in hobbies that bring joy.
Navigating burnout is a personal journey, and the strategies that work best for you may vary. Regular self-check-ins, communicating with and seeking support from those around you, and being compassionate towards yourself are crucial aspects of this process.
In a study conducted by Asana, research found that 51% of employees don’t feel comfortable talking to their manager about burnout. Communication is a key part of stopping burnout in its tracks.
However, sometimes a company’s structure and culture encourage burnout. In those situations, the best course of action may be to remove yourself from that environment. If you’re stuck in a constant cycle of burnout and want to explore other opportunities, Reo Group can help. We recruit across human resources, finance & accounting, insurance, marketing & digital, technology & cyber, business services, supply chain & operations, executive, and more.