If you work in the modern world, you’re probably aware that burnout is on the rise. Thanks to our fast-paced work environments and often stressful home lives, it’s no wonder that more and more employees finding their piles of responsibilities too much to handle. But what can we do about the problem?
What is burnout?
There is no standard medical definition for burnout, but it essentially arises as a result of long-term stressful situations. Sufferers of burnout often report symptoms such as high levels of fatigue, impaired concentration levels, loss of appetite, and anxiety.
Job burnout is often linked to the following stressors: unclear job expectations, a lack of control in the workplace (such as schedule or workload), dysfunction between employees and their bosses, and a work-life imbalance. Other factors can contribute to burnout, too. For example, it’s more likely that you’ll experience burnout if you work a job that involves helping others, such as nursing, as this can take an emotional as well as physical and mental toll.
Why is it important to protect yourself against burnout?
If you experience burnout, you’ll likely find it difficult to recover without taking time off from your job. Preventing burnout is much easier than trying to cure it, so if you feel that you are starting to feel overwhelmed and dread starting a new day of work, consider taking preventative measures. To get started, you might like to implement some of the following self-care ideas in your life.
Create comfortable breakout areas in the office
If you manage your office or have an influence over how to decorate it, consider making your breakout areas extra comfortable. Having a dedicated space in which to relax and spend time away from work can do wonders for motivation, and it’ll help people to appreciate their workplace.
The importance of breaks themselves can’t be overstated, either; long hours without sufficient time to rest are a key cause of burnout. Furnish your breakout area with comfortable furniture and decorate it with relaxing imagery, and you’ll have happier, more focused staff on your hands. After all, nobody’s going to be at the top of their game after eating lunch at their desks!
All too often, sleep gets pushed aside for an extra hour or two of work. Don’t over-extend yourself – sleep needs to be a priority, as missing it regularly can cause major issues. You’ll also be able to make better decisions and focus more clearly if you’ve had a good night’s rest.
Spend time in nature
Regularly getting out into nature is an essential part of human wellbeing. Even having a plant in the house or office can lower stress levels, but to really reap the benefits, we should be spending at least several hours a week in the great outdoors (your local park counts!).
Try activities that will help you to connect to and appreciate nature, such as taking off your shoes and walking barefoot through the grass. This will help you to feel grounded and part of the natural world, and will also provide benefits to your immune system and mobility. Doing mindfulness exercises, especially in green spaces, may also help to prevent burnout.
Exercise can help us in all sorts of situations, and it’s especially good at helping to reduce our chances of burnout. Try cycling to work, going for a run on your lunch break, or making an effort to work out when you get home; endorphins are a great mood-booster, and exercising regularly will help you to be calmer and more relaxed in your daily life. Companies may like to offer fitness classes to their employees during work hours; not only will this make them less likely to experience burnout, they’ll have the chance to bond with their co-workers.
When Cloe started out in her freelance writing career, she often experienced writer’s block and lack of focus. After realising stress was the culprit, she determined to schedule several breaks within the day to relax and let her creative brain recharge. Of course, a bite or two of her favourite desserts has never hurt too!
Cloe Matheson is a creative writer based in the beautiful city of Dunedin, New Zealand. Since taking her big leap from corporate to freelancing work, she has written for sites such as Epic Adventures and collaborated with other local businesses to raise environmental awareness. Check out more of Cloe’s work here.
Images source: Pexels
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