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Burnout Strategies to Help Workers Reset
Burnout is a hot topic, gripping headlines and dominating conversations of workers and executives of companies both large and small. Daily, workers across industries work hard to meet the growing demands of their jobs and the expectations of stakeholders also working hard to navigate their lives. These demands coupled with lack of meaningful mental health strategies have caused another crisis in corporate America: burnout, an all-too-common reality in American workplaces.
What Is Burnout?
Burnout can manifest differently in each person, but the clinical definition, as explained by Dr. Ruth Nutting, evolvedMD’s Director of Clinical Programs, is “one or more symptoms of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and/or a decreased of personal accomplishment.” Even if burnout isn’t a medical diagnosis, it’s all too real, and organizations will face unfortunate consequences if it goes unchecked.
Why Are Workers Burning Out?
According to Gallup’s recent Employee Burnout report, 76% of employees experience burnout on the job at least sometimes, and 28% experience burnout “very often” or “always.” While symptoms can present differently, there are several common factors contributing to burnout. Ben Wigert, who directs workplace-management research for Gallup, says unfair treatment at work, unmanageable workloads, unclear communication, lack of manager support, and unreasonable time pressure are the top factors contributing to employee burnout. So, what can employees and organizations do to effectively address burnout?
As experts on the subject, evolvedMD is positioned to help workers and leadership teams navigate burnout in the workplace.
Strategies for Recovering from Burnout
- Grant Yourself Permission to Be Imperfect
Employees want to do everything they can to prove to their worth, but dwelling on even the slightest mistakes will zap their energy and lead to burnout. Practice self-compassion, embrace imperfections, and adopt a learning mindset instead. By letting go of rigid expectations and focusing on growing skillsets, employees will cease the need to beat themselves up and focus on becoming the best they can be.
- Leave Work at Work
Striking a work-life balance is one of the best things an employee can do to address and prevent burnout. Whether you have a nine-to-five or work a varied schedule, your shift is over when it’s over. That means saving whatever task(s) you didn’t finish today for tomorrow. It also means not obsessing over your calendar and ruminating on upcoming meetings. Focus on being in the present, whether it’s watching a movie at home or nurturing one of your hobbies.
- Disconnect and Limit Media Intake
Too much technology and social media exposure can overwhelm the senses. Whether you’re at work or off the clock, take minibreaks throughout the day to reset your eyes and reset your brain. The easiest way to do this is to leave your phone at your desk and go outside for a short walk. Outside of work, you can read a book, tend to your garden, or cook a meal.
- Nurture Positive Relationships
Having a solid support system enhances our lives in many ways. Lean into your friends and family by scheduling a lunch date, a day at the park, or a phone conversation. Distracting yourself by spending time with those who care about you can help you recharge and reset.
- Replace Negative Self-Talk with Positive Self-Talk
Constantly imagining the worst-case scenario or filtering out the positive from the day will only drain your energy and impact your mood. Flip your negative thinking patterns by practicing positive self-talk. This can look like keeping a gratitude journal or setting aside time to reflect on the positive moments from your day over a cup of tea. You can also try asking yourself, “Would I talk to my best friend, boss, or colleague like this?” Viewing from this perspective can help you change your mindset into a more positive one.
- Engage in Wellness Activities Challenges
We’ve mentioned a handful of wellness activities that can easily be turned into a friendly competition with yourself or with your colleagues. For example, going on walks can be turned into a 10,000-steps-per-day challenge. You can also challenge yourself to attend a weekly yoga class or sign up for a casual sports league.
- Practice Self-Care
It’s more important now than ever to carve out time for self-care. The best part is, there is a near infinite number of self-care activities at your disposal: hike in nature, sleep in on the weekend, plan a dream vacation—just as long as you’re focusing on activities that will nurture your health and well-being.
- Go See Your Primary Care Provider and/or Licensed Mental Health Professional
While burnout isn’t a medical diagnosis, it can amplify and further complicate issues such as depression, anxiety, and many other health problems. If you’re feeling sick or need to talk to someone, schedule an appointment to see your primary care provider, therapist, or psychiatrist. The primary care practice you visit may integrate behavioral health services into their program, giving you a chance to see your doctor and a licensed mental health professional in the same building.
Strategies for Leadership Teams to Fight Burnout
- Commit to Mental Health and Well-Being
With 40% of American workers feeling employers don’t support their mental health, leadership teams must set the tone and commit to cultivating a healthier work environment. Creating a workplace that values employees’ happiness and well-being will not only prevent burnout but also reduce attrition rates. For starters, leaders can build psychological safety among their teams by asking thoughtful questions such as "What's one thing you need from me that will enable you to be successful?" and "What's one thing I need to know about you that will improve our relationship?"
- Shift to a People-Centric Culture
Putting people first means nurturing both your employees and your customers. In other words, taking good care of your employees is good for business. Supporting them personally and professionally will keep employees health, happy, and more satisfied in their roles.
- Foster Better Communication
Thoughtful and crystal-clear communications will demonstrate that your company is serious about mental health. Hold monthly town hall meetings featuring a wellness section, share company-wide video messages from the leadership team sharing self-care tips, or regularly link to wellness articles on your company’s messaging platform. Be present and listen to employee so you can better anticipate their needs and incorporate them into your communications strategy.
- Promote Work-Life Balance
Leadership teams must recognize and champion work-life balance by giving employees the time and space to practice self-care, spend time with family, and pursue interests outside of work. Members of leadership should also model what this looks like, such as logging off at 5 pm and leaving their laptops at work.
- Prioritize Workplace Wellness
Actions always speak louder than words. Leadership teams can prioritize workplace wellness by creating an employee-led wellness committee, investing in technology that focuses on self-care and wellness, providing EAP benefits, and much more.
As a people-centric organization that continuously invests in a culture recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal, we hope these tips and strategies help you to better navigate burnout.
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