Workplace burnout is real. It’s not some made-up phenomenon that happens to people with over-imaginative minds. In fact, according to a study cited in Forbes magazine, as much as 23 percent of the total workforce experience chronic burnout. Meanwhile, 44 percent share that they go through workplace burnout from time to time. These figures are staggering, enough to convince the cynics that just because you’re lucky enough to not experience it does not make it less real.
Burnout, as a term, was coined in the 70s. In May last year, the World Health Organization included burnout in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) However, that inclusion does not mean that burnout is now considered a medical condition by the WHO. It is only recognized as a legitimate occupational phenomenon.
Workplace burnout is easy to spot. If you feel depleted and exhausted at work even after only a few minutes of clocking in, chances are you have succumbed to it. Another symptom is an uncharacteristic bitterness or pessimism towards the work you used to like. Lastly, burnout may manifest as a sudden decrease in one’s efficiency at work. That is most apparent in employees who used to deliver exemplary performance at their job.
Feeling burnt out at work does not mean it’s the end of your career. There are ways for you to mitigate the problem. Here’s what we recommend.
Talk to a counselor
This ought to be the first step you undertake. If you work in a place with an in-house counselor, do not hesitate to knock on their door. Be honest with what you feel so your counselor would know what kind of help to extend.
If your workplace does not have an in-house counselor, you may talk with a coaching and counseling professional outside the office. Rest assured that these people are trained in what they do. They know the precise ways to deal with all kinds of situations relating to mental and emotional health issues.
Take time off work
Sometimes all you need is a short break from work. Maybe a four-day long weekend of staying indoors should be enough to bring back your enthusiasm for work. If you have accumulated work leaves, there’s no better time to use them than now.
Stay at home and bond with your family, significant other, or a furry companion. The goal is to take your mind off work, to recalibrate. Switch off notifications on your work e-mail and phone. Completely cut yourself off from all things job-related.
Do something fun like binge-watching shows you’ve fallen behind with. Play video games. Paint if you’re the artsy type. The key is to refresh your mind enough that when Monday comes you’ll be thrilled to go back to the office.
Go on vacation
If a short break does not cut it, maybe an overdue vacation will. Have you been checking out online pictures of the Caribbean for the past months? Maybe the source of your frustration is the fact that you have been too focused at work that you’ve forgotten that you have other needs. This is where work-life balance comes in.
Work-life balance is not just some vague concept coined by new age adherents who’d spent too many hours doing yoga in the Indian subcontinent. It’s a legitimate need of everyone, regardless of the kind of work they do.
To do well at your job, you must have a life outside it. Your life should not be your work. That’s a recipe for disaster.
So tell your boss you need a vacation. Book that ticket. And sip margarita by the sea.
Reassess your career plans
Sometimes, it comes to a point when the work you do no longer makes sense to you. And no expert coach or extended Caribbean stay can convince you otherwise. This is where you need to reassess your career plans.
If the job you’re holding on to for the sake of having a career makes you miserable, it’s time to let go. Grab the bull by the horns and have enough confidence in yourself to know that doing so won’t be the end of your professional career. Other opportunities will come your way. And if you allow yourself enough time for introspection, once these opportunities come, you will know which ones suit you best.
Your career is important. But what’s more important is your mental health. So do not prioritize the former over the latter. The ideal situation is you work a job that makes you happy and fulfilled. If that is no longer the case, follow any or all of the recommendations cited above. And if worse comes to worst, remember that you are not alone and it too shall pass.