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How to Spot Burnout, and What You Can Do About It

How to Spot Burnout, and What You Can Do About It
November 18, 2019 gnuworld

Have you ever felt so physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted that performing at your job seems like an insurmountable task? Or, perhaps you’re feeling increasingly overworked, and you’re not getting adequate support.

You could be suffering from burnout, and you’re definitely not alone.

It’s not just a buzzword. In fact, burnout has become such a common occurrence among the world’s workforce that it’s been recognised by the medical community.

Burnout, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), is an official workplace syndrome, and a legitimate diagnosis.

What the stats say about burnout

No matter how much you love your job, nobody is immune to burnout. A recent Gallup survey has shown just how prevalent it is around the world.

  • In the US, 67% of full-time employees reported feelings of burnout
  • A few years ago in Germany, an estimated 2.7-million employees felt burnt out
  • Germany has seen a spike in sick leave for work-related mental health issues

A 2017 study conducted by Stimulus also found that approximately 25% of French workers were experiencing dangerous levels of “hyperstress” in the workplace.

The state of burnout in South Africa

Here in South Africa, the situation is no different – our workforce is feeling the burn.

A recent PPS study based on a survey of 5,837 professionals found that 22% of respondents felt overworked and stressed out.

A South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) survey yielded similar results: over 40% of all work-related illness in South Africa is a result of stress, major depression, burnout and anxiety disorders.

The signs and symptoms of burnout

It’s normal to feel stressed sometimes. We all have days when our careers make us feel overwhelmed, unappreciated or cynical – but how do you know if you’re experiencing a normal level of workplace anxiety, or suffering from full-on burnout?

Managing burnout starts with knowing the symptoms:

  • feeling physically exhausted much of the time
  • a change in appetite or sleep habits
  • falling ill frequently
  • loss of motivation and drive
  • constant feelings of failure and self-doubt
  • an increasingly helpless, hopeless outlook

These serious symptoms can trigger changes in your behaviour. People suffering from burnout tend to withdraw from their responsibilities and procrastinate on work-related tasks.

Your personal life can also be affected. Extreme stress often results in severe irritability, social isolation and unhealthy coping mechanisms.

How to nip burnout in the bud

The best way to beat burnout? Prevent it from happening in the first place. Here’s how to lower your stress levels if you feel like you might be on the road to burning out.

Assess your workload

A big reason for burnout is simply being overloaded with work. Before it reaches the point of being unmanageable, speak to someone who can offer assistance.

Take up a relaxing activity

Explore options for reducing stress, like meditation, yoga, or an hour of reading before you go to sleep.

Get enough sleep

Physical exhaustion exacerbates mental and emotional exhaustion, so be sure to get your solid eight hours of quality rest.

Be kind to yourself

Your job is important to you, but don’t place unnecessary pressure on yourself. Know when and where to draw the line, because you can only handle so much.

Get support

Advice and collaboration from the people in your life can make a world of difference. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, reach out to colleagues, friends or family.

A healthy change

Sometimes being stuck in the same office and working with the same people for too long can cause burnout. Physically changing your place of work, such as making use of coworking spaces even temporarily, could make a world of difference.

At The Workspace, we offer affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking, and all our clients have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services. For more information or to book a tour of one of our branches, call us on 087 059 7777 or contact us online.

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