It has officially been recognised as a medical condition, but how can you manage burn out?
For a long time burn out was one of those things we just accepted as a way of life, but recently the World Health Organisation has officially recognised it as a medical condition. So what are the ways to manage burn out?
While at the World Health Assembly, WHO defined burn-out as ‘a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.’
“Burn-out is a psychological, emotional and physical state that we can find ourselves in when we have been exposed to chronic long term stress,” Dr Vanessa Moulton, chartered psychologist at Mindflex, explains. “Exposure to ongoing stressors and our interpretations of them can result in sheer exhaustion and an inability to continue as we have been.”
So, now that we know what burn out is, how can we manage it?
Manage unrealistic expectations of yourself
Do you put yourself under too much pressure to do it all in the workplace? The need to be always on, with constant ways to be in contact with your employers, can add extra stress to already difficult jobs. If you find yourself constantly falling short of expectations or working overtime and weekends to achieve your goals it’s time to have a look at your patterns. Whose expectations are you struggling to meet? If they’re your own maybe they need to be readjusted. If they’re your employers, spend a few weeks keeping a diary of how you work and what can be reasonable achieved and then speak to your boss. They may not even even realise you’re stuggling.
Practise self-care and compassion
Self care is hugely important, and the only one who can manage to look after yourself is you. It doesn’t need to be expensive spa days and weekends away. Self care can be making it to your favourite class, finding time to spend time in the bath with your favourite book, or meeting your best friend for a glass of wine. It’s simply a matter of prioritising your needs and making sure you don’t neglect yourself.
Be assertive with yourself. Learn to attend both to your own needs and the needs of your work
Bringing the expectations and the idea of self care together, being assertive with yourself is important. Would you let a junior member of your team deal with the same pressures you’re putting on yourself? Is the answer is no then now is the time to learn how to attend to your own needs. Managing your personal life and your work life is a delicate balance but it’s important that one doesn’t take up more time than the other. By being strict with yourself you’ll avoid falling back into old habits and working too much.
Ensure you get downtime and time to disconnect with the pressures of work
And actually take the downtime! Don’t check emails, don’t check in with the office, take your holiday days. And use them. To be very blunt, if you were knocked down by a bus tomorrow what would your employers do? They would figure it out. Which means that when you go on holiday, things will be figured out. Nothing is more important than downtime so make sure you try to completely disconnect when not in the office.
Read more: 10 tips to improve your office health