What is occupational burnout?
Burnout is the result of a prolonged period of stress which negatively affects your wellbeing. The signs and symptoms may be subtle at first, but can progressively deteriorate and become overwhelming.
- Emotions feel blunted
- Helplessness / hopelessness
- Becoming tearful
- Feeling unfulfilled
- Feeling unappreciated
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of commitment
- Uncharacteristic mistakes
- Lack of holiday planning
- Being inconsistent with work
- Muscle pains
- Tiredness / lethargy
- Sleeping problems
- Memory problems
- Lack of concentration
- Weight gain / loss
- Work-life imbalance
- High volume of work
- Lack of resources
- Feeling unsupported
- Unclear job expectations
- Feel unable to influence decisions
COVID-19 and burnout
- Experiencing sudden changes within the workplace
- Having to adapt quickly to new ways of working / new role
- Increased workload
- Caring responsibilities
- Occupational moral injury e.g. situations in which your
- personal / professional values feel compromised
All of these situations can be stressful and can lead to burnout. It is important to be aware of your wellbeing and spot any warning signs to prevent burnout from occurring.
Talk to others
Reaching out for support is crucial. Talking to friends and family can help them to understand how you are feeling and what they can do to help you. It is also important to make your manager aware as they may be able to help you, including by referral to OHS if required.
Having healthy boundaries is about knowing what your limits are and maintaining these. This is important as it can reduce your chances of becoming stressed and burnt out. Clarify what is expected of you at work with your manager and colleagues, and let them know what you are comfortable with.
It is important to switch off after work and maintain a work-life balance. Make time to practice self-care and do activities that you enjoy outside of work. When feeling burnt out, you may not be able to do as much as usual. Try to pace yourself and reward yourself for what you can do. You could try mindfulness to relax and feel more present.
To maintain a work-life balance and reduce the chances of burnout, it is essential to have breaks from work. Ensure you use your annual leave and leave work behind when you are away. Try not to check work emails when you are off and be clear if you are uncontactable.
Check in with how you are feeling each day. You could try recording your stress levels in a diary to identify any triggers. Monitoring how you feel and taking prompt action to address your difficulties and minimise stress can reduce the likelihood of becoming burnt out.
It is easy to fall into unhealthy habits to cope with stress. However, try to adopt healthy habits such as being physically active, eating regular balanced meals, maintaining a sleep routine, and reducing alcohol consumption as these can all increase psychological wellbeing.Click here to download this information (understanding occupational burnout) Click here to download this information (managing occupational burnout)