There’s talk of burnout everywhere, it doesn’t discriminate, and no-one is immune. With lockdown fatigue hitting hard, there is a very real risk of burnout spreading fast.
As someone who has been there and got that particular t-shirt in glorified technicolour, I’m keen to try and prevent the seemingly inevitable. I even wrote a book about it!
So, what is the answer to burnout?
What is burnout?
Burnout is a term used frequently and can range from people feeling persistent tiredness, right through to full-on, debilitating, life-changing illness. If you’re anywhere on that spectrum, or at risk of jumping on it, there is no better time to take action.
Whether you fit the exact definition of burnout doesn’t really matter. If you’re tired all the time, overwhelmed, can’t think straight, and don’t know where to turn next, you know you need something to be different.
In 2019, the World Health Organisation recognised burnout as a workplace-related syndrome, suggesting fatigue, reduced effectiveness, and feeling distanced from your job as the main symptoms.
In my experience, the potential list of symptoms is a lot longer – stress, overwhelm, brain fog, extreme fatigue, loss of motivation and zest for life, even physical pain, to name but a few.
And it’s not just about the workplace. Stress happens in any area of life, and I see stress as the underlying driver to burnout.
What causes burnout?
That’s a really complex question to answer, and it will look different for every person. But, what I can say with certainty, is that it is a product of our environment, lifestyle, and how we respond to it – and that long-term stress is a critical component. Once it takes hold, it can lead to very physical symptoms and illnesses.
And therefore, to address it, we have to go back to the root cause of the problem by taking a look at:
- Stress – what stressors do we have in our life, and how are we responding to them?
- Environment – does our environment help us to thrive or is beating us down every day?
- Lifestyle – where does health, wellbeing, and resilience feature on our list of lifestyle priorities?
How to tackle burnout, or the risk of it?
In theory, tackling burnout is relatively straightforward. In reality, it can be really hard. Motivation is low when persistent tiredness has set in, and tackling burnout does require self-reflection and change. And therefore, having the right support in place is crucial.
The steps to take should always include:
- Understanding the root cause of your burnout – it’s critical to get to the bottom of what’s causing your symptoms and consider ways to address them
- Knowing what you want in life, and why – getting really clear on the things most important to you, and why, is a key part of the journey
- Determining what needs to change – inevitably something needs to change, and getting clear on what that looks like is really empowering
- Building resilience and wellness – the critical foundations to managing stress and bouncing back quicker and better from challenging times
- Focusing on joy and the positive – a mindful approach to all the moments of joy already around us can feel liberating
I’m making this deliberately simplistic because the answer to burnout is actually quite simple. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to do – having been there myself, I know that only too well.
And that’s why having the right support and tools in place is really important if you want to break the cycle, and so here’s how you might be able to take that next step.
Have it all without burning out
If you enjoy reading and want an easy, practical guide to help you design a life where you can have it all without burning out, then my bestselling book might just be the ticket.
The Resilience Formula
If your preference is for something more interactive, then I’ve taken all of my materials on understanding stress and building resilience into a power-packed 12-module online programme.
It’s in bite-size chunks to keep it manageable and helps you to write your very own resilience formula. Find out more here.
Featured image credit: Neil Thomas, via Unsplash