BURNOUT, BURNOUT EVERYWHERE!
Sometimes it feels like everyone I know is hitting a wall simultaneously. I am beginning to think we're all hitting walls, trying to burst through them over and over again. Burnout feels insurmountable at times, but simple pivots will radically change your perspective over time. Let's dive into some practical ways to shift our perspective and implement healthy self-care tactics for a better future.
The first step toward change begins with clarification. There is a plethora of avoidable tension, and most of it comes from misaligned or unknown expectations. Communication of personal expectations with corporate expectations will alleviate stress surrounding unknowns. Clarity and transparency ground conversations and remove hidden agendas. However, such clarity cannot be a one-way street, and win-win situations will only develop from a healthy dialogue.
Start by asking a question of yourself. Ask yourself, "Is the ideal of how I work defined by the values and beliefs that I have for how the ideal workplace looks?" Understanding the expectations you bring to work opens the door to realizing that others have values and beliefs that may look different. Their ideal work environment may be different from yours. Putting the finger at someone or something else won't solve the problem. Clarifying expectations and fostering environments founded on understanding will create the necessary conversations for tangible change.
RECOGNIZE YOUR WARNING SIGNS
Similarly, it's essential to recognize the warning signs in yourself and the people around you as burnout beings seeping into the workplace and beyond. Generally speaking, leaders feeling overwhelmed, experiencing burnout, or dealing with heightened levels of anxiety may exhibit these qualities:
Easily Flustered by Unexpected Obstacles
Become More Sarcastic or Direct
Less Tolerant & Oversensitive to Surprising Situations
Burnout leads to anxiety, and often that anxiety acts as gasoline for the fires of burnout. The cycle continues, and overwhelming feelings paralyze movement. Catching these signs, among others, allows you to move quickly, form healthy habits, and analyze patterns that may contribute to anxiety. Self-awareness will provide new opportunities for work-life balance. Recognizing your warning signs creates space for you to focus on your locus of control. Paying attention to the warning signs of others helps you support them toward their best selves. Sometimes it takes a village, but healthy action is possible.
FIND THE NEXT HEALTHY STEP
While the first two steps seem rather abstract, taking back the narrative in our minds can critically shift the pressure we experience. However, this step requires a little more practical action. Slow down. Take stock of your current state. Take the time to refill your well. Do something healthy that brings you joy. One helpful way to look at this would be to try activities that engage you in different areas than your job normally would.
For instance, if you sit at a desk all day, you may want to get outside, explore nature, work with your hands, or find something that switches up the daily feelings of monotony. On the other hand, if you work in a labor-intensive environment, finding ways to rest your body, heal your mind, and recharge may provide a healthy dissonance from your usual routine.
In truth, the next healthy step will look different for different people. What's important is to find the areas of your life that bring your joy. Burnout seeks to siphon those areas out of our lives, so it's essential to make a conscious effort toward investing time in those fruitful areas.