How to avoid burnout at work - Business Works
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How to avoid burnout at work

by Ciara McGrath, Head of HR, Instant Offices One in four of us feels under pressure at work on a daily basis. Sometimes this burnout causes low self-esteem, anxiety and even physical symptoms like feeling 'fluish', IBS flare ups and headaches. With so many people feeling like they are on the verge of exhaustion, Ciara McGrath, Head of HR at Instant Offices, highlights the most common signs of burnout:

Over-engagement is a symptom of high stress levels. Waking up in the middle of the night, over thinking about a deadline is an example of over engagement.

Stress normally demonstrates a sense of urgency, often resulting in hyperactivity. Anyone facing everlasting deadlines knows the feeling. Burnout, however, is characterised by feeling hopeless and having no solutions.

avoiding burnout at work Blunted emotions
When under stress, you may find that your emotions are inflated and hard to keep track of. You may become angry easier than usual as you are a lot more sensitive. Blunted emotions are a symptom of exhaustion. You may feel that you do not have the energy to react emotionally to situations.

If you can identify with the above then here's what you can do to address and help yourself:

Acknowledge your problems
When one problem manifests, it's easy to ignore or modulate other issues in your life that may be contributing to feeling exhausted. Make a list of all things that concern you every day. Include the things that you feel powerless and then number them 1-10 on what's most important. This gives you a realistic view of what your issues actually are.

Actively address your problems
This might initially seem impossible, but once you start to work towards making changes, you'll find that many problems only exist because you haven't had the drive to rectify them. This is particularly important in the workplace, as most employers would rather go out of their way to help you through your burnout, rather than lose you. The following are the most important steps:

    avoiding burnout at work
  • Just speaking about a subject will start to remove some of your feelings of helplessness, and give your employer a chance to try to rectify the problem.

  • Speak to your employer about new duties you could undertake, or any training opportunities available. Getting out of the rut of doing the same monotonous task on a daily basis is definitely motivating, as well as learning new skills. This might help bring the spark back to work.

  • Take some time off! Sometimes taking a breather is the only way to give yourself time to re-evaluate your priorities. Make a mindful decision to use this time to reflect on your situation and not just escape from it.

Slow it down
Feelings of being out of control and that everything is under time-pressure, are common symptoms of long-term stress. Take a few minutes each day to acknowledge your anxieties for what they are: illogical and exaggerated. Focus on personal activities like spending time with friends and family and outdoor activities. When listening to music or watching movies, make a conscious effort to pay attention and don't let your mind wonder to stress again- switch the phone off!

Re-evaluate your priorities
If work stress is having an impact on your personal life, it's time to move on. It's unhealthy and counterproductive to be thinking about work during whilst you are 'off'.

Also, be frank with yourself during the onset of burnout and recognise the stresses that you have surrendered to. Remember, these are simple tips to help you mend your situation in the short term. Burnout has real health implications and we do recommend that you seek professional help in overcoming it.

Ciara McGrath is Head of HR at: Instant Offices

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