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  • Writer's pictureKōwhai Therapeutic Services

Breaking the Burnout Cycle: Recognising and Overcoming Burnout in Yourself and Others

Burnout is becoming an increasingly common issue in today's fast-paced work environment. Burnout can leave you feeling physically and emotionally exhausted, demotivated, and unfulfilled in your work. If left unaddressed, burnout can lead to serious consequences, including decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and even depression. Recognising the signs of burnout in yourself and others is essential in preventing and overcoming burnout. In this blog, we'll discuss key signs to look out for and practical tips for preventing and overcoming burnout in yourself and others.

Understanding the symptoms of burnout:

The first step in recognising burnout is to understand its symptoms. Burnout is characterised by feelings of exhaustion, cynicism, and decreased effectiveness in the workplace. Other common symptoms include reduced engagement and motivation, increased absenteeism, and a sense of hopelessness or helplessness. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be a sign of burnout.

It's important to note that burnout can manifest differently in different individuals. Some people may become irritable and short-tempered, while others may withdraw and become isolated. It's also common for individuals experiencing burnout to feel physically unwell, with symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, or digestive problems.

Identifying the causes of burnout:

Burnout is caused by a combination of factors, including work overload, lack of control, and lack of support. Other factors that can contribute to burnout include poor work-life balance, lack of recognition, and a lack of personal fulfilment in your work. Understanding the causes of burnout can help you take steps to prevent it.

Recognising that a heavy workload does not solely cause burnout is essential. While work overload is a common trigger, it's also important to consider other factors such as the work environment, relationships with colleagues, and work culture. By taking a holistic approach and considering all the factors that contribute to burnout, you can better understand and address the root causes of burnout.

Taking care of yourself:

Preventing burnout starts with taking care of yourself. This means taking breaks, engaging in physical activity, and practising self-care. Additionally, it's important to maintain a healthy work-life balance and to set boundaries to protect your time and energy. If you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a step back, and prioritise your physical and emotional well-being.

Self-care can take many forms, from exercise and healthy eating to mindfulness and meditation practices. It's important to find activities that work for you and help you recharge. Additionally, making time for leisure activities that you enjoy, such as hobbies or spending time with friends and family is essential.

Seeking support:

If you're experiencing burnout, seeking support is key. Talk to your manager or HR representative, or consider reaching out to a trusted colleague or a professional counsellor. They can help you identify the root causes of your burnout and develop a plan for overcoming it. Additionally, seeking support from friends and family can provide you with a support network to help you through difficult times.

It's important to recognise that seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness. By reaching out for help, you're taking a proactive step towards overcoming burnout and improving your well-being. Additionally, seeking support can help you feel less isolated and provide you with the resources and support you need to overcome burnout.

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Supporting others:

When you recognise a colleague who may be experiencing burnout, it's important to offer your support. One of the most powerful things you can do is listen to them and provide a sounding board for their concerns. You can also provide encouragement and reassurance, reminding them they're not alone and that help is available.

Being flexible and understanding can also be a big help. If your colleague is struggling with their workload, for example, offer to help out where you can or be open to adjusting your own schedule to accommodate their needs. You can also encourage them to prioritise their well-being, such as taking a break or speaking with a professional counsellor.

Finally, you can help by advocating for changes in the workplace that can help reduce burnout and improve employee well-being. This might mean advocating for better work-life balance policies or for improved support and recognition programs. By working together, we can create a workplace culture of support, well-being, and fulfilment.

Burnout is a serious issue that can have far-reaching consequences for both individuals and organisations. By recognising the signs of burnout in ourselves and others and taking steps to prevent and overcome burnout, we can help create a more positive and productive work environment. By offering support, being flexible and understanding, and advocating for positive change, we can work together to break the burnout cycle and foster a workplace culture of well-being and fulfilment.

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