In this Magic Monday, we focus on the realities of burnout and how we can help ourselves and each other through it.
While we usually expect a new year to bring about new changes and a feeling of refreshment, you may find yourself feeling exhausted instead, as if operating in ‘low battery mode’ for the past couple of weeks. The reality of the continued pandemic, along with other current events, can leave a sense of burnout. Even if you haven’t fallen victim to it personally, I guarantee at least one of your customers, colleagues or employees are there.
Burnout is when motivation and energy are low due to mental, physical and emotional exhaustion typically caused by continual exposure to a stressful situation like caring for an ill family member, overworking or witnessing upsetting news. If left unaddressed, it can lead to more serious conditions.
Burnout may manifest itself quietly in the form of a slowed work pace, irritability or a general disconnectedness in meetings or conversations. If you think this sounds like someone you know, instead of becoming frustrated, here are a few ways you might be able to help:
- Validate feelings and concerns – Not sharing the experience doesn’t negate that what the other person is going through is real and has a deep impact on them. Let them know you see them, and maybe take a moment to let them know how much you value their work or how much you appreciate a recent contribution.
- Listen – Offer to be a confidant and safe space to vent if needed – and mean it. Releasing any pent-up emotions can be a big first step in the right direction.
- Kind gestures – Pass along something that made you smile or something you think they’ll find interest in without expecting anything in return.
If burnout sounds like what you’re personally experiencing, here are a few recommendations for relief:
- Talk about it – Often, it’s easy to get stuck in our heads. Often, vocalizing our internal monologue can have a surprisingly therapeutic effect.
- Take breaks from your phone and the news – Not forever, of course. But the impact of constantly reading, watching or talking about distressing or uncertain events can lead to a feeling of helplessness over situations we can’t control. Instead, take a break, a deep breath and focus on what you can do.
- Ask for help – This one isn’t easy, but sometimes being honest and admitting things are difficult can help clue others in instead of allowing them to assume everything is fine.
Whatever side you land on, it’s important to remember we’re all human — no one gets up in the morning looking for a way to ruin your day or do a bad job on purpose. Be kind to yourself and to each other. Reach out today to a client or coworker and ask how they are or reach out to a trusted individual who you know will listen. We’re all still in this together.