It’s time to talk about it: burnout. Of course, there is no specific “season” where burnout occurs, in fact, the Covid-19 situation has made burnout a much more common event. The more we work from home, the more we may feel as though we are constantly at work or in an impending situation and waiting for work to start again. So, how do you spot the early signs of burnout? And what can you do about them?
Although it is normal to feel a headache coming on once in a while, it shouldn’t be something that you live through every single day. When the clock hits 3 PM, do you feel that headache coming on? Has it been happening so often that you have actually noticed that it is a recurring thing and have started to wonder whether this could mean something more serious is going on? What about your digestion– has it been a bit shaky and volatile lately? If so, it’s time to start tracking. How often do headaches occur? What are they like (pressure, tension, etc)? Most importantly: are they accompanied by any of the other symptoms mentioned below?
It’s no secret that Covid-19 has brought on numerous negative impacts on individuals’ mental health. From higher rates of depression and anxiety to stress now being a daily experience for most of us, our mental wellbeing has been severely affected by the pandemic. Nonetheless, burnout brings on a different kind of mental distress. For example, those who struggle with burnout tend to describe feeling completely unmotivated to do anything. There is a feeling that one cannot cope with daily activities and one can be extremely overwhelmed by the smallest things. For example, events that would normally not receive a reaction from you may feel so overwhelming that you break down in tears over it. You may also feel too emotionally exhausted to care about doing anything.
Burnout tends to be exhausting for the person undergoing it because it becomes a vicious cycle. Your performance at work or university tends to suffer because of exhaustion. Then, because you notice this lowered performance, you also struggle with feelings of guilt and become overwhelmed because you feel as though nothing you are doing is enough– you feel like you are overwhelmed with disappointment in yourself. This feeling then fuels the burnout further.
What can I do about it?
Burnout is serious. It’s something that can descend into much more complex and overwhelming feelings of depression and intense anxiety, among other disorders, if not taken care of promptly. Therefore, whenever such feelings start popping up, reach out for help. Speaking to someone about those feelings will also help you rationalise them and better understand what your options are. Remember that there are always solutions, whether you can see them or are too exhausted to contemplate them. This is why reaching out to someone to help you through that time, and especially someone who can provide you with the empathy you may need, can seriously help you get back on your feet.
You or someone you may know could be suffering with this, a tem member or even a manager. Reach out for help, GP, friend or you can call Ipsum if you have any questions and one of our team would be happy to help
Ipsum can help (in both an individual and workshop forum) with reducing stress in the workplace, managing trauma, mental health first aid, and others areas too.
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