Unfortunately, stress is increasingly becoming an issue in many workplaces. The consequence is burnout, which the World Health Organization (WHO) defines as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.
According to the WHO, burnout has three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion, increased mental distance from one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy.
The following five tips will help you gain a better understanding of burnout, and will provide some strategies to reduce its symptoms.
Know the Signs
The first step is to identify the signs of burnout. If you find it difficult to cope with stress at work, if you have negative feelings about your work, or if you don’t find pleasure in your work, you may be suffering from burnout.
The next strategies can help you manage the effects or burnout, but you should also consider seeking the assistance of a trained mental health professional.
Learn to Cope with Stressful Thinking
Sometimes we forget that our thoughts are the source of our emotions. If we learn to cope with stressful thoughts, we’ll be better equipped to deal with burnout. A simple technique consists in training yourself to replace negative thoughts with positive, solution-focused thoughts. Some workers also practice “thought stoppage”, in which they wear a rubber band around their wrist and snap it every time a negative thought appears as a way to remind themselves to stop the negative flow of ideas.
Use Breathing and Relaxation Exercises
Every time you feel the stress is taking hold, practice deep breathing. Inhale slowly and exhale calmly through your mouth. You’ll feel calmer and more centered almost instantly. Progressive muscle relaxation is also useful: just close your eyes, practice deep breathing and focus on relaxing your body, one part at a time.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s easy to neglect ourselves when we focus too much on our professional lives. Yet, the secret to great performance at work is striking a balance that allows us enough time to take care of ourselves. A reasonable diet can improve dramatically your mood and your disposition. Yoga comes with myriad of benefits, both physical and mental, and taking up a sport is always a good idea and a great way to get your mind off negative or stressful thoughts.
Foster Social Connections
Social interactions have a positive impact on our well-being. Healthy family ties and positive friendships can help you mitigate or prevent burnout. Conversely, bad relationships will only increase your sense of isolation and contribute to your fatigue, so don’t be afraid to be picky when it comes to choosing the people you surround yourself with. Your mental health is worth it!