Coping With Burnout

Posted by Tom Locke on January 7th, 2021 filed in Business, Education, Life

Burnout was sure a topic of discussion in 2020 – especially in the medical community and with their front liners. And there does not seem to be an end in site.

Burnout has also been prevalent in other businesses and industries. And the home front has not been immune from it.

So how do we cope, knowing that adrenalin only goes so far in emergency and stressful situations.

First off, we need to identify the symptoms of burnout.

Per a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (“HBR”), thanks to the pioneering research of psychologist Christina Maslach and several collaborators, we know that burnout is a three-component syndrome that arises in response to chronic stressors on the job. Let’s examine each symptom—exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy, appreciating the fact that they are correlated.

Exhaustion is most central and involves physical, mental and emotional fatigue.

Cynicism is away of self-distancing yourself and can be brought on via work overload. However, it is also likely to occur in the presence of high conflict, unfairness, and lack of participation in decision making.

Inefficacy refers to feelings of incompetence or lack of achievement or productivity and can lead to disengagement.

In terms of recovery and prevention, HBR suggests the following strategies given that situational factors are the biggest contributors to burnout.

  1. Prioritize Self – Care – It’s essential to replenish your physical and emotional energy, along with your capacity to focus, by prioritizing good sleep habits, nutrition, exercise, social connection, and practices that promote equanimity and well-being, like meditating, journaling, and enjoying nature.
  2. Shift Your Perspective – This require you taking a hard look at what you are taking on and determining what is controllable and what isn’t. In tandem with this, it involves you challenging your mindset and assumptions.
  3. Reduce Exposure To Job/Personal Stressors – This involves resetting the expectations of colleagues, clients, and even family members for what and how much you’re willing to take on, as well as ground rules for working together. This can be done mutually and will probably be better received and appreciated as “we’re in this together”.
  4. Seek Out Connections – Empower colleagues/friends and find coaches and mentors who can help you identify and activate positive relationships and learning opportunities. 

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