by Kayla Sheely

Have you felt any of the following lately?

Constantly overwhelmed?

Emotionally exhausted?

Unable to meet never-ending work or home life demands?

 If so, you might be burning out.

What is burnout?

According to HelpGuide.org, burnout is “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.”

Someone who is experiencing burnout may struggle with fatigue or exhaustion, insomnia or other sleep-related issues, stress, irritability, loss of motivation, isolation, as well as a host of other health-related issues. One bad day doesn’t mean you are experiencing burnout. But when “every day is a bad day”, you might be struggling with burnout.

What causes burnout?

You won’t just wake up one day to discover you are burned out. It happens over time, potentially without you even realizing it. Ignoring signs of burnout only adds fuel to the fire.

The Mayo Clinic lists factors that can contribute to burnout from work:

  • Lack of control
  • Unclear job expectations
  • Dysfunctional workplace dynamics
  • Extremes of activity
  • Lack of social support
  • Work-life imbalance

Now, more than ever, people are experiencing burnout. In a study ran by Indeed, 52% of participants “are experiencing burnout in 2021.” That number is up from the previous year’s 43%. While taking a vacation can be a great way to help stave off burnout, it’s the little actions in your daily or weekly routine that add up. Here are some tips from VSE’s employees on how they keep burnout at bay:

Aside from my regular exercise routine, I have replaced my morning commute with a device-free morning walk with my dog, Nala (except for the Apple watch because I need my steps counted!). I use this time to let my mind wander wherever it needs to go and set the tone for my day. I also keep a yoga mat in my home office. If I ever have a free 15 minutes, I roll out the mat and connect movement with breath. I really do believe movement is medicine! – Erin G

Sometimes easier said than done but consciously unplugging and getting less screen time has helped me a lot during this time. A big reason why I joined VSE was the opportunity to work in a Holacracy because it gives you the choice to work smarter and not just harder – longer hours don’t always equate to more productivity. This shift in the mindset of giving yourself permission to be off or have uninterrupted focus time really is beneficial. Recently I've added in a morning meditation for at least 15 minutes prior to checking my work email or opening my laptop, and it's made a significant positive impact on my workday. – Janice

Daily yoga, plus bike rides, walks, and meditation a few times a week has really helped me blow off steam and keep stress at bay. Likewise, getting more sleep has been a big deal for me. Since my commute is so short (i.e. a stroll downstairs to my office), I can make sure I'm consistently getting that extra hour of sleep so I can stay in the 7 to 8 hours per night range (something that I've struggled with for many years). Finally, just taking random moments to connect with my wife and kids throughout the day and having dinner with them on a more regular basis has been another great way to balance the demands of the job with my personal life. In the end, I'm still working a lot of hours, and some days still feel pretty hectic – but my overall stress level and outlook are much improved as a result of cultivating these healthier habits. – Demian R

As we continue to navigate a time where work and home life often blend together, I've been combating burnout by not only making sure I get regular exercise but my using this time to engage in one of my favorite hobbies – listening to true crime podcasts while running or walking. In another life, I swear I'm a first-rate detective alongside my true crime work buddy Ellen. – Sharon D

My wife and I always try to go for a walk during our lunch break. It gives us a chance to unplug from our busy lives whether it's about work, planning our next adventure with the kids, or just to catch up and talk about things we don't have a chance to during the week and when the kids get home from school. I also listen to a good amount of music which always lowers my stress level and helps me disconnect from screen time and reflect on whatever it is I'm processing. We try to limit social media time and watch a show together to take a break from reality. We also tend to take a Friday off together once a month and go out for lunch to help deal with burnout. – Andrew S

It's easy how work can sneak up on you when the physical distance and venue between work and home life are no longer in place. I am intentional about self-care. I plan it, schedule it, and fully immerse myself. Exercise, playing and listening to music, meditation, and sleep, all find their way onto my calendar. I find when I effectively balance work, less is more. – Gary B

 

 

Sources:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm#
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2021/04/05/indeed-study-shows-that-worker-burnout-is-at-frighteningly-high-levels-here-is-what-you-need-to-do-now/?sh=7759c94023bb