REDUCING THE RISK OF BURNOUT
Psychiatrist tips and advice
Stress in the workplace is the most common form of stress in the UK and unfortunately, working from home throughout the pandemic has not helped. In the midst of a recession with jobs at risk and a decrease in staffing levels, many people are feeling the pressure to perform, compete or prove themselves.
Dr Dimitrios Paschos, Consultant Psychiatrist at Re:Cognition Health shares his tips to help reduce the risk of burnount and navigate the next 6 months of working from home:
Working from home, whilst it has its perks and flexibility for many employees, is responsible for driving stress and burnout for others. People thrive off the social aspects in an office environment, find joy in working in a team and benefit from networking opportunities, which are minimised in the WFH set-up. Additionally, working from home for many people doesn’t provide the luxury of a dedicated office or work environment; many people have found themselves working from their kitchen tables, living rooms or even bedrooms, with added stress about sharing space with flatmates or juggling family life.
With travel restrictions in place, people haven’t taken their holidays, which has hugely impacted on mental health and also contributing to burnout, as the mind and body hasn’t had the necessary time to decompress and recharge. Working from home has also meant no escape for some people; it’s very tempting to work overtime, late into the night or on weekends and can be a difficult cycle to break.
Many people with burnout will experience feelings of exhaustion and negativity about work. They may feel defeated, ineffectual or “running on empty”. It is often a consequence of high demands or heavy, relentless workloads with limited resources to achieve the objectives, sustained over a prolonged period of time. It is common amongst high achievers or perfectionists who have high expectations of themselves and their work output.
Consequences of burnout can include lack of enthusiasm or apathy towards the job, a decrease in work performance, exhaustion and fatigue and poor mental health contributing to insomnia, headaches, heart palpitations, decrease in immune function and shortness of breath, so it’s important that symptoms are recognised and action is taken to address burnout.
Tips to combat burnout
There are many simple steps that can be taken to help reduce the risk of burnout:
- Change the pattern – recognise there is a problem and try to address it before it exacerbates. If you are a perfectionist, you may need to lower expectations
- Talk about your concerns with your superiors to devise management strategies
- Prioritise your workload to help manage your weekly tasks
- Refrain from saying yes to everything – if a task is unachievable speak with your manager about delegating to another colleague or negotiate a realistic extension on the deadline
- Take adequate breaks to clear your mind– enjoy a stroll to the coffee shop at lunch and simple screen breaks throughout the day
- Exercise – this is great for increasing mood, self-esteem and reducing stress. It can also help combat symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Set boundaries – adhere to normal working hours and don’t look at emails in the evening or over the weekend
- Arrange brainstorms or team social events such as Zoom quizzes to maintain relationships and social interactions with work colleagues
- Recharge during the day with a 20 minute power nap to help improve cognitive performance and energise the mind and body (don’t nap over the 20 minutes as it can be difficult to wake up from!)
- Take time to reflect on your achievements, accomplishments and things you enjoy about work, rather than focussing on the negative aspects of your job or unaccomplished tasks
- Take your holiday (and turn your emails off for the duration) to give you mind and body a much-needed rest
If your day to day work is seriously impacting your mental health it’s important to seek professional advice. Video consultations are now available at Re:Cognition Health to make it easier for those needing help or support. For further information and to make an appointment call our team on 0203 355 3536 or email email@example.com