This week’s positive news around the development of a third effective vaccine for COVID-19 offers some hope of a way out of the pandemic. However, for the forthcoming months tight restrictions will continue to remain in place for most of us.
We have already endured eight months of hardship and disruption to our lives, coping incredibly well with a situation that seems like it will never end. Some will feel their energy resources, motivation and levels of enthusiasm are completely depleted, possibly struggling to find purpose and optimism. BURNOUT isn’t solely linked to hard, pressurised days at work but extends to us facing any form of long-term, unresolved stress, such as that experienced during a pandemic. Everyone can be susceptible; from parents who are working from home and managing child-care, to those having to self-isolate or key workers who find their working days much longer.
The fundamental way to avoid burnout is managing stress. The earlier some of the strategies listed here can be introduced the less likely we are to reach the crisis point of burnout:
- SPOTTING THE SIGNS OF BURNOUT – Tune in to your thoughts, feelings and how your body is feeling. Commonly, those experiencing burnout will report overwhelming feelings of exhaustion, reduced productivity, difficulty making decisions, irritability, self-doubt and self-criticism. It is OK to acknowledge how you are feeling, this is NORMAL and will be the first step to recognising the potential for burnout.
- MAINTAINING OUR WORK-LIFE BALANCE – Now so many more of us are working from home it is crucial that we establish healthy routines to avoid overload. Getting up at the same time each day, separating our physical work spaces and introducing a shutting down ritual at the end of the working day will all help to reduce the blurring of boundaries around our home and work lives.
- SOCIAL CONNECTEDNESS & SELF-CARE – During this challenging period we may find we have a tendency to withdraw from social interactions. The pandemic means we have to limit our physical contact but staying connected with our friends, colleagues, neighbours and family will boost our well-being and give us focus. Try to incorporate other activities into your day that nourish you and improve mood, such as a woodland walk, taking time out to read a book or simply stretching.
Seek professional help from a mental health expert if you feel unable to cope and are concerned for your wellbeing. You can access appropriate support via your GP or through an Employee Assistance Programme at work.
Our ‘AVOIDING BURNOUT’ webinar delivers an understanding of what burnout is and offers practical mind tools on how to break the cycle of stress before it escalates to a more chronic problem.