As we usher in a brand-New Year, our dreams are full of hopeful expectations as to what 2021 can deliver for us. It’s an opportunity to start afresh, feeling revived and relaxed after what has hopefully been a break over the festive period, well away from the drama of all that 2020 thrust upon us.
As we return to the workplace – either remotely or the ‘real office’, the predictions are that many of us won’t be skipping back as we’d like, but rather be shuffling back reluctantly. How refreshed are you genuinely feeling? Or if you’re being honest, do you still feel a little jaded, despite the break? With workplace burnout levels at record numbers – online searches for burnout symptoms have increased by almost 25% in 2020 alone (hrreview.co.uk) and organisations are becoming increasingly aware of their employees suffering symptoms of burnout.
Defined as a syndrome borne from chronic workplace stress in which people feel exhausted, hugely negative towards their job and are less productive than their colleagues, burnout is on the rise, and is unfortunately all too real. The overwhelm and stress of tightening team sizes, increased accountability and rapidly changing commercial landscapes are together creating a snowstorm of epic proportions. The reality is that we simply don’t perform to our best ability when we’re so stretched and exhausted that we can’t focus or think clearly. Multiplied by tens, perhaps even hundreds of employees in the same boat, it’s clear that organisations may have an incredible challenge on their hands to not just identify those impacted but find solutions to support them on their journey back to wellness.
Whilst true burnout deserves and requires a tailored treatment plan to expedite full recovery, there are a number of strategies you can employ yourself, if you recognise that you or a colleague are starting to become overwhelmed. Being more in tune with yourself in the present moment is a form of mindfulness and can help you to rebalance, and take a few moments to turn off your permanently ‘on switch’. Allowing your mind and body to focus on something other than the cause of stress, allows you to exit ‘fight or flight’ mode in which you permanently have hormones and chemicals coursing through your body – no wonder you’re exhausted! Try finding some quiet time to meditate – whether it’s at your desk or as you head to bed. A guided meditation is a great way to introduce yourself to mindfulness thanks to the meditation’s guided nature and short time span. You can also practice slowing down your breathing – breathing in for 3 seconds, holding for 3 and letting go for 3 – you’ll be impressed by how much these simple exercises can change your short-term outlook and stress pattern.
Your wellbeing is the greatest gift you can give yourself this New Year. It’s only when we don’t have our health, that we realise how infinitely precious it is – both on a mental and physical level. If you’re finding you’re burnt out, or on your way to total overwhelm, it’s time to speak up, take action and quickly hit the reset button with expert help to get you back on track to a healthy, focused and productive year ahead.