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5 Effective Ways to Tackle Workplace Burnout

Are you one of those people who cannot wait for Friday evenings to arrive, only to be swamped by the overwhelming emptiness of Saturday mornings, and then be shoved by the anxieties of a fleeting and amorphous Sunday? Do you worry about the unwavering and stubborn length of a 5-day workweek at the very start of a Monday? Do you feel the exhaustion of being at work despite the feeling of not being useful and the ever-looming procrastination? Does the wish for motivation tire you more than actual work? Do you feel the steadfast feeling of smashing the face of those extra-cheerful colleagues who cannot wait to tell you how exciting their weekend has been? (Okay, that was way too specific!)



If you answered yes to any or all of these disturbing questions, I am sorry to say that you, my friend, might be a victim of workplace burnout. This is my experience on being one of those people in the above paragraph, and not as a mental health practitioner (because I am not one), and hence it is possible that I might be totally wrong and you might be facing something far less or far more serious. But, if your gut tells you "Well, what if she is right?", I urge you to stick with me for a while.


Now, before you start bullying yourself into thinking that you cannot be feeling burnout because you love your job, let me stop you right there. Your admiration for your job has nothing to do with burnout. I remember a "mental-health seminar" at my former workplace where the guy who gave the talk said "If you love your job, you will be willing to work all day every day of the week. If you love your job, you will never complain about the extra hours. In fact, you should be feeling grateful for the opportunity to work those extra hours honing your passion". Well, I am sure you would relate to how I could literally feel those air raid sirens they used to have in the factory scenes in Tom and Jerry blaring out of my brain if that's possible.


But it got me thinking - What if this guy actually believes it? Now, don't get me wrong. If you wish to stay up late at work because you are so deeply blown away by the beauty of your work and your actual passion (I have to say this because this is not what the guy meant!) for it, then by all means, please go ahead. In fact, I am happy for you that you have this. But, what if there are people who are struggling because they believe this passion-implies-guaranteed-productivity myth and are creating hells inside their minds? What if they never know that work doesn't have to be such a struggle? What if they don't realize ever that turning off your work brain for a while is a choice, and not a privilege or a selfish act? This leads us to the first way to tackle workplace burnout.

  • Identify your signs of burnout.

Trust me when I say that this is the hardest part of resolving burnout issues. Questioning years of the cemented and popular belief that you are your productivity is challenging, especially for those who actually live by it. In fact, you can get so triggered by your fading belief in this belief that you try to overpower it by increasing your workload as if that's somehow helpful. Burnout is real and, is an issue that needs to be discussed in every workplace setting. According to a 2022 study by the organization Infinite Potential, over 38% of the participants are victims of all three dimensions of burnout (exhaustion, reduced efficacy, and cynicism).



Now, if on the off chance, you trust your instincts and believe that you are experiencing burnout and go on to share your feelings, there is a very real chance that you might be forced to accept the backlash the corporate force has in store for you. There might be people who are just waiting to assume that you are just being lazy and need to be given a talking-to on the very many ways you could lose the game.



The above image by CrazyHeadComics beautifully summarizes burnout signs. Another important sign that I would like to add is if you start losing interest in activities that you otherwise liked very much. If you experience some or all of these signs, it is time to start taking better care of yourself, my friend. I understand how good mental health at the workplace can be a privilege for some of us, but please do understand that it is not. At least, it shouldn't be. Another significant thing to note is the difference between stress and burnout. The former being cooped up without being addressed for a long time paves the way for the latter.

  • Understand the reasons for your burnout.

  • Tending to the burnout self

I want this post to serve as a gentle reminder to our leaders and a word of advice for my fellow burnt-out friends to start speaking about issues that concern us. Tackling the issue and fixing it are essential not just because of increased productivity levels. It is the least we can do to ensure that our fellow colleagues are comfortable, and are given the best of environments to thrive in career and life. Don't you agree?


Until next time,

Nikhila :)


 



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