- Posted by jwp_institute
- On February 22, 2021
- 0 Comments
In our day-to-day reality, burnout is on the rise. People everywhere are experiencing varying levels of stress-induced fatigue, overwhelm, and complete exhaustion. It turns out living through a pandemic is draining, but there are things you can do to shore up your energy and resources for the long haul, and we will focus on these strategies throughout the next two blogs.
Burnout looks different from individual to individual, and stressors may range in diversity. One person’s stress is another’s pastime. No matter the cause, burnout needs to be addressed because it will worsen if ignored or repressed. It can even feel productive at times but don’t be fooled. When anyone continues to run on empty, they will eventually run out of fuel.
The first step to reducing burnout is learning to spot it. People have a myriad of ways of expressing their exhaustion and fatigue. They may be overly sensitive, taking increased sick time, or expressing somatic complaints like headaches, GI issues, or tense muscles. You may notice they are experiencing insomnia or oversleeping, have difficulty concentrating, or make more mistakes at work. They might be overly emotional, forgetful, short-tempered, or they may even disclose to you that they are so stressed they saw their physician who prescribed medication to cope. Try spotting signs of possible burnout in those around you by just bringing a simple awareness of these symptoms with you in your daily life.
A key piece of healthy awareness is non-judgment. When we practice awareness, a sense of curiosity coupled with non-judgment will reward you with the best results on your return.
Recognize and Engage
If leaders recognize their colleagues are on edge or experiencing burnout, the next step is to voice that recognition compassionately. You can start by letting them know you’re interested in what’s going in their life. Practice reflective listening by paying attention to what they tell you and showing them you care and hear them. When we do this, we don’t have to say, “I understand” because we express it in how we are listening to them.
This presence isn’t always easy and doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you don’t have time to listen or are just going through the motions, you will do more harm than good. We know intuitively when people aren’t listening to us, and we shut down. Practice showing authentic compassion for the speaker, and keep your focus on what they’re telling you even if it’s hard to hear about their struggles.
In the next blog, I focus on ways to get ahead of burnout while it’s still manageable, and I address preventative strategies to target the root causes of burnout.