Is your team experiencing burnout?  

We all get tired and overwhelmed from time to time, but if you’re feeling exhausted, sluggish and simple tasks are causing you to feel overwhelmed or angry, you might be experiencing burnout. In an article by Cleveland Clinic, Adam Borland, PsyD, shares the current state of human burnout. 

“We’re living in an incredibly stressful time, and burnout is incredibly prevalent,” says psychologist Adam Borland, PsyD. “I am seeing a lot of people who are very tired. Physically, emotionally tired.”  

Burnout isn’t an isolated phenomenon; it has impacted the majority of Americans. 

According to Forbes, “In the midst of the pandemic, 76 percent of U.S. employees surveyed said they were experiencing burnout.” 

What is burnout?
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, burnout is defined as “physical, emotional or mental exhaustion, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance and negative attitudes towards oneself and others.”  

Burnout is caused by prolonged or repeated stress. Though it’s most often caused by problems at work, it also can appear in other areas of life, such as parenting, caretaking or romantic relationships.  

Are you or your teammates burned out? 

Burnout is characterized by physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. You may notice less compassion toward those in your care and that you cannot do your job effectively.  

Signs of burnout:      

  • Feeling depleted or exhausted 
  • Worry and anxiety 
  • Difficulty focusing 
  • Loss of productivity
  • Sense of dread
  • Feelings of cynicism, anger or irritability
  • Feeling apathetic or dissatisfied with your work or personal responsibilities
  • Emotional fragility or heightened sensitivity

If burnout is not properly handled, physical health issues can result, such as headaches, fatigue, changes in diet or sleep patterns, heartburn and other gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as increased potential for alcohol, drug, or food misuse.  

How can employees combat burnout?
Be gentle on yourself. It’s possible a good ol’ fashioned nap, vacation or fresh-air walk may be just what the doctor ordered. Explore what gives you a sense of purpose, what fills your spirit with joy. Sometimes an inspiring challenge can help us overcome burnout.  

  • Talk to a trusted person or therapist 
  • Build in breaks to your day
  • Exercise 
  • Set a daily routine 
  • Build and enforce work-life boundaries 
  • Explore a hobby 
  • Practice mindfulness (try the exercise below to activate your vagus nerve) 

Activate your vagus nerve: This helps trigger your nervous system’s parasympathetic (rest-and-recovery) response via a 20-second breath cycle: simply inhale, hold, exhale (5:5:10):

Sit quietly and focus on your breath. Breathe in deeply for a count of 5. Hold your breath for 5 seconds. Now breathe out slowly for 10 seconds. Try it again: inhale for 5 seconds, hold 5 seconds and exhale for 10 seconds. Repeat five times. 

How can leaders help their team navigate burnout?
If you’re a business owner or leader, you may have noticed the tell-tale burnout signs within your team. Perhaps sickness is on the rise, employees are producing lower-quality work and/or seem disengaged.  

Here are a few ways you can positively impact your team, many of whom have likely faced burnout at one point or another: 

  • Strengthen one-on-one relationships with your team 
  • Begin meetings with a breathing or stretching exercise 
  • Consider task redistribution of work to share the load      
  • Take walking meetings      

If your team is facing burnout and you’d like to learn tools to help calm, connect and restore your team, reach out at info@aimeemorgan.com. While you’re at it, check out my new podcast, the Mindfulness Academy Podcast. We’re all in this together. 

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