If you are feeling unproductive and unmotivated at work, you could be struggling with burnout. More than just a buzzword, it’s certainly not an excuse to get away with reduced productivity.
Burnout has become a major problem in the workplace. A study by Indeed found that burnout would affect 52% of workers in the workplace by 2021. It has become a widespread problem in several industries – so much so that you can actually get a medical diagnosis. A burnout diagnosis is different from chronic stress or fatigue, although they can have similar symptoms.
In many cases, burnout is a systemic problem. People in healthcare or other high-demand industries may be at higher risk. However, it affects workers in multiple sectors, and anyone can be vulnerable. Fortunately, self-care can help if you know how to properly integrate it.
How can you, as an employee, incorporate more self-care into your life? As an employer, what steps can you take to make this part of your corporate culture?
Find ways to reduce stress in the workplace
There is a common misconception that self-care has to be something luxurious and over the top. That’s just not the case. Instead, it’s about focusing on every dimension of your overall wellbeing, including:
So how can you focus on these dimensions when you are at work and in trouble?
Start with your personal workspace. Take a look around your desk. Is it cluttered and disorganized? That could add to your stress. It’s a small step, but tidying up and tidying up your workspace can make a huge difference in how calm and productive you are.
Other self-care tips that you can use in the workplace include taking frequent breaks, getting outside when you can, and keeping in touch with your coworkers throughout the day. Even practicing mindfulness from your desk can make a difference when you’re feeling overwhelmed by something. Take a few slow, deep breaths and focus on the present rather than the stress that surrounds you.
If you spend a lot of time at work, knowing how to relieve stress and relax is important. But what is more important is how you practice self-care in other areas of your life.
Just stay at home
One of the biggest challenges for people struggling with burnout is finding a work-life balance. About 66% of American workers lack the work-life balance they want or need, which contributes to far more than just burnout. Not being able to find a healthy balance can lead to depression or anxiety, as well as physical and social problems.
The first step to a better work-life balance is to spend more time at home. If that’s easier said than done, try some of the following tips:
- Learn to say “no” to additional work projects
- Prioritize your time
- Plan your personal time
- Stick to your set working hours
When you have time at home, it’s important to make the most of it by taking care of yourself. It looks different for everyone. So find something to relax and feel good that suits you. For some, getting physical is a part of it. Exercise can increase your serotonin levels and mood, and give you more energy. A study was done of nurses who found that yoga had a large positive impact on their burnout symptoms, and those who participated experienced higher levels of self-care.
Sometimes you may find it just as beneficial to relax and watch your favorite show as you go for a morning jog. Streaming shows or movies can be a positive, relaxing experience when all you need to do is relax and allow you to enter a calmer state of mind. However, make sure that your binge-watching is done in moderation so that your dopamine levels don’t drop.
From cooking and baking to journaling and reading, there are myriad ways to practice self-care at home. Every day, try to find something that enhances your wellbeing and is just for you. Self-care is not selfish, it is necessary.
What can employers do?
Studies have shown that positive work environments are more productive. Satisfied employees are motivated, loyal employees. Employees who feel overwhelmed and burned out, on the other hand, are more likely to be unproductive and can even quit. Fortunately, there are activities you can encourage and set up in the workplace to make a difference.
First, be a participative leader and encourage everyone else to be involved in your decision-making. A lack of ownership in organizational decisions is often a sign of burnout, but involving people in the process should be a top priority. When everyone works together, projects and activities almost always become more successful.
Be realistic with your expectations. One of the main causes of burnout in the workplace is work overload. When assigning tasks, distribute them fairly and evenly so that you don’t overload anyone. If you set realistic expectations and goals for your employees, they are more likely to finish. Other self-care activities you can encourage include:
- Encouraging employees to follow their passions
- Consideration of side projects
- Schedule breaks
- Reduction of working hours
- Regular exchange with employees
If you are an employee, taking care of yourself in and out of the workplace is critical to staying mentally and physically healthy during stressful times. Find ways to incorporate it into your everyday life, no matter where you are.
If, as an employer, you have not yet promoted self-care and integrated it into your corporate culture, it is time to start. Many companies are currently at a crossroads due to the impact of COVID-19. There has never been a better time to reevaluate your corporate culture and make positive changes where necessary.
This guest post was written by Ainsley Lawrence
Ainsley is a writer who loves to talk about how business and professionalism intersect with today’s personal, social, and technological needs. It is often lost in a good book.