Recognizing Burnout

Recognizing Burnout

Sheerin JafferFounder
Posted 7 months ago

The pandemic has redefined work and burnout is one aspect that does not get enough attention. Now, consider this for example, my client, a C level executive often woke up feeling fatigued even after a six-hour rested state. He was not able to pinpoint the cause but even after several supplements and healthy eating he seemed to not understand the reason for feeling exhausted. The usual medical check-ups came back normal with the physician’s remarks like slow down, it’s the age factor. While slow down seemed like a good option it was one that could not be exercised by my client. The work from home culture was killing him; and the phone, laptop and the technology to stay connected meant his superiors could call him any time of the day. He confessed sometimes he would be in office meeting’s that began at 12 midnight and continued up to 4 a.m. He simply could not say no, and the superiors were not exercising boundaries to not encroach upon his post work hours that were meant for him to relax rest and rejuvenate. In his words ‘I felt grateful for having a well-paying job during the time of the pandemic when companies were laying off employees’. Eventually ignoring this physical discomfort led to feelings of stress, tension headaches upset stomach, brain fog and elevated sugar levels.

Then, he decided to take a weeklong break, switched off his phone and did absolutely nothing and slowly but surely, he noticed feeling better. He meditated and took time to do yoga and all the little niggles he felt in his body were disappearing. His example fits a classic case of Burnout. Burnout can be defined as physical and mental exhaustion that begins to hamper one’s ability to enjoy their job and shows up as symptoms in the body and mind. The modern workplace and a job culture that gives credibility to individuals only if they are working hard creates in equal measure anxiety that is only suppressed by putting in more effort at the job. Many people fall into this trap and end up being consumed by this notion that tells you that your worth is measured by your job and how well you perform it. The blurring lines between work and home has added fuel to the fire. Ultimately it spirals into challenging problems for an employee that manifest into physical and mental symptoms.

While several lifestyle changes are known to us like sleeping seven to eight hours a day being mindful, getting some exercise, eating healthy and going for regular medical check-ups, the core issue runs deeper. Firstly, as symptoms persist people feel subtle changes to their body and mind but do not perceive it as the beginning of a burnout. They begin to dread going to work, disengage from this deep value of service that is the very foundation of every job. They execute the functions and yet dehumanize the people they are serving or detach themselves from the workplace. They no longer have the passion to go beyond their scope of duties. The joy and the zeal are missing. Ultimately a high turnover has a far-reaching consequence to any organization.

Does this sound too familiar? Ask yourself how this is affecting you and if doubting your output really helping you. Have you set boundaries in respect to yourself and others? Could you inform everyone at work that you would be unavailable beyond a certain time? Does the leadership in your organization suck? Is your boss squeezing you to your last drop to boost his KPI’s? Do you have a considerate superior or an empathetic friend with whom you could discuss your state of mind?

Evaluate what matters to you the most. Awareness is a good place to start, mindfulness is a necessity and self compassion is the key. Reaching out or seeking help is not a sign of weakness. Working with a life coach can be beneficial too as it will then help you gain clarity and set healthy boundaries. Then slowly moving away from a toxic work culture could be a possible option. If, you are in an empowered position as a leader in an organization and you do understand its effects, then, consider making positive changes for your subordinates and creating a thriving workplace.

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