Burnout: Handling the big monster in the workplace.

Outline

  • What is burnout
  • Why is burnout important
  • The post-pandemic new normal
  • How to identify burnout

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  • Mapping solutions and setting boundaries
  • Identify a sense of meaning in your job
  • Define your identity
  • Organizational level action to burnout
  • References

Burnout: 1

  1. Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. – WHO
  2. Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context
  3. It is characterized by three dimensions:
  • The feeling of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feeling of
    negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

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Burnout: 2

  • Exhaustion: A state of extreme physical or mental tiredness. It could be fatigue, weariness, lassitude, prostration
  • Sense of cynicism: When individuals feel their contribution at work does not matter or their teamwork is not important or their role serves little or no purpose
  • Reduced professional efficacy: When individuals who really want to make impact feels that their skills are not aligned with their work or are engaged with more than they can handle.

Why worry about burnout?

  • Ideally, your job should not impede your mental health
  • Burnout is associated with decreased job performance, poor health and wellbeing
  • Making desired career changes is not feasible for every individual
  • Other factors affect career choices i.e.

– Finances

– Family

– other commitments

– Health-related issues

  • Sometimes the feasible option at the moment is keeping your job

The post-pandemic new normal

Post pandemic reality has caused a re-evaluation of our realities:

  • Working from home
  • Starting or taking businesses online
  • Taking career breaks
  • Changing jobs or career
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Taking advantage of remote work
  • Digital nomad

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How to identify burnout

  • Pay attention to your mood and energy levels
  • Compare your mood and energy at work to when away from work
  • Is your stress level the same or worsens even when the work situation improves

Watch out for psychological symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Gastrointestinal disturbance
  • Nausea
  • Sleep disturbance

Mapping burnout solution

  • There is no one size fits all solution
  • The solution requires time and appropriate resources
  • Taking time off (be strategic with and enjoy your annual leave)
  • Initiate systemic support at the workplace
  • Imagine an ideal job and ideal work environment (positive thoughts)
  • Regularly evaluate if you are barely surviving or thriving.

Setting boundaries

  • Identify and communicate what will help you perform at your best
  • Figure out sources of burnout
  • Eliminate or alleviate the sources of burnout
  • Aim to be at your best
  • Focus on your core strength
  • Delegate appropriately
  • Call for help
  • Set time for a mental break

Identify a sense of meaning in your job

  • Approach your work with a growth mindset
  • Focus on what gives you joy at work
  • Concentrate on what you have to control over
  • Invest your time wisely
  • Get a sense of mastery

Pay attention to how your job can contribute to the greater good:

  • Helping your team
  • Meeting a goal or an objective

Detach your identity from your work

  • Pay attention to other aspects of your personal life

– Relationship (family, friends, community etc)

– Interest, social roles and activities, hobbies etc

  • Have an accountability buddy
  • Don’t over-invest in your work
  • Engage in risk management program at the workplace
  • Proactively monitor hazards and risks in the workplace
  • This is especially important for high achievers and perfectionists.

Organizational level action to burnout

All organizations should have a mechanism to address the following in the workplace:

  • Unreasonable time pressures
  • Lack of or ineffective communication
  • Lack of support from management
  • Lack of role clarity
  • Unmanageable workload
  • Unfair treatment

References

https://www.who.int/news/item/28-05-2019-burn-out-an-occupational-phenomenon-international-classification-of-diseases https://www.fastcompany.com/90779241/how-to-recover-from-burnout-if-you-cant-change-jobs-or-take-time-off https://www.verywellmind.com/stress-and-burnout-symptoms-and-causes-3144316

Author: Oladeinde Ebenezer Oluwaseun. Medical Officer of Health. Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area.

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