The pandemic has introduced new ways of working that we have all adjusted to and are completely familiar with now. Working from home, businesses reliant on government grants, businesses having to cease trading due to restrictions, and a technologically focused workforce are among the few examples of the vast changes we are all aware of.
Burnout is categorised by exhaustion, tension, sometimes emotional absence, and overall mental checkout because of prolonged periods of overdoing it and feeling stressed. Unfortunately, burnout is not uncommon, and a lot of workers openly discuss their battle with burnout and how to bounce back after dark periods.
The question is, why have we normalised such a heightened state in a world where we are increasingly open about nurturing mental health and focused on healthy, positive workforces? Through the changing nature of working and with a lot of us now working from home on a permanent basis, it is difficult to draw the distinction between work and play. Many employees will not take a lunch break and eat at their desk to get through work. Is this necessary? It is not. Breaks are actually essential, when working full time. Not only do they allow your brain to reset through the busy course of a working day, but they remind us that we are here for the purpose to live our lives and appreciate the benefits of remote working. While it may seem attractive to work through and push yourself, it could have a long-term impact and lead to burnout.
Burnout can manifest itself physically or mentally. The World Health Organisation acknowledged burnout in 2019 as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ meaning it is specifically related to workplace stress and not stress provoked by other areas of life. The best way to mitigate the impact of long-term exposure to stress and pressure on ourselves is to take breaks, take advantage of our company benefits (if applicable), take our annual leave, speak to people in our work when we feel ‘defeated’, and simply share what you are going through. Burnout can be avoided when we are surrounded by the right type of people, and not taking on more than we can handle.