What you can do to avoid burnout

The World Health Organization has deemed burnout a serious issue. If you are stressed at work and at breaking point, keep reading.

What can you do?

According to Ron Friedman, a psychologist for corporate and private clients, the problem of burnout is much bigger than it was a decade ago. There are many misconceptions about burnout, such as the stigma that you are simply not cut out to do your job, leading to the condition being ignored and mismanaged.

But, with this newly detailed definition by the WHO, workplaces will hopefully take burnout more seriously.

However, in the meantime here are a few tips to help you manage:

1. Value your work

When your work feels mundane and boring, it’s difficult to have a sense of purpose. But focusing on ways you help others through your job may give you a sense of purpose.

2. Don’t put your eggs in one basket

Find joys and hobbies outside of work. Value your family and friends or hobbies and activities away from work. If you feel like there is nothing outside work, find a new activity or club that you can join over weekends. Start volunteering at charity organisations, or reach out to your community to meet people from outside your work sphere.

3. Make your work ‘work’ for you

Use the resources that your company has to offer, whether it’s free counselling sessions, the opportunity to work flexi hours, or extra courses. Make use of your leave days, and take sick leave if you need it. 

4. Focus on nutrition

Nutrition plays a big role when it comes to overall energy levels and productivity at work. Instead of visiting the local coffee shop for your daily croissant, start making a habit of packing a healthy variety of tasty snacks that will boost your energy levels, like nuts and fresh fruit.  

5. Socialise at work

Feeling isolated and alone? Colleagues may be experiencing the same problems as you. Start chatting to that person you see in the cafeteria every day. Smile at people in the elevators.

Don’t ignore the feeling

While you should do your best to remain positive at work, never dismiss feelings of despair or burnout. Don’t hesitate to talk to a medical professional or contact an organisation such as the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) if you feel you need help.

Marelize Wilke