We've all been there. You're stressed out from work, whether it’s working from home or at the office, school, caring for a family member -and everything else life is throwing at you these days - you can't think straight! But still, you push on without taking time to really understand how this is affecting you. Maybe you hope that once you complete the next project and cross that daunting thing off on your to-do list the stress will go down. You're exhausted – mentally and physically. This is more than just stress, it’s burnout.
What is Burnout?
According to the World Health Organization, burnout is “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” This can manifest in a number of ways, so it’s important to recognize the signs. These include feeling physically and mentally exhausted, having trouble concentrating, feeling cynical or negative about your work, and losing motivation. You may begin to feel that the work you do is meaningless. This stress can take a toll on every aspect of your life so it’s important to learn how to avoid reaching your breaking point in order to maintain your mental health.
Let’s take a look at the ways you can avoid workplace burnout as well as some tips on how to de-stress from a few of my fellow Cyarans.
Set healthy boundaries
Don't try to bite off more than you can chew. If you're feeling overwhelmed by your workload, it's okay to scale back and set more realistic goals. This will help you avoid putting unnecessary pressure on yourself, and you’ll be more likely to achieve what you set out to do. This also means learning how to say "no" when you're feeling overwhelmed by work assignments.
It’s also critical that leaders know how to level-set with their teams in order to mitigate burnout. When asked how he manages, Adam Llewelyn, Cyara Program Delivery Lead in Development, said that the best way to manage burnout is preventative and relies on leaders operating at a sustainable daily rate. According to Adam, “Addressing burnout after the fact is hard and has many adverse health effects. As a leader, it is my role to ensure my team’s safety. It’s not just about monitoring workloads, but proactively addressing issues and connecting with people regularly, and at a deeper level to ensure they are on top of their roles and their work-life balance is in hand.”
Adam always looks for that ‘canary in the mine’ to indicate when something is not quite right. Even when there are no problems it’s important to remain invested in the well-being of your teams. Adam sums up his responsibility as a leader by pointing out that managing stress and preventing burnout is “about ensuring there’s a caring and accountable ecosystem for your teams to operate in.”
Find a hobby – or two!
Pursuing interests outside of work can help relieve stress and prevent burnout. It gives you something fun to look forward to outside of work. Whether it's painting, hiking, biking, kayaking – find something that gets you excited and sign up for it! It's important to make sure you're taking breaks during the day so you can refuel – even if it's just for a few minutes.
Elizabeth Magill, Cyara's VP of Marketing is an expert when it comes to finding hobbies that spark joy: “When I need a moment to recharge, I’ve found that immersing myself into more creative pursuits helps me reset. Rather than letting my mind wander over all the things I need to do, once I start a creative project, whether beading, printmaking, paper crafting, or really anything creative, I can focus on this one thing. It helps keep me in the present moment and tune out the noise from the rest of the world.”
Get plenty of rest
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but researchers have found that people who are sleep-deprived are more likely to experience negative emotions like anger and frustration. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day ahead.
It’s not always easy to get the full recommended amount of sleep every night, especially if you suffer from sleep disorders (or have kids!), but all is not lost. Delon Leung, Cyara Engineering Manager, discovered that creating a routine where he can shut his mind off from work for a chunk of time helped him manage stress and insomnia.
Delon shares, "As a person that has suffered from Insomnia, clearing my mind is a daily routine. It starts by splitting your working day into two manageable blocks, morning and afternoon. I insert any type of exercise I enjoy that allows me to shut off entirely, like swimming, running, yoga, and the gym. The key is to ignore all electronic devices during this time. It's only with this routine and ability to shut off that I gained control over my stress levels and conquered my sleeping problems."
Seek out resources
If you begin to feel overwhelmed at work, it may feel daunting to share that you are overwhelmed, but consider having one-to-one conversations with your supervisor to set boundaries and bring awareness to both your values and priorities.
Miranda Sargant, People Experience Business Partner at Cyara, tells us that it’s “Important as an organization for our processes, culture, and leadership to work together in order to promote an environment that empowers our employees. We strive to make sure our people know they have a voice and can make an impact with the things they do. The culture we’ve embraced allows for our teams to be future-focused, and retain a positive outlook in their lives.”
Additionally, look into the benefits programs your company may offer to employees when they need it. At Cyara, some of the programs available to employees include:
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAP US/AU) - a program to help employees with work-related and/or personal problems that may impact job performance, health, and mental or emotional well-being.
- ClassPass - a monthly service where employees are allotted monthly credits to use towards any ClassPass service, including fitness courses, massages, and other wellness initiatives.
- Meditation with Alok - Optional, virtual meditation sessions led by Cyara CEO, Alok Kulkarni
- Doctegrity - an employee-focused telehealth benefit that is accessible to all employees, regardless of geography, at any time.
- Unplug Revolution Toolkits - Unplug Revolution is “a mission-based company that inspires people to unplug, recharge & connect by providing digital wellness programs and creative tools.” At our recent kickoff meeting in Chicago and at an ANZ offsite, Cyarans were gifted with Toolkits that contained a scented candle, notepad and pencil, phone “sleeping bag”, and activities to help unplug, relax, and recharge.
Burnout can be managed
If, despite your best efforts, burnout is still affecting your quality of life, don't hesitate to reach out to someone you trust. Talking and spending time with a trusted friend or family member can be a huge help. They can offer support and understanding, which can go a long way in relieving your stress.
Anand Poduvath, Cyara Engineering Manager proactively took steps to help lessen the impact of stress in his life. "More people are experiencing burnout and stress post-Covid due to a number of reasons and I have intentionally taken some measures to combat the impact. Taking my kids to the park and playing with them proved to be a very easy and effective way to unwind. In addition, my regular running and exercise routines with my wife helped us stay healthy and energetic. I also find the slow yet logical approach of having people back at work and having the occasional catch-up with teams over lunch or drinks, very exciting and an easy stress-buster."
Burnout is a very real phenomenon that can have serious repercussions on every aspect of your life if left unchecked, but I hope by following these simple tips, you are able to find what works best for you to avoid burnout altogether and live a happy and fulfilling life.
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