According to a recent Gallup study of nearly 7 500 full-time employees, burnt-out employees are 63% more likely to take sick leave, are 23% more likely to visit the emergency room, are 2.6 times more likely to leave their current employer and are 13% less confident in their performance.
Studies by Daniela Kaufer, associate professor at the University of California in the US have shown that acute but short-lived stress is good to “push you just to the level of optimal alertness, behavioural and cognitive performance”.
However, being exposed to long periods of excessive pressure or extreme stress over a short period can lead to underperformance, feelings of being overwhelmed, hopelessness, loss of meaning in your job, and feeling emotionally drained and unable to cope with your job.
Burnout results in physical, emotional and psychological exhaustion, which is often accompanied by feelings of helplessness, self-doubt, being unmotivated, and feeling defeated and fatigued in every area of life.
However, there are ways to regain your balance and feel empowered and positive about life once more. Here are six strategies to build resilience to stress and keep going until the end of the year:
Reframe the way you see your work
Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Changing your attitude can help you regain a sense of purpose and control. Look for something that you enjoy in your work – be it connecting with others, assisting a fellow colleague or providing a service that positively affects someone’s life.
Redefine your relationship
Growing up around extreme work habits among family members may cause you to put undue pressure on your work performance, leading you to perpetuate behaviours of working long hours without taking a break.
Notice patterns, such as not switching off when you leave the office, and replace them with a greater sense of self-acceptance, recognition and self-nurturing by giving yourself time out to recharge.
Create ways to nurture yourself physically, emotionally and mentally by exercising daily, meditating, eating nourishing food such as fresh fruit and foods rich in Omega-3 oils (sardines, salmon, almonds), and getting at least seven hours of sleep each night.
Learn to say “no” to additional requests on your time so that you can focus on your own priorities. Set aside times for relaxation and disconnection from technology, especially half an hour before you go to sleep, so that you are not further bombarded with information.
Well known life coach Jim Rohn said that we’re the average of the five people in our lives. Keep this in mind and surround yourself with people who have a supportive and positive outlook on life.
Sharing your thoughts and feelings can help relieve stress. Although isolation may feel preferable during this time, it is important to connect with friends, family, your co-workers or to join a support group.
Recovering from or avoiding burnout means preserving your energy. Notice your working patterns and be vigilant about taking breaks. Remembering that you always have this choice helps you to start feeling more in control of your life, enabling you to build up the resilience and positive outlook that will keep you buoyant until the start of the holiday season.
Rabson is wellness counsellor at Boston City Campus & Business College