Symptoms to look for:

  • Exhaustion
  • Cynicism
  • Avoiding previously pleasurable activities
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep disruption – difficulty getting to sleep and/or staying asleep
  • Physiological symptoms like headaches, gut, and bowel issues
  • Relying on unhelpful coping mechanisms like alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs/medication in a way that negatively impacts your ability to function.

Management Strategies:

  • Prioritise self-care: eat well, exercise and make time for mindfulness and rest. These points may sound obvious to some, but these are the basic pillars that sustain us and are also some of the first areas we neglect in a stress response.
  • Locus of control: So many aspects of work and life sit outside our control. Focusing on what is within your circle of influence can provide a sense of agency and lead to achievable goals. Consider what aspects of your life you have control over (your choices, your behaviour, your actions) and attend to those. Don’t borrow worries that have not happened yet.
  • Lower your expectations: it’s okay that we’re not all producing masterworks or achieving our stretch goals at the moment. You have permission to go into defensive mode at times. Setting realistic and agile goals that can be adjusted to suit the constant changes will help reduce some of the pressure.
  • Turn to others: a sense of isolation correlates with increased vulnerability to burnout. Talk to your people for connection and to normalise your experiences. Sometimes speaking to an objective person outside your immediate network can also assist in addressing burnout symptoms.