For the first time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is recognising ‘burnout’ in its International Classification of Diseases.
Announced at its recent annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, WHO defined burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.
They characterised the condition as such:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
A recent Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that more than 65% reported feeling burned out at work on some level.
Why are we all so exhausted? Our brains are simply not designed to deal with modern-day life. As technology has evolved at an unmanageable rate, we haven’t stopped to acknowledge the drain it has on our ability to think straight. At work, the increasing emphasis on productivity and the relentless pace leaves people in a permanent state of fight or flight. This state originally evolved to keep humans alive when being chased by lions. But facing that kind of pressure day in and day out makes for a steady surge of stress hormones that leaves your employees’ bodies struggling to fight.
When we’re not at work, our 24/7 culture can make it difficult to turn off. With no chance to recharge our minds and bodies, our batteries are constantly running low.
So what can you do to help, both yourself and your employees?
There is always a silver lining. In fact, there are proven ways to not only manage burnout, but to build energy for high-performance at work and enjoyment of life outside of it.
The key is to build workforce resilience. Resilient people are 60% less likely to suffer burnout. We have found that there are four kinds of energy: physical, mental, emotional and motivational. We rely on a mix of each energy source to get us through the day. The goal is to support and maintain a steady, healthy flow of energy—without forcing it beyond its limits—and resilience methods and techniques can be our guide.
Four kinds of energy:
- Physical Energy
Taking care of yourself is not a luxury. It’s a necessity, with multiple studies proving that self-care helps you beat burnout, stay engaged at work and remain present with your family. Though it’s often portrayed as a day at the spa or a candlelit bubble bath, self-care is about much more than pampering yourself. It’s about taking time to attend to your own needs.
- Mental Energy
Our brains are wired towards negative thinking, which amplifies our stress and zaps our mental energy. But with practice, we can catch our negative thoughts in action, which makes it easier to stay in the present moment and stop stress before it starts.
- Emotional Energy
Most of us have to-do lists that never seem to end. As a result, we tend to focus on the stuff we haven’t done, which can leave us feeling emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed. On the other hand, keeping track of your wins, even the small ones, boosts your emotional energy by building a sense of progress into each day.
- Motivational Energy
For most of us, evenly dividing our time and energy between work and home is unrealistic—but that doesn’t stop us from trying. This tension is fuelled by Iceberg Beliefs: big, primarily subconscious beliefs about how the world “should” be. Icebergs often lead us to expect more of ourselves that we can reasonably accomplish, which creates stress and drains our motivation.
The energy that fuels employees is as dynamic as their brains are and attending to all four types will recharge their collective battery and offer a sustainable foundation to thrive from.
For further support & advice contact EAP Assist.