Managing Burnout with Positivity

In the today’s world with lots of changes in the styles of working and managing work teams and families, burnout cases have significantly increased and was acknowledged by the WHO as a frequent occurrence in 2019. During the pandemic, the blurring of border and balance between work and life has made burnout even bigger matter of concern. A recent survey on global mental health found that more than 40% of the employees feel more levels of stress when compared to the times before the pandemic.

It can be hard to predict when one will be affected by stress or burnout. People may feel varying levels of fatigue and low feeling, and we usually get to realize stress and burnout pretty later after it has seeped in. The good news is that there are wats one can do to avoid stress and burnout from reaching high levels.

In order to understand when we are on the road to burnout, we need to watch out for the following signs:
• Feeling like every day is a bad day
• Caring about your life and work and related issues seems very energy and time consuming
• Feeling fatigued and exhausted often
• Feeling unvalued or unappreciated for your efforts

Let us also point on the personality traits that can contribute to burnout:
• Perfectionist and high achieving tendencies: feeling that nothing is ever good enough
• Pessimistic view of self, others and the environment
• The need to be in control: reluctance to delegate to others

Another major thing we need to understand in order to manage and avoid stress / burnout is to identify when we are stressed and when burnt-out. Although the two terms are usually interchanged, their major difference is that unmanaged stress turns into burnout. The following are some observable differences between stress and burnout, which we can use to identify our states of mind.

Characterized by over engagement
Emotions are over reactive
Produces urgency and hyperactivity
Loss of energy
Leads to anxiety disorders
Primary damage is physical  
Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are blunted
Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is emotional  

One technique recommended by psychologists to manage and prevent burnout is the ‘Three R’ approach.

  • Recognize – Watch for the warning signs of burnout.
  • Reverse – Undo the damage by managing stress and seeking support.
  • Resilience – Build your resilience to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional health.

Few more ways to cope with these feelings and personality traits are:
• Start the day with a relaxing ritual.
• Adopt healthy life-style habits
• Set boundaries: Don’t overextend yourself. Learn how to say “no” and “I don’t know”
• Take a daily break from technology: Reduce screen time and disconnect from external stressors
• Nourish your creative side – Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout.
• Fell free and trust others by delegating work and giving work responsibility

Sometimes the best and the most productive job we can do is to ‘JUST RELAX’!

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