Burnout: how to recognise it and what to do about it

Do you feel endlessly tired, confused, brain fog blurring the easiest of tasks, perhaps even glued to your sofa, unable to move, let alone take a shower or cook a meal? Then this blog post might be for you. In our last session, we discussed burnout, how to recognise it and what to do about it.

Led by Joanna Denton, a two-time TEDx speaker, and a burnout buster herself, a group of nearly 30 women discussed and shared their own experience with stress triggers.

What is burnout?

Burnout is defined as a syndrome relating to unmanaged work stress, so finding yourself in such a situation requires immediate and decisive action.

Its symptoms, however, can be similar to those of depression, and potentially also menopause. One of the biggest challenges with burnout over the years has been actually defining it and deciding what it is. This also why it’s never wise to self-diagnose and actually seek medical advice.

People working while unwell

Stress is one of the main culprits leading to burnout. When it comes to stress at work, all experiences seemed to gravitate around the same causes: high demands of the job, sense of unfairness, insufficient reward, the impact of technology, expectations to be available 24/7 while working from home, lack of resources, unsupportive or incompetent boss, part-time job turning full-time in reality, inability to “disconnect” and juggling many demands – just to name a few.

What can you do when you feel overwhelmed?

Joanna suggested five small actions you can take or consider when you feel that you’re approaching burnout:

  • Self-compassion – give yourself a break. It’s all right not to do everything perfectly or to delegate. Some tasks can actually wait.
  • Self-care is not about ‘me, not you’, it’s about ‘me too‘. It is not about being selfish. It is simply acknowledging your own needs. Go for a walk, do some sports if it feels right, cuddle with your pet, practice some yoga. Breathe…
  • Do any one damn thing. Pick a simple task, perhaps the one requiring the shortest time and least effort to complete, and do it. Sense of accomplishment will help you move forward.
  • Find your people. Find people you can rely on, talk to your friends or family regularly; sometimes getting help with the household chores makes a huge difference.
  • No’ can be a complete sentence. Indeed saying ‘no’ is not about the refusal, it is about weighing the task from our perspective and deciding to pass on it. Try saying no from time to time. Practice makes perfect.

To find out more about Joanna, follow this link. If you feel overwhelmed and need to connect, The Network is here for you, too. Drop us a line at info@thenetwork.lu or at our online contact form. We will get back to you in the shortest of delays.