Are you so exhausted you can’t move a muscle? Is the weight of responsibilities too much to bear? Does going into work fill you with dread? If any of these apply to you, you might be experiencing burnout.
Unfortunately, burnout is by no means a rare phenomenon — a study found that over 822,000 UK workers suffered from work-related anxiety, depression or stress in 2020 and 2021.
As burnout becomes more and more common in the workplace, it falls to both employers and employees to do something about it. In this article, we’ll explain burnout, its causes, common symptoms, and how to recover from burnout if you’re already suffering from it.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion caused by overexertion and excessive and prolonged stress.
Although it is commonly caused by work-related stress, it can also come from other situations such as draining relationships or accumulated stress in our daily lives as a result of major change.
No matter what the source of stress is, being burnt out will have negative consequences for almost every aspect of your life. In fact, research has shown that burnout not only affects your wellbeing, your brain and performance but can cause strain on relationships too. That’s why it’s crucial for us to know how to spot and treat burnout.
Signs you’re burnt out
Burnout and depression share many similar symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Increased cynicism and negative outlook
- Decreased productivity and quality of work
- Persistent tiredness
- Sleep deprivation
- Increased sugar/alcohol consumption
Additionally, if you’re feeling hopeless about your job, relationships or life in general, like nothing you do matters, or that the world is against you, then you might be burnt out.
How to treat burnout
The first step in recovering from burnout is to recognize that something needs fixing. That something stressful has gone on for too long and it has taken its toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. Then, you can begin your recovery process.
We’ve gathered a number of tips to guide you through overcoming mild cases of burnout below. In more severe cases, we advise our Cooplers to reach out to more appropriate sources of support such as your local GP and online NHS mental health support lines for advisory guidance. Remember, you are not alone in your struggle.
Find a healthy work-life balance
As the Coople mantra goes: work to live, don’t live to work! Life is about more than just the 9-5 grind — or whatever flexible hours you choose as a Coopler.
Pursue creative endeavours, invest time in your interests and social life to reconnect with life outside of work and deadlines.
Take time for yourself
Exercise, a quality sleep schedule, nourishing meals and proper “me time” — these are all touted regularly as treatments for stress and other similar ailments, and for good reason.
Having a solid self-care routine can do wonders for the busy individual, so make sure you’re setting time aside each day to disconnect from work and focus on yourself and your wellbeing.
If you’re reaching capacity on what you can manage in your personal and work life, don’t be afraid to take a stance and say “no”. If you feel you’re on the cusp of burnout, take some action before it’s too late and your work and relationships are impacted.
If you feel burnout coming it’s also a good idea to take a step back to assess the underlying cause. Are you working too many long nights? Is the job hunt overwhelming you? Are your social obligations, fitness goals and home life on top of your work aspirations too much to handle? Once you pinpoint the root, you can do something about it.
Most of all, remember you’re not alone in this struggle. When life feels like it’s too much for you to handle alone, remember you don’t have to. Talk to family, friends or co-workers about what you’re going through — chances are they’ve struggled with burnout themselves.
If your job is causing most of the stress, try delegating if at all possible, or speak with your manager about what’s going on. They’re probably all too familiar with burnout and will help take a load off your shoulders.
Consider finding a new job
Most people spend a majority of their time working, and that’s not liable to change. But it comes down to both employers and workers to keep tabs on their well being and mental health to make that time as enjoyable and productive as possible. If your current job does not value your mental health and well being, then it might be time to find a new job that will.
Remember, you are not alone
Whether you work in a corporate office, are run off your feet in hospitality, or are at the computer each day at home, if you’re suffering from burnout there are sources of support you can reach out to. We encourage you to speak to your GP or call the NHS by dialling 111 for advice on treatment and recovery. Alternatively, you can reach out to our team at +44 20 8338 9333 for advice and further support.