How To Prevent Burnout

This article featured on Skills Portal looks at practical tips to prevent employee burnout in the workplace.

More people are suffering from stress and don’t know what to do about it. Here are some expert tips to help you cope.

Stress has become an almost acceptable part of the modern workplace, especially in South Africa where job loss, budget cuts and economic instability is rife.

According to HR specialist Lizanne de Jong, “we are all living with a little bit of burnout on a lot of levels in the workplace”.

Things like financial burdens, spending prolonged periods in traffic, dysfunctional homes, health issues and high crime rates all add to the pressures that people face on a daily basis.

Surprisingly de Jong explains that a certain degree of stress can be beneficial, as the right amount can help us reach our maximum level of performance.

However distress can have the opposite effect. The way our bodies react to stress may differ, but there are some common effects such as; irritability, mood swings, fatigue, concentration problems, anxiety and in severe cases panic attacks.

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms it might be time to make some drastic lifestyle changes.

There are both negative and active coping skills that can be learnt. People who are not trained to manage their stress are sadly prone to developing negative habits. For example they may indulge in wishful or unattainable thinking, suicidal thoughts or blaming others.

Active coping skills are healthy ways of dealing with stress. De Jong shares some of these practical tips to prevent burnout:

Set priorities: You need to decide what is urgent or important and do that first.

Schedule your time: Don’t read your emails all day, instead set aside an hour each day to attend to individual tasks.

Delegate tasks: Look at whether you are too controlling. Make a list of your tasks and decide if you can share some of your responsibilities with someone else.

Focus on survival: If you are feeling overworked perhaps you need to ask yourself “what is the minimum I can do …that will not make the place fall apart.”

Work smarter: Create templates that can be reused to save time and energy on daily tasks.

Get a mentor: Get someone who can help you organise your priorities and live according to your core values.

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