Can burnout be prevented?


As you may have seen in the news, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon.

While strategies can be put in place at the organizational level to help employees prevent burnout, we as individuals can also make a conscious effort to be intentional with our self-care.

What is burnout anyway?

The three signs or symptoms that WHO lists are pretty much what psychologists and researchers have found over the last few decades, which are:

  • “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;

  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and

  • reduced professional efficacy.”

 My goal is to help you PREVENT from getting to that point.

Since oftentimes emotional exhaustion comes with burnout, replenishing is crucial. We’ve all heard that we cannot pour from an empty cup.

Making a conscious effort to know what drains you versus what energizes you can be a great step. Find ways throughout the day to do things that leave you feeling energized and refreshed. For example, taking breaks during your work day to take a walk, enjoy a cup of hot herbal tea, or eat a healthy meal can do wonders for restoring your energy. We each find energy in different ways so take the time to discover your source.

You can also make time to add joy in your life. Even if it is only once a week at first, create ways to spend some time each week doing something you genuinely enjoy, especially that which brings laughter back into your life. Maybe you really enjoy hiking, going to the movies, or chatting with a friend over coffee. Whatever it is that brings you joy, make time for it, and begin to incorporate it into your life. Sometimes our days are so “busy” that we start to function on autopilot, so adding joy can also help you replenish. Keep in mind, how you start your morning will also set the tone for the day.

As you can see prevention is crucial, because otherwise if we are exhausted, we will not have the energy to do things like “add joy” to our lives!

We also can create healthy boundaries around work and outside of work. Honor your need for downtime, take time to unplug, and create a hard stop time when it comes to work. How we wind down in the evenings is also important. If you answer work emails at 10pm every night, your colleagues will come to expect that. When you create boundaries, you’ll likely end up feeling more productive, energized and efficient, and your well-being will thank you.

What do you do to prevent burnout? Let us know in the comments!

To your well-being,