Workplace, Mental Health, Mindfulness 3 minute read

Beating Burnout

We’ve all felt it at some point in our working lives. Looking up from your work to realise it’s nearly dinner time or lying awake in bed unable to get to sleep because of a seemingly never ending to-do list. Or the worst of all, waking to a feeling of dread when you realise you have to face another day at work.

Yep, we’re talking about burnout. 

 

It can be easy to justify going the extra mile when you’re seeing the results at work, but going the extra mile can also become a risk to our health when it starts impeding on our lives outside of the office. Although it’s important to note burnout isn’t just characterised or caused by working overtime hours.

image-from-rawpixel-id-259968-jpeg

The original definition of burnout, a term coined by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger in the 1970s had three components: emotional exhaustion, depletion of empathy, caring and compassion and a decreased sense of accomplishment1.

Burnout can be caused by anything which imposes mental or physical stress, including poor sleep resulting from an overactive mind, or poor relationships within work settings that are creating unnecessary stress. If you’ve ever felt the light that ignites you fizzle out, chances are you have experienced burnout.

According to Safe Work Australia, about $543 million is paid out in workers’ compensation for work-related mental health conditions every year2. And of those claims, roughly 91% are attributed to mental stress with the biggest reason cited being general work pressure.

That’s a massive amount of money spent on addressing the symptoms of an issue that’s preventable when the right structures, tools, and strategies are available to a business and its employees. Addressing burnout isn’t just good for staff, it’s also good for a business’ bottom line.

Identifying Signs of Burnout

  • Poor work quality

    If you’re noticing the quality of your own or a team member’s work dropping, especially after a busy period, it could be a sign of burnout. Burnout can be related to the pressure to perform, which can result in overworking, poor sleep quality, strained professional relationships, and overall a negative mindset towards work. If you or someone in your team is regularly working late, it might be a good idea to check in and ask the question – is this necessary or simply compensating for a bigger problem?

image-from-rawpixel-id-2204579-jpeg-1

  • Absenteeism & a lack of focus

    A loss of motivation and enthusiasm for work can result in employees simply not showing up , literally and mentally. Not showing up can take the form of tardiness, a lack of presence at meetings, or taking regular sick or stress leave. If a team member seems distracted or isn’t contributing as much in meetings as they usually do, this might be a sign they are experiencing mental fatigue which goes hand-in-hand with burnout. 

  • Changes in demeanour

    This can be the most subtle and easiest sign to miss. Whether it’s a gradual or sudden shift in behaviour, if you suspect someone isn’t feeling like their usual self at work, proactively take the opportunity to reach out to them and simply ask the question – are you okay? 

Two young businesswomen having a meeting in the office sitting at a desk having a discussion with focus to a young woman wearing glasses

Preventative Strategies

  • Celebrate the wins

    Studies show those who carve out time to express gratitude are happier and less worried about their present and future3. If you or your team have just finished an important project or made it through a massive week, find a way to celebrate and say thank you to yourself and your team for all their hard work. Creating a culture of gratitude and recognition is fundamental to creating a culture of positivity.

  • Team building activities

    Getting to know your colleagues better is a sure-fire way to keep burnout at bay. And strong collegiate relationships start with great listening and teamwork skills. Whether it’s a physical activity or a workshop, putting time aside to prioritise just getting to know each other a little better can go a long way in preventing and identifying signs of burnout in your team. 

pexels-fauxels-3184291

  • Take care of yourself

    You know what this looks like better than anyone, but we all need the reminder sometimes – you need to help yourself before you can help somebody else. If you take a moment simply to check in with you, it can help to catch burnout at the early stages. Dedicating time to being honest with yourself and practicing noticing your present state of being in a non-judgemental way is the first step in self-care. Working your way up to regular, even daily acts of connection, rest and self-compassion will help to strengthen your mind. If making this a part of your routine has been hard for you, a great place to start is the Smiling Mind App - we have options for businesses, too! 

If you would like to know more about how your business can support the mental health and wellbeing of employees and prevent burnout, we're here to help.

Check out our Workplace Programs or if you’re ready to book a session, get in touch with our team through the button below to customise a program to suit your business.

 

Learn more about our workplace program

 

1Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski

2SafeWork

3Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

Smiling Mind

Written by Smiling Mind

Latest

5 minutes with illustrator, Ben Sanders

Ben spends his days drawing and writing in his little studio in Ballarat, Victoria. Some days he illustrates for interna...

Self care, Informal mindfulness 3 minute read

Responding to the “hidden” youth mental health crisis

Throughout the 18 long months of the COVID pandemic, a parallel mental health crisis has been growing in the shadows. No...

Children, Students, Mental Health 2 minute read

R U OK? - Getting the most out of checking in

So you asked “R U OK?”, and they said, “I’m fine”. What now?

Workplace, Mental Health, Mindfulness 3 minute read

R U OK? - And are you really listening?

Attention - it’s one of the hardest mental skills to master, yet one of the greatest gifts you can give another person. ...

Workplace, Mental Health, Mindfulness 2 minute read
Quote of the week
“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.”
Pema Chödrön

At home

Responding to the “hidden” youth mental health crisis

Throughout the 18 long months of the COVID pandemic, a parallel mental health crisis has been growing in the shadows. No...

Children, Students, Mental Health 2 minute read

5 simple ways to get your kids into mindfulness

Mindfulness has many benefits for your mental health, which is equally as important as your physical health. 

Children, Family 4 minute read

How mindfulness can help during Coronavirus

We are living through an unprecedented and uncertain time, requiring each of us to navigate our way, as best we can, thr...

Children, Family, Parents, Anxiety 6 minute read

At Work

R U OK? - Getting the most out of checking in

So you asked “R U OK?”, and they said, “I’m fine”. What now?

Workplace, Mental Health, Mindfulness 3 minute read

R U OK? - And are you really listening?

Attention - it’s one of the hardest mental skills to master, yet one of the greatest gifts you can give another person. ...

Workplace, Mental Health, Mindfulness 2 minute read

Beating Burnout

We’ve all felt it at some point in our working lives. Looking up from your work to realise it’s nearly dinner time or ly...

Workplace, Mental Health, Mindfulness 4 minute read

At school

5 minutes with Principal, Tip Kennedy.

Meet Tip Kennedy. Tip is a principal at Richmond West, an inner Melbourne primary school that recently received its very...

Teachers, Schools 3 minute read

Which Smiling Mind Space is right for your school?

We are all influenced by our surroundings and as we explored in our previous post, the various ‘spaces’ in our lives are...

Teachers, Schools 4 minute read

How a mindful space can support your students

Since 2012, Smiling Mind has supported healthy minds thrive in Australian schools by providing tools that develop life-l...

Teachers, Schools 3 minute read

News

Partnership Announcement - Kmart

We are excited today to announce a new partnership between Smiling Mind and Kmart. Built on a shared vision of a happier...

Mental Health, Media release 1 minute read

Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System is a game changer for mental health prevention

Smiling Mind has supported findings released today from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, speci...

Media release 1 minute read

New mental health program to support 600 schools across regional and rural Australia

As students settle into classrooms for the new school year, leading mental health not-for-profit Smiling Mind has opened...

Media release 2 minute read
Recent initiatives
Screen Shot 2020-11-16 at 3.30.05 pm

NAIDOC Week with Jack Charles