The impact of burnout
You lose the ability to function as you usually would. Very day-to-day things like picking up a prescription from the doctors, making an appointment, or even just meeting friends, become completely overwhelming.
If you’re used to being very capable, this can be extremely challenging to overcome. The society we live in is often unforgiving and hugely demanding. It doesn’t allow for you not to function in the way you usually would. This often causes a negative spiral that obliterates confidence and makes the individual feel deeply insecure.
Recovery is a long process, and it takes time to accept that a re-evaluation of how much you’re capable of doing is essential to your wellbeing moving forward.
Advice on how to cope
Look for the positives, what are they? Burnout propels your health to the forefront, it becomes the most important thing, and you’re forced into taking good care of yourself.
A new sense of humbleness arises from this, as you realise you’re not superhuman, and it’s impossible to do it all – this time, pulling yourself together just won’t work.
Acceptance is key to recovery. So, when you’re experiencing what feels like a loss of control, which is hugely challenging to comprehend, concentrate on what you can control, be it your workload, meeting with friends and family, or spending time doing a hobby.
Think about setting boundaries with those around you. Be honest about what you can and can’t do. Put yourself first. Opening up to those closest to you makes you more human.
Over time you will slowly begin to find what works for you. Remember, life doesn’t always go the way we planned, and that’s ok. Change can be a good thing, and burnout is a giant red flag that you’re quite simply juggling too much. Experiencing it can make individuals more moderated, modest, and compassionate as a sense of perspective is forced upon you, making you realise it is normal not to be able to do everything. The most important lesson is how crucial it is to ensure you’re taking burnout seriously and putting effort into looking after yourself. If you try and brush it under the carpet, it will come back and be even more debilitating.
How to ensure that businesses are taking employee burnout seriously
The most important advice I can give is to take burnout seriously. If you don’t, you risk the employee relapsing, which will mean more sick days or even resignation from a business perspective. But, on the other hand, the more organisations help their people through hard times, the more trust and loyalty will build.
Be human about it, have honest conversations about how the individual feels, and offer benefits like flexible working to enable them to work when they’re feeling their best and most positive self. Also, offer coaching to help them through the process and develop life skills.
Amid the doom and gloom of this debilitating experience lies a huge opportunity. Burnout is a signal that things need to change, and I believe the process, although painful, can lead to much greater personal development in the long run.