Top tips to avoiding job burnout
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Top tips to address job burnout

Top tips to address job burnout

A recent study by Cigna showed that 92 per cent of those surveyed in the UAE experience at least one symptom of burnout compared to 90 per cent globally

Gulf Business
Isil Ata_Head of HR_Cigna Insurance MEA

Are you constantly exhausted? Do you feel that your energy is chronically drained? Are you feeling out of sorts at work and are you struggling to motivate yourself? Or simply, are you longing to get back home at the earliest opportunity, and switch off?

If you frequently experience any of the above emotions, you may be going through burnout. It is a gradual process and creeps up slowly, but the consequences can be irreversibly damaging. Therefore, the time to pause, analyse, shake it off, and take control, is now.

Many of us believe that our burnout is because of the stress and demands of our work life. Yes, job burnout is real, but it is not the only cause. We tend to think that taking a rest or a break from work will reverse our burnout.

Chances are that it will help. But there are other, less obvious factors one must consider – from unresolved emotions and wrong relationships to misplaced interest. It then becomes more emotional and spiritual, and simply taking a break from work in such cases is not a cure.

A recent study by Cigna showed that 92 per cent of those surveyed in the UAE experience at least one symptom of burnout compared to 90 per cent globally. Alarmingly, 76 per report feeling drained or tired as a top symptom of burnout, while almost 89 per cent feel they were “always on” at work. As per the study, stress was higher in the UAE as compared to globally, with 91 per cent feeling stressed due to concerns over managing personal finances and rising inflation.

The signs and symptoms of burnout are subtle at first but become worse as time passes. It is not a condition to be taken lightly.

Pushing through the exhaustion and continuing as you have been, will only cause further emotional and physical damage. Changing direction is the best solution and this can be done by learning how to overcome burnout and feel healthy and positive again.

The following steps could help:

Turn to others: When you are feeling burnt out, everything looks bleak, and it’s difficult to muster the energy to care, let alone take action to help yourself. The key is to reach out to others. Social contact is nature’s antidote to stress and talking face-to-face with a good listener is one of the fastest ways to calm your nervous system and relieve stress. Reach out to your partner, family, and friends. Being more sociable helps. Remember, hanging out with negative-minded people who do nothing but complain, will only drag you down further. If there is a negative person in your work environment, try to limit the amount of time you spend together.

Help others: Being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure and can help to significantly reduce stress as well as broaden your social circle. Helping others doesn’t involve as much lot time or effort, but the impact on your emotional and mental health can be vast.

Find a job you love: The most effective way to combat job burnout is to love what you do at work. Even in certain mundane jobs, you can often focus on how your role helps others or what aspects of the job you enjoy. In general, shifting focus to the parts of your life that bring you joy, is helpful.

Take a break: If burnout seems inevitable, try to take a complete break from work. Go on vacation, use up your sick days, or take off to recharge your batteries and pursue other methods of recovery.

Power naps: Research has proven that power naps help in avoiding burnout. Brief power naps help you remain alert, improve cognitive functioning, and reduce stress. A short nap between stressful work hours can make a huge difference. Just ensure that you choose a quiet and peaceful environment for such naps.

Reprioritise your life: Take time to think about your hopes, goals, and dreams. Rediscover what makes you happy, slow down and give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal. Don’t overextend yourself. Set a time each day to completely disconnect.

Relax a bit: Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response which will lead you to slow down from a stressful life. Keep your cool in stressful situations by getting a good night’s sleep. This will help in managing troublesome thoughts.

Get enough sleep at night: It is vital to sleep as much as your body requires and be well-rested. A good night’s sleep helps increase focus and rational thinking. It results in positive interactions and productivity in everything you do.

Exercising helps: Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress and burnout. Try to exercise for 30 minutes or more every day. A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours. Eat healthily and reduce the high intake of foods that can adversely affect your moods. Avoid caffeine, unhealthy fats, and foods with chemical preservatives or hormones.

It is important to keep an open mind as you consider various remedies to overcome stress and avoid burnout. Try not to let it undermine your health. And always remember – prolonged and untreated physical or emotional exhaustion can lead to mental health conditions and depression.

If you are worried about possible burnout, seek advice from a health professional to devise the right strategy for a healthier, peaceful future.

Isil Ata is the head of Human Resources, Cigna Insurance Middle East and Africa

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