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burnout

Burnout: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Strategies 

By Workplace Culture

In today’s rapidly evolving and demanding work environments, the looming spectre of burnout has grown more significant than ever. The daily grind and personal and professional pressures can take a toll on both employees and the organizations they work for. 

Recognizing the signs, understanding the root causes, and working to combat burnout has become necessary for leaders and employers alike. This article will delve deeply into burnout, concentrating on how employers and leaders can play a pivotal role in preventing, identifying, and addressing this pervasive issue. 

Signs and Symptoms of Burnout 

So, how does burnout happen? 

Burnout doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a gradual process that can sneak up on you. Early signs and symptoms are like red flags, indicating something is amiss and should be addressed. 

Learn to notice the first signs of burnout, which fall into three categories.

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

  • Feeling exhausted and drained most of the time.
  • Lowered immunity, leading to frequent illnesses
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Changes in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

  • Sense of failure and self-doubt.
  • Consistently sad, overwhelmed, or stressed, even over small issues. 
  • Detachment from loved ones.
  • Lack of motivation and an increasingly cynical and negative outlook.
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
  • Loss of Interest in activities once enjoyed can feel like chores, leading to mindless activities and social media scrolling.

Behavioural Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities.
  • Isolating from others.
  • Procrastinating and taking longer to complete tasks
  • Quickly becoming irritated with colleagues or clients.
  • Skipping work, coming in late, and leaving early.
  • Reduced Productivity and diminished performance.

Depression Vs Burnout 

Many people struggle with depression. While burnout and depression have similar symptoms, they are not the same thing. 

depression vs burnout

Stress Vs Burnout 

If you’re feeling stressed because of an approaching deadline or an interview, which is entirely different than burnout, here is how they are different. 

Stress vs Burnout

What Causes Burnout? 

Burnout can be either circumstantial or existential. Understanding which type you are experiencing can help you customize your recovery approach. 

Chronic stress is the leading cause of burnout, worsened by situational and individual factors. At its core, burnout comes from overlooking the importance of rest. The Effort-Recovery Theory explains that every task consumes us psychologically and cognitively and that recovery through breaks is essential. 

Here are the different factors that might cause burnout. 

Individual Factors

  • Pursuing perfectionism across all aspects of one’s work without considering priorities.
  • Overemphasizing the significance of work, making it the sole focus of one’s life.
  • Low self-esteem, cognitive rigidity, emotional instability, and an external locus of control
  • Difficulty in setting boundaries
  • Having high expectations of oneself and an amplified professional conscience.
  • Struggling with delegation or team collaboration in a stressful environment.
  • Inadequate adaptation strategies, including dependence, poor time management, a high need for support, unwise lifestyle habits, and challenging interpersonal relationships.
  • Possessing a highly driven, ‘A-type’ personality with a strong inclination toward competitiveness and a need for control.

Situational Factors

  • Overwhelming workloads and work overload.
  • Values conflict on the job, where a discrepancy exists between personal and organizational values, leading to stress as workers grapple with the divergence between their beliefs and job requirements.
  • Struggling to maintain a work-life balance because of family responsibilities
  • A lack of control and an inability to participate in decisions related to one’s work
  • Insufficient reward and recognition, encompassing financial compensation, esteem, and respect, can devalue an individual’s contributions and heighten feelings of inefficacy.
  • A ‘Toxic’ Community is characterized by unresolved conflicts, a lack of psychological support, poor communication, and mistrust.
  • Unfair treatment or incivility in the workplace leads to cynicism, anger, and hostility.
  • Poorly defined responsibilities, ambiguous roles, and demanding schedules that persist over time.
  • Unclear Expectations and uncertainty about roles and expectations can lead to stress and frustration.

What are the consequences of untreated Burnout?

Burnout is so dangerous if left untreated. It’s not a wave to ride. Ignoring symptoms or not giving yourself the rest your body needs will lead to severe consequences. You may find yourself stuck in a cycle of burnout that would take years to get out of.

Untreated burnout might also lead to physical illnesses. Some people reported that it led to physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle pains, and depression. 

How to Recover from Burnout 

Burnout is a significant problem which impacts personal well-being and business success. The best strategy to overcome burnout is to react once you recognize signs of it. The earlier you act, the better it will be to prevent and overcome burnout. 

Here is a recovery plan with some activities and lifestyle changes you can try to recover from burnout.

Identify Symptoms and Triggers

  • Recognize and Acknowledge Burnout
  • Understand the signs and symptoms, and be honest with yourself about your mental and emotional state.
  • Figure out the culprit. This will allow you to step away from the stressors. For example, it could be that you haven’t taken any time off in a while or that you’re working on a project that doesn’t align with your work, etc. 

Reevaluate Work & Life

  • Consider adjusting your work environment and readjust your work-life balance
  • Discuss workload or other concerns with your supervisor.
  • Seek Support and communicate with your employer and HR to seek mental health support
  • Consider taking a break from work to rest and recharge. Use this time to focus on self-care and relaxation.
  • Implement lifestyle changes to restructure your life and break the cycle.
  • Reflect on your goals and values to ensure they align with your personal interests and well-being. Make adjustments if necessary.

Inefficacy Recovery

  • Prioritize tasks based on motivation (want-to goals) and necessity (have-to goals).
  • Identify inefficiencies and remove unnecessary steps.
  • Assess the perceived attainability of your goals.

Exhaustion Recovery

  • Reset your sleep schedule: Consistent sleep schedules and relaxing bedtime activities can help you sleep better. Taking naps might help you rest during the day.
  • Allocate time for hobbies, leisure, and activities that bring you joy.
  • Prioritize nourishing meals, eat a balanced diet and avoid fast food even if you use meal kits or grocery delivery to reduce stressors.
  • Exercise can improve your mental health and reduce depression and anxiety. You don’t need much gear to start, or you can set up a home gym.
  • Engage in self-care activities that promote relaxation and stress relief. 

Cynicism Recovery 

  • Reframe Your approach/avoidance goals
  • Split your goals into approach-focused and avoidance-focused tasks.
  • Reframe avoidance-focused goals into approach-focused ones.
  • Set implementation intentions for goals that remain in the avoidance-focused category

Mental Health Recovery

  • Journaling can be an effective method to track your habits and mood in an analog and private way, as well as reflect on what matters to you in your career and personal life.
  • Practice self-compassion. Cut yourself some slack and normalize taking time to recover.
  • Track your stress levels can help you spot and reduce stress when you’re overwhelmed.
  • Implement stress management techniques into your daily routine, such as meditation, breathing exercises, calming massages, and relaxation playlists.
  • Establish personal and professional boundaries. Learn to say no to additional commitments when necessary to protect your well-being.
  • Talk to your friends and family about your stress levels and accept their support. 
  • Talk to a mental health professional who can provide expert advice and guidance.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Burnout? 

The recovery length varies from person to person, the situation, but the strategies and timing of the intervention you apply can make a big difference. 

Because of variation, recovery time can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years.

Recovering from burnout can be a challenging journey, but it’s possible with the right strategies and support. Remember that burnout recovery is a personal journey, and it may take time. Be patient with yourself and prioritize self-care as you work toward a healthier, more balanced life.

Positive Company Culture

6 Ways To Create A Positive Company Culture

By Workplace Culture

Contrary to the common belief, a positive company culture is not pizza, ping pong tables, or company swag. Corporate culture is more than that.

A Glassdoor survey suggests that 77% of prospective employees consider company culture before applying. Leadership is critical in shaping and maintaining a positive workplace culture through actions, policies, and communication. 

So, what is a positive company culture? 

A positive company culture is a positive attitude that creates an environment within an organization that cultivates collaboration, productivity, and satisfaction among its employees. 

The term “company culture” refers to a shared set of beliefs, values, attitudes, standards, purposes and behaviours that prevail in a workplace. It includes explicit and implicit rules that guide the actions and decisions made by people within an organization. Your company’s culture is the total of what you and your colleagues think, say, and do as you work together. It is an essential aspect of the workplace that shapes the behaviours and attitudes of everyone involved.

Benefits of a positive company culture 

A positive workplace culture has numerous benefits, including higher employee morale, increased productivity, lower turnover rates, enhanced creativity and innovation, and a better ability to attract and retain top talent.  

 Creating a positive company culture is crucial to attract and retain top talent. Here are six ways to cultivate such a culture: 

1. Define and Communicate Your Company Values

Company values are the foundation of your culture. They define the principles and beliefs that guide your organization’s actions and decisions. Start by identifying the core values that resonate with your company’s mission and vision. These values should reflect what your organization stands for and how it operates. 

Once you’ve defined your values, communicate them clearly and consistently throughout your organization. This can be done through employee handbooks, internal training, and regular reminders in company meetings. Ensure that your values are not just words on paper but are actively integrated into your daily operations. 

For example, if one of your core values is “innovation,” encourage employees to develop creative solutions to problems, reward innovative ideas, and invest in research and development projects. 

2. Foster Inclusivity and Diversity

In today’s diverse and globalized workforce, inclusivity and diversity are essential components of a positive company culture. Foster an inclusive environment by valuing and respecting individuals of all backgrounds. Prioritize diversity in your hiring processes and promote equal career growth and development opportunities. 

Implement diversity and inclusion training programs to educate employees on their importance. Encourage open conversations about diversity-related issues and actively seek input from underrepresented groups in decision-making processes. 

 By fostering inclusivity and diversity, you attract a wider pool of top talent and benefit from a range of perspectives that can drive innovation and creativity within your organization. 

3. Prioritize Employee Well-being 

Employee well-being is a critical factor in attracting and retaining top talent. A workplace culture that prioritizes the physical and mental well-being of its employees demonstrates a genuine concern for their welfare. Consider implementing the following strategies to prioritize well-being: 

  • Offer wellness programs: Provide resources for physical fitness, stress management, and mental health support. 
  • Flexible work arrangements: Allow employees to balance work and personal life by offering flexible scheduling and remote work options.
  • Encourage breaks: Promote regular breaks during the workday to reduce burnout and increase productivity.
  • Recognize and address burnout: Monitor employee workloads and provide support when necessary to prevent burnout.

Employees who feel cared for and supported in their well-being will likely remain loyal to your organization and perform at their best. 

 4. Promote Professional Growth 

Top talent seeks opportunities for growth and development within their careers. Create a culture that invests in employees’ professional development by offering training, mentorship programs, and career advancement opportunities. 

Regular feedback and coaching help employees improve. They identify areas to excel and provide support to succeed. Together, they help achieve potential and contribute to success.  

Encourage a culture of continuous learning and innovation by rewarding employees for acquiring new skills or certifications. 

By investing in your employees’ growth, you attract top talent and ensure they remain engaged and motivated to contribute their best to your organization. 

5. Recognize and Reward Achievements 

Implement a rewards and recognition program that acknowledges individual and team achievements to show appreciation for hard work and contributions from employees. This can include; 

  • Monetary incentives 
  • Promotions 
  • Public recognition or other tangible rewards. 

However, recognition doesn’t always have to be extravagant. Simple gestures like saying “thank you” or giving personalized feedback can go a long way in making employees feel valued. Regularly celebrate milestones, work anniversaries, and project successes to reinforce a culture of appreciation. 

 When employees know their efforts are appreciated, and their contributions are making a difference, they are more likely to remain committed to their job.  

6. Foster Open Communication 

Effective communication is the backbone of a positive company culture. Encourage employees to share their ideas, concerns, and feedback openly. Actively listen to employee input and take action to address their suggestions. 

 Hold regular team meetings, one-on-one check-ins, and anonymous suggestion boxes to gather input from employees at all levels of the organization. Use surveys and feedback mechanisms to assess employee satisfaction and make improvements based on their responses. 

 Transparent communication builds trust, empowers employees, and creates a sense of ownership in the organization. It also helps identify and address issues before they become major problems. 

In today’s highly competitive job market, a positive company culture can be a decisive factor in attracting and retaining top talent. It is an investment that pays off in the form of a stronger, more resilient, and more successful organization. As companies continue to evolve, adapt, and grow, nurturing and sustaining a positive culture will remain a cornerstone of their long-term success. 

work life balance

Work-Life Balance Tips (as told by Career Edge staff)

By Workplace Culture
After having to work remotely for many months now, finding a healthy work-life balance can seem difficult. And for the parents out there who are in the swing of the back-to-school season and thinking about how to manage your kids’ remote learning, a healthy work-life balance can seem downright impossible.

But that doesn’t make it any less vital – to decrease stress, to avoid burnout, to strengthen mental and physical health, and so much more.

So, Career Edge’s very own staff are offering their own tried and true tips and techniques to those who are finding it a challenge keeping a healthy work-life balance right now. Read More

Attract The Right “Fit” With Your Company’s Culture

By Workplace Culture

In its Code of Conduct, Google self-identifies as a dog company. Zappos, online shoes and clothes retailer, considers creating “fun and a little weirdness” one of its company core values. Virgin allows its staff to take as many vacation days as they want. These three companies, who have been consistently voted as some of the best companies to work at, are among the many employers who are striving to effectively define their company’s corporate culture, in order to attract and retain the right kind of talent for their organization.

Creating and communicating a company culture that positively reflects your organization boils down to one critical question: what does the organization value above all else?

By identifying the key principals and standards that the organization upholds, employers are able to foster a company culture that not only showcases these values, but also aligns with the overall corporate image. As one of Zappos’s core values is creating “fun and a little weirdness,” for example, it can be assumed that its corporate culture is non-traditional, open and creative.

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