The pandemic has left many people feeling helpless, depressed and has taken its toll on people’s mental health and wellbeing. Prevent the lasting impacts that suicide and burnout have on families, workplaces and communities.
Understand what Burnout is.
While stress is inevitable, burnout is not. Burnout, however, occurs because of prolonged work-related stress making stress unmanageable. It is a mixture of overwhelmed emotional drainage, exhaustion and feelings of hopelessness, self-discouragement, helplessness, inadequateness and ineffectiveness combined with feeling physically fatigued. People who suffer from burnout will eventually feel a sense of loneliness, detachment and isolation.
Burnout might result in suicide which leaves lasting impacts on families, workplaces, and communities, especially if the person was close to us or filled an important role. Suicide rates are skyrocketing across the globe for a number of complexed reasons and also involve multifactorial issues. The Pandemic caused havoc world-wide, leaving economies in shambles. This massively contributed to the rise in stress levels of most people.
The signs of workplace burnout can be seen when employees disengage from customers, co-workers, patients, community members, friends and eventually even family and spouses. “The burned out mind-set becomes a mental trap” says Dr Clark Gaither in his blog “The Very Real Connections Between Job Burnout and Suicide.”
He warns that when “burned out” individuals don’t realise or detect burnout, and don’t acquire techniques and methods to deal with these issues, this will result in a severe case of depression and isolation which will make them feel trapped. They will start feeling worthless and as if they are living pointless and meaningless lives, ultimately resulting in suicide.
What can you do about burnout? Here are 5 preventative methods:
Burnout doesn’t have to be a “death sentence” in the workplace. Organisations should create awareness and educate their employees. They should encourage them to obtain coping mechanisms to eliminate and prevent burnout which will in turn decrease customer complaints, reduce staff turnover and make for better employee wellness. In many cases it is about teaching your staff to lead a balanced life and to learn to ask for help. Consider these 5 techniques:
- Find balance and cultivate a healthy lifestyle.
Everything from working reasonable hours, to eating healthy, regular exercise and getting enough sleep, falls under this category. When your life is out of balance, so is your mind. When you feel tired, you can’t rationalise issues. When you eat unhealthy your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs to deal with stressors and when you don’t exercise you don’t get rid of frustrations. Everything should work together to create a perfect balanced lifestyle to cope with daily stresses of both work and your personal life.
- Refrain from interacting with negative people.
Be mindful of who you allow to enter your mind. Joel Osteen said that “you cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” Negative people contaminate your mind with negative thoughts. They drag you down and influence your mood and state of mind which will ultimately destroy your self-esteem. Choose to surround yourself with positive people. People who motivate you and allow you to shine.
- Create meaningful community involvement.
Give something back. Get something in the community, other than your work, to throw your weight behind. Something you care about like a community project or charity event etc. You will be surprised just how relaxing and satisfying it is to give something back. Even something like joining a support group or mentoring someone else will make you feel wanted, worthy and will surround you with like-minded people. You will feel needed. You will feel appreciated and you will feel like you are worth something to someone.
- Re-evaluate your life and priorities.
Sit down and have a hard look at your current life and priorities. Bad habits are so easy to surface, especially through trying times. Try to limit ‘addictions’ like technology, alcohol etc. Take a break from social media and from technology in general. Free yourself from being forever connected. Constantly seeing someone else’s “perfect” life will make you negative and jealous. Take enough breaks along with personal time throughout the day and make time for letting your creative juices flow through other things. Your time is extremely valuable. Learn to say ‘no’ and remind yourself that your time is very important and should not be wasted on commitments you really don’t want to make.
- Reach out for Help.
Ask for help. There is no shame in admitting that you cannot do everything on your own. Create a support system for yourself. People all around you want to assist you. If they want to help you fetch the kids, or bring you some food etc. Let them. Don’t refuse just because you think that you are strong and efficient enough to handle everything. Let the people who offer, take the load off you. Admit if you need more intense help like a psychiatrist, psychologist or a support group. These professionals are trained to help with these types of issues. Strong and successful people have strong support systems.
Don’t delay leading a balanced life and getting your priorities straight. Don’t refuse help and choose wisely who you give your time to. Avoid negative people and give something back to your community. Be very aware of your feelings and practice self-care. And lastly remember the words from Patrick Pichette: “It’s important that you don’t lie to yourself. If you lie to yourself, you end up with burnout.” Suicide, because of stress and burnout, is not the answer. You are in charge of your own happiness and tomorrow will be a better day. Be mindful and focus on your wellness. Make the changes and you will lead a more fulfilled life.