Mental Health

How to talk about burnout at work

Struggling with burnout at work? Burnout happens when your body is so depleted of energy – physically, mentally, emotionally – that you feel like you can no longer cope with the everyday responsibilities and demands on your plate.

Recent research by Kalms shows that over half (55%) of women experience low motivation, closely followed by low energy levels (54%) and mood swings and increased irritability (50%). Find out more about the symptoms of burnout here.

Here, Selina Barker, a career coach and author, explains how to talk to your employer about burnout at work.

Opening conversations around burnout at work

If you’re struggling with burnout, the important thing to know is that you’re not alone.

Burnout is happening everywhere, with research highlighting that 87% of Brits have experienced symptoms over the past year. No one is immune to it and it’s been on the rise since the start of the global pandemic.

Every company needs to be having conversations about what burnout looks like and what they can do to protect their employees and help them to thrive. When talking to your employer about it, it’s important not to turn it into a blame game. Look at what needs to change so that people in the company can thrive. Happiness and wellbeing in the workplace need to be a top priority.

How to support yourself

When you’re burnt out, the number one priority has to be rest and recovery.

Burnout can build up to such a severe degree that you may need to take time off from work to fully recover. Alternatively, you might experience a milder mini-burnout. This might take a weekend or a couple of weeks of taking it slowly and prioritising lots of self-care to recover and get your energy back.

Focus on nourishing activities that help to calm your nervous system and lift your spirits. Get out in nature, talk to loving and supportive people, do simple things that bring you joy, take gentle exercise and get plenty of sleep.

The energising effects of an adaptogen can help to calm the body’s response to stress by balancing neurotransmitters in the brain, helping to relieve the effects of burnout such as exhaustion, stress and fatigue. You can find adaptogens in helpful herbal remedies, such as Life Armour’s Drops of Balance and Kalms Rhodiola. The rhodiola rose, a flowering plant with adaptogen properties, can help to restore the body’s natural equilibrium following exposure to prolonged and excessive stress.

If you’re burnt out, it’s important for your employer to show you full support. This might be by taking items off your to-do list, or signing you off from work completely. You need time to rest and recover.

How to prevent burnout

The most important thing you can do is to learn how to become a master at managing your energy. Design your working day so that you can thrive. Not only will this protect you from burnout, but it will also have you doing your best work and being at your most productive. It’s a win-win.

If you’re struggling, talk to your employer about putting energy management at the heart of the business. This will help you and your colleagues focus on how to manage energy and design a working day, allowing you – and the business – to thrive.

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