Women beat men in a number of areas. For example, women live longer than men on average. But sadly, statistics show that women aren’t as good as men at taking care of their health. One study found that two thirds of women try to wait things out instead of making a doctor’s appointment when they’re sick. Only half of men say the same. Women are more likely to put off preventative care, and they’re prone to putting everyone else’s needs ahead of their own. This is why women are prone to burnout. And they’re as likely to defer mental health care as they are preventative care. Here are a few tips on how to stop yourself from burning out.
Learn What Burnout Is
Burnout was recently added to the ICD-II list of mental health disorders. It’s generally related to work or unemployment, but it can be compounded by personal demands like caring for children and relatives. The handbook does limit the diagnosis to work situations. But what is burnout? Burnout is caused by chronic stress, typically due to excessive workplace demands. Major symptoms include feelings of exhaustion, increasing mental distance from work, and reduced effectiveness at work. It’s important to understand what burnout is, so you can identify it. Then you can come up with ways to reduce it.
Start to Reduce the Stress
Here are a few ways you can reduce stress at work:
- Minimize interruptions by turning your phone and computer on silent so you don’t hear the constant pining of instant messages or notifications when you receive an email.
- Dedicate set periods of time to just working. Then you won’t feel pressured to respond to pop-up messages or check in on social media.
- Show people how to do things they’re constantly asking you to do so you don’t have to keep doing them all the time.
- Engage in meditation and take periodic breaks throughout the day. When you’re on break, disconnect from work and social media and take care of yourself.
- Turn down overtime and requests to work on weekends. Protect your personal time.
- Refuse the requests to travel or take on demanding projects when you don’t have the energy for it.
- Another tactic is learning to say no and stand by it. No, I won’t be on call over the holidays. No, I won’t check my work messages while on vacation
- Take breaks without devices. If you go for a walk in the park or meditate in a garden, do so without a phone or tablet.
- Don’t feel guilty for saying no. Agonizing over refusals will drain you emotionally.
- Limit gossip. The emotional drama is unnecessary weight for you to carry.
- Get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep hurts your health and hurts your mood. You’re more prone to burn out.
- Strive for clear communication. If they aren’t clear, demand a straightforward answer. This reduces confusion and the associated stress.
- If you aren’t sure, ask. You’d rather take a moment to be certain of what they want than do all that work for nothing.
- Don’t try to be perfect unless you’re a surgeon. Do your job well. Don’t stress and invest hours more trying to make it perfect.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’ve already poured hours into a problem, ask for help. You may get a solution far faster or help that reduces the load
- Change gears. If you’re unable to work with an untenable boss, don’t risk burning out and falling behind Ask to be reassigned.
- Talk about someone’s counter-productive management style. They may think what they’re doing is beneficial. If they won’t change, you will have at least tried.
- If the deadlines are unreasonable, say so. Managers may not know it is too much to ask.
- When life throws you a curve ball, talk to your team or manager about the situation. Don’t try to get a lot of work done when very ill or dealing with a tragedy.
- Ask if you can work from home. Even doing so one or two days a week could reduce the stress from your commute.
- Discuss the purging of difficult clients or customers. If someone requires constant hand-holding or makes impossible demands, determine if the effort is worth their business.
- Consult with your mentor to find out what you can do better.
Be Willing to Get Help
If stepping away from work and reducing your responsibilities isn’t helping, don’t hesitate to talk to a mental health professional. If you have private health coverage, it’s likely covered. If you don’t have health insurance, visit iSelect to compare health funds that will help cover these fees. Burnout may be a recently codified phenomena, but it has existed for years. Modern life, though, seems primed to cause burnout. Learn how to deal with it so that you can better cope with life in general.