Recognising Burnout: Signs, Prevention, and Self-Care Tips - 96five Family Radio

Recognising Burnout: Signs, Prevention, and Self-Care Tips

Discover the signs of burnout and how to prevent it with insights from Christian psychologist Valerie Ling.

By Steff WillisThursday 23 May 2024Health and WellbeingReading Time: 3 minutes

Burnout has become a prevalent term in our modern society, often linked to the stressors of work and daily life.

While stress is a natural part of life’s ebb and flow, burnout is a more severe condition that requires attention and action.

In a recent episode of 52Q with Steff and Micah, psychologist Valerie Ling shed light on the critical issue of burnout and offers practical advice on how to navigate through its challenges.

“Burnout is really a workplace phenomenon,” explains Valerie.

“It’s about something going on with your relationship between you and your job and your work setting.”

Unlike regular stress, which can be seasonal and transient, burnout is a prolonged stress reaction that significantly impacts one’s well-being.

Recognising the Signs of Burnout

Valerie categorises the signs and symptoms of burnout into three main areas:

Emotional and Physical Exhaustion

“You’re going to have signs of feeling fatigue… the thought of actually getting into work, it’s just a real dread” Valerie said.

Cynicism and Loss of Purpose

“You start to feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter,” Valerie explains. “There’s a sense of cynicism that sets in.”

Depersonalisation and Withdrawal

“You withdraw from people and feel a reduced sense of connection.”

“Burnout is a chronic work stress situation. You will notice that you’re making mistakes. Your concentration is really impacted. You’re forgetful. You’re feeling jittery about some of the simpler things that you used to be able to do”

Valerie recommended using a tool like the Sydney Burnout Measure (SBM) developed by Gordon Parker and colleagues to identify if you’re experiencing burnout and how severe it might be.

Strategies for Addressing Burnout

To manage and prevent burnout, both individuals and workplaces need to engage in proactive assessment. Valerie suggests regular check-ins, both personally and within the workplace.

Preventing burnout involves understanding your industry’s stress rhythms and planning accordingly. Valerie emphasizes the importance of knowing your personal stress signatures and planning leave around peak stress periods.

If you suspect you are experiencing burnout, Valerie suggests several steps:

  1. Take a Burnout Questionnaire: Tools like the Sydney Burnout Measure can provide insights into your condition.
  2. Consult a Doctor: “It’s not a bad idea to get a whole physical and medical workup,” Valerie advises, as symptoms of burnout can sometimes be related to medical conditions.
  3. Speak to a Health Professional: Professional guidance can help address both personal and workplace factors contributing to burnout.

Practical Preventative Measures

To protect against burnout, Valerie highlights several preventative measures:

  1. Protect Your Sleep: “Sleep is one of the best regenerative processes for our body and mind” Valerie said.
  2. Incorporate Movement: Regular movement helps manage stress hormones.
  3. Eat Well: Quality food supports even mood and overall health.
  4. Mindfulness Practices: These can help maintain focus on the present and reduce stress.
  5. Take Leave When Needed: If burnout is severe, taking stress leave may be necessary to reset.

For those struggling with burnout, seeking professional help and fostering supportive workplace environments can make a significant difference.

Listen to the full episode with Valerie Ling in the player below.

Feature Image: Photo by on Unsplash