Employee Burnout Recovery Plan

The term “burnout” has become increasingly common, especially in the last few years. In fact, since 2015, global online searches for this term have increased by 2,500 %. According to a recent study, more than 70 % of people have gone through a burnout phase in the last year, while a quarter of UK employees have admitted reaching a psychological breaking point. 

There are multiple complex factors behind the spread of burnout amongst workers, and one of them is the lack of support for mental health needs in the workplace. In this article, you can find out more information on how you can look after yourself when going through a burnout episode. If you’re an employer, you can also find some tips on how to support employees who are struggling with this issue. 

How can you recognise burnout in the workplace? 

Burnout manifests in constant tiredness and irritability that cannot seem to go away with sleep. Your productivity is not as great, and you tend to have a rather pessimistic overview of life. Besides, that state of exhaustion and low energy seems to be your normal mood. If so, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your current habits, as you might be vulnerable to a burnout episode. 

While feeling tired from time to time shouldn’t necessarily be a cause of concern, having to drag yourself to work every day is not normal. Burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that shows you’ve reached your limits and need to recharge. 

Look out for symptoms like:

  • Cynicism about the work you do 
  • Losing drive and passion for things you used to enjoy
  • Feeling that you have no resources to cope with things that require minimal effort
  • Waking up tired, with no joy or energy for the day ahead. 

Burnout doesn’t go away on its own. This is why it is essential that you recognise its first signs and take action to recharge your batteries. 

Employee burnout recovery plan – how to apply it in the workplace

If you recognise that you are suffering from burnout, try to immediately apply some solutions to prevent further issues. Unaddressed burnout can easily lead to depression and other mental health issues, so it’s important that you take action immediately. 

Learn to ask for help

Even if asking for help is not something you’d normally do, it would be useful in helping you recover from burnout. See in which areas you’d particularly benefit from extra support — is it at home or at work? What can your colleagues do for you? Where can you reduce your workload or ask for extra time with deadlines? Asking for help doesn’t make you lazy or unmotivated — it’s a sign that you’re human and you need a little bit of support at times. 

Acknowledge the issue

Recognising the symptoms of your exhaustion can give you a better idea of the solution you need for it. Take an inventory of your life and see the areas that you might be underperforming in – if you are struggling to maintain high energy levels in your relationships, it might be that they are causing you a great deal of stress. Identifying the root cause of the problem helps you learn how to better navigate potential solutions for your emotional exhaustion. 

Prioritise self-care

To recover from burnout, it is vital to prioritise your needs for rest, self-care, your hobbies and interests, as well as your need to express yourself authentically in your relationships. Making the time to recharge from a challenging job or relationship, reflect on your progress and recover your emotional resources is a great way to deal with the symptoms of mental exhaustion. 

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What can employers do to reduce burnout in the workplace? 

If burnout is caused in the workplace, this means that managers and leaders should be directly involved in helping employees overcome it. 

Some ways in which managers are leaders can reduce burnout in the workplace are:

  1. Provide recovery time — Managers should adjust workloads, create realistic expectations and be aware when someone has been going full throttle in overdrive for too long.
  2. Cultivate a wellbeing mindset — Give employees permission to set emotional boundaries with their work by identifying limits and recognising feelings. Without boundaries, employees are vulnerable to crippling disappointment when they receive critical feedback.
  3. Build social connections — Challenge employees to create a plan to connect with a friend, family member or colleague at a scheduled time each week. Schedule weekly team lunches, go on a walking meeting, or plan a team-building activity or happy hour. Celebrate your employees, and bring teams together to refresh and rejuvenate as a company to prevent work burnout. 
  4. Create a healthy work culture A McKinsey report shows that toxic workplaces are more likely to lead to employee burnout, which is why organisations should take a systemic approach to improve employee mental health and wellbeing. 

Putting mental health first

In many cases, burnout happens when we don’t look after ourselves properly. Maybe we ignore signs of tiredness and vulnerability and push ourselves day in and day out. If you’re an employee or an organisation wanting to improve mental health at work, we got your back. At SupportRoom, we help teams of employees improve their well-being at work with therapy, self-care support, and many other wellness solutions. Do get in touch with us if you want to find out more. 

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