How to Avoid and Overcome Burnout

Burnout is a common problem for employees as well as business owners. Statista reports that work-related stress in Great Britain rose sharply in 2020-2021, with over 800,000 workers feeling stress, anxiety, or depression. It's easy to get so caught up in work and deadlines that you don't realize the level of stress you're experiencing. The first step in avoiding burnout is to recognise the signs, so you can take steps to prevent or overcome it.

The 5 Stages of Burnout

The following are 5 common stages of burnout. Keep in mind that not everyone will experience these signs in the same order. 

Stage 1: Feeling Overwhelmed

The first stage of burnout is feeling overwhelmed. You may feel like you have more work than hours in the day to complete it. You may be inundated with calls, emails, and messages. Deadlines may spring up faster than you can check them off your to-do list. One factor contributing to burnout is that organisations are expecting more and more from employees. Business owners may not have bosses, but they can put unrealistic expectations on themselves with similar results. 

Stage 2: You Feel Like You've Reached Your Limit

In the first stage of burnout, you feel stressed and overwhelmed. By the second stage, you feel like you've reached the limit of your endurance. You may feel like you can't possibly take another step. Another characteristic of this stage is difficulty communicating with colleagues. High-stress levels are correlated with impatience and irritability. You may find yourself getting into arguments with co-workers.

Stage 3: Frustration

When you feel that nothing you've tried is working, frustration sets in. When you are frustrated, it's difficult to move forward.  You may feel like giving up, whether this means quitting your job or classes or abandoning your business. At such times, it's important to focus on small steps you can take to improve things.

Stage 4: You Feel Depressed

When you experience a certain amount of stress, the body and mind start to look for ways to avoid dealing directly with the situation. This can lead to the next stage, which is depression. While in the earlier stages, you may be running around trying to put out multiple fires, when you get depressed you're not motivated to do much of anything. If you have thoughts of harming yourself, known as suicidal ideation, you should talk to someone right away. 

Stage 5: You Feel Hopeless

Hopelessness, which can overlap with frustration and depression, is the stage where you feel that there's nothing you can do to improve your situation. If you feel hopeless, taking a step back and giving yourself a break is important. 

Tips For Managing Burnout

Here are some guidelines for avoiding and managing burnout.

Develop Better Time Management Skills

Stress over daily tasks has a lot to do with how you manage your time. Developing better time management strategies can help you feel more in control of your day.

  • Prioritise — Do urgent tasks first. See what you can delegate or outsource.
  • Break larger tasks into smaller ones. 
  • Learn to say no — You may need to refuse or postpone certain tasks. 

Make Healthy Changes to Your Lifestyle

  • Develop a healthy work-life balance. Take breaks regularly. 
  • Get regular exercise. Physical activity is a great antidote to stress, especially if your work is mostly sedentary.  There's evidence, for example, that yoga and other physical activities can reduce stress.
  • Make sure you get sufficient sleep. 

Communicate, Don't Hold Everything In

Conflicts and poor communication can contribute to stress and burnout. If you have a disagreement with someone, it's best to do everything you can to resolve it.  Whether it's regarding personal or work-related issues, don't allow resentment to build up.

It's also helpful to discuss your feelings with friends and family members. If you're experiencing a high level of stress, consider counselling. A business coach can help you come up with creative solutions to time management, finances, and other issues that may be contributing to feelings of burnout.

Don't Ignore the Signs of Burnout

Most employees and business owners experience some degree of burnout at some point. For example, you may be extra busy during the holidays or when an employee calls in sick. However, if burnout becomes a regular or worsening condition, it's something to address. Burnout isn't something that happens all at once. It usually creeps up on people gradually. Maintain a work-life balance, pay attention to your mental and physical health, and ask for help when you need it. 

TMD Coaching can help you with many aspects of running your business, including managing burnout, clarifying your goals and vision, managing your budget,  and more. Book a call with us to find out more about how we can help.

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Tim Hatari

Tim Hatari helps businesses improve performance, creating strategic development plans and establishing structure via the 5PX Executive Business Coaching System. As CEO and Founder at TMD Coaching, he oversees the vision setting process with clients, leading on sales acquisition, the drive for operational excellence and market leading innovation. For Tim, helping others is the most rewarding part of the role. Follow or connect with Tim on Linkedin -

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Topics from this blog: Coaching, CPD

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