“The most noticeable traits happen when a person who is usually happy and positive soon becomes withdrawn, low in mood and cynical,” explains Sarah Tottle, burnout expert.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified burnout as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. Sarah says that before this, there were few clinical definitions, meaning doctors would often misdiagnose burnout as depression.
“Burnout is more than just simple exhaustion. It’s a psycho-physical response to extreme and prolonged stress. Chronic stress can induce it. The body shuts down and simple tasks can become impossible to accomplish.”
Sarah believes the best approach is for people to acknowledge that overworking is a critical factor in burnout. “When someone feels they don’t have control over their life or work, this can exacerbate symptoms,” she says.
“Giving people autonomy, encouraging their creative side and allowing for flexibility at work can help lower the risk of burnout. Avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach is also important. Lead by example. Don’t overwork, don’t stay back at work and avoid emailing after hours.”
If you feel like you’re on struggle street, you’re not alone. Six executives share their tips for staying inspired and avoiding burnout.
JESSICA FIALKOVICH, CO-FOUNDER, TRANSWORLD – ROCKY MOUNTAIN
“I’m a big believer in peer-mentoring groups. I’m involved in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Colorado. This group is incredibly valuable to me, not only from a business growth standpoint, but all of the members are business owners too, so I never feel alone when I’m coming up against hurdles in my business.
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