As Stress Awareness Month continues, most of us are acutely familiar with the statistic that almost half of the UK population experience the pain of stress-related mental health concerns in their daily lives.
At the forefront of the wellbeing revolution is Business and Behavioural Psychologist and People Matter R&D Director, Amy King, who found time to explore the subjects of stress, burnout and mental wellbeing.
How can individuals look for signs of burnout?
Burnout occurs when stress becomes excessive and prolonged, leading to emotional, mental and physical exhaustion. People who experience burnout tend to find themselves feeling overwhelmed, drained and unable to meet the constant demands or pressures in their daily life.
Researchers have found that there are three core signs of burnout
Have you become negative, cynical or critical at work?
Do you dread starting the day?
Have you become irritable or impatient?
Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
Do you find it hard to concentrate and find yourself easily distracted?
Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
Do you feel withdrawn and emotionally isolated from others?
Do you feel disillusioned and/or empty?
Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better?
Have your sleep habits changed?
Are you troubled by unexplained aches or other physical complaints?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be experiencing job burnout. Consider talking to a doctor or a mental health provider to seek support and advice.
Tips for noticing and then managing stress-related burnout:
Evaluate your working dynamics – The best place to start is by being mindful of your day-to-day energy and noticing patterns in your working life that impact your overall energy and stress levels. Social support, reward and recognition, autonomy, meaning and positive working relationships help prevent symptoms of burnout and boost engagement.
Identify your options – Once you understand what is helping or hindering you, it is important to take the first steps to take action. Take time to speak to your manager, a friend or a professional therapist to support you in putting these things in to action.
Seek support – If you are starting to feel overwhelmed, exhausted and burnt out, sometimes the best thing you can do is to stop and raise your hand for help!
Value your needs – People who burnout or are at risk of burnout tend to neglect their own needs. Take time to give yourself a personal MOT and work out what you need, whether it be sleep, exercise, reading a book, seeing friends or getting outside and active – whatever it is that gets you back to feeling ‘you’. Make time for yourself!
Practice mindfulness – Taking time to get perspective will help you spot signs of burnout. Meditation and mindfulness activities are proving to be effective ways to reduce stress and to support wellbeing.
What could employers do to improve things for working society?
If we are to create healthier and happier workplaces, organisations must focus on building trust, empathy and understanding with their people.
Breaking down stigma and building greater awareness is a key component. But this must be followed through with action.
If positive change is to be achieved, it is critical to equip both employees and organisations with ways to measure and understand how the working environment and demands are impacting wellbeing.
For organisations, this really comes down to nurturing a healthier and more supportive day-to-day culture for people to thrive in, and providing robust mental health resources is essential, including employee assistant programmes (EAPs), mental health first aid training and wellness initiatives.
Organisations should aim to provide easy and fast access to high quality mental healthcare & support to address depressive symptoms and the potential for suicide.
Increasingly, additional products are now being developed to offer more proactive support to not only ‘react’ to mental health needs but to promote positive health.
People Matter was selected as one of the ten winning Rising Stars of UK Tech from over 300 applicants at this year’s Tech Nation Rising Stars Award for its Okina App, which aims to make the world a healthier, happier place.
Anyone interested in becoming beta testers for the wellness technology should visit www.peoplematter.tech.