Burnout is a form of extreme fatigue caused by the feeling of constantly being physically, emotionally, or mentally swamped with tasks. It is common to face burnout when you feel highly overwhelmed, overworked, or unable to get enough rest.
In a recent survey, conducted on Indian employees in the Big 4, it was found that 77% of the respondents experience burnout at their current job. Additionally, 91% of the respondents reported feeling chronic stress or frustration at work. These high numbers prove that burnout is an immediate global concern that requires more intervention and awareness.
While a lot of people prefer ‘working through’ a burnout, it is not a sustainable or realistic option. Burnout impacts the quality of work for about 83% of the employees– leading to low performance satisfaction, low comprehension of tasks, inability to meet deadlines, low speed of work, negative effect on personal/ work relationships, frustration, anger, etc.
Typically, burnout is characterized by a feeling of tiredness that can prevent one from focusing on basic tasks even outside the workplace. Not only does it impact your performance, but it can even severely impact your thoughts and disrupt mental wellbeing.
People who are going through a burnout often turn cynical and struggle with hopelessness, or a feeling of ‘being stuck’. All these signs can help you identify if you’re going through burnout and need a break!
While there is a lack of awareness about this kind of mental exertion and its impacts, there is also blatant misinformation which simply does not help one through a burnout.
Burnout is your brain’s signal that you need to rest. A lot of people choose to deal with burnout by ‘working though it’ or ‘just trying to work harder’. Burnout can limit one’s mental and physical ability to process information and complete tasks. Working hard is not only unhelpful, but in fact counterproductive.
When facing fatigue, the most important thing is to get rest in order to recover your mental resources. Working harder or longer hours can further deplete one’s resources and have a negative impact on both- work and individual attitude.
Although having a day off can help one feel emotionally better and make some recovery, usually one day is too small a vacation period to cope with a major burnout. Undoubtedly, it does have its positive effects for one day, but it is definitely not enough to fully recover oneself. A lot of new age corporations are starting to incorporate paid mental health leave, however, it is necessary to note that recovering from a burnout can take anywhere from 11 weeks to a year (depending on the stress period).
Since it might not be feasible for everyone to take such long breaks from work, the best method is to pack your work in proper and fulfilling rest periods to prevent burnout in the first place. Thus, mental health leave or self-care days are important to prevent burnouts rather than cure them.
Having a fulfilling personal life is really important to prevent and recover from burnout. Often, working in unhealthy work environments promotes long working hours, lack of work-life balance, internalized feeling of incompetence and unsatisfaction, etc that can accelerate burnout and even discourage people from reaching out for help.
Someone going through a burnout might even end up feeling “useless” or “unreliable” as a worker if these feelings are not addressed.
Engaging in non-work related activities is important to make sure that one’s belongingness and socialization needs are fulfilled and that they have a support system to turn to in case of a mental health concern, like burnout. It is important to make active efforts to learn how to maintain a healthy work life balance.
Read our article on healthy work-life balance to learn some ways in which you can make conscious efforts to have a fulfilling personal life and prevent burnout.
In case you feel like you’re going through a burnout and would like to reach out for help, download the heyy, app to get 24×7 chat-based mental health support with trained and experienced mental health guides, psychoeducational resources, self assessments, and a lot more!