Burnout is real. Don’t let it take control of your life!
How to recognize the signs of an oncoming burnout and how to deal with it.
Emotional and physical exhaustion, fatigue, insomnia, an inability to think clearly, susceptibility to sickness, anxiety, and depression. If you’ve felt these symptoms before, chances are you may have experienced burnout.
The concept of burnout is no longer just a feeling but a recognized mental health illness, and the World Health Organization has classified it as an occupational phenomenon in its International Classification of Diseases. In most cases, it develops as a result of chronic work stress that has not been addressed or managed. While mental illnesses do not discriminate with whom they target, physicians at Parsley Health have found that burnout is more prevalent among women with a study on 2,000 individuals spread out across 63 workplaces over the course of four years showing that women experienced higher rates of burnout.
While work tends to be overwhelming, the combination of additional problems in terms of family duties, child-rearing, and other daily tasks aggravate burnout in women. Just recently, Alivia Beck talked about how stressful time management can be, and how prioritizing certain things in your life can add even more pressure. Throw in hormonal inbalances that women deal with throughout a number of stages in their lives, and you have added changes that only they can understand. Burnout is both a cause and effect that blur the lines between work and personal life. Nowadays, because of technology and the omnipresence of gadgets, work no longer ends once you clock out of the office. The need to respond and be on-call 24/7 has taken its toll on workers’ well-being.
The Added Hurdles
Women, in particular, are still fighting for equal treatment and equal pay. There is still the need to prove themselves worthy and competent for the positions they are in. Author Mary Beard famously cited a common sexist workplace problem that proves how women have to work twice as hard as men yet still run the risk of being talked over.
She refers to an old Punch cartoon of a meeting where the sole woman seated raises a point but gets shut down: “That’s an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.”
This quote illustrates the issues women face that could ultimately lead to burnout. It’s almost as if regardless of the effort and hard work they put in the job, they will still amount to nothing. This is but one instance that could lead to disillusionment, cynicism, self-doubt, and poor physical health in women.
If these things sound familiar, here are some ways you can manage burnout:
Learning How to Say “no”
Saying “yes” to a number of commitments is a natural impulse among women. Many times, these commitments are unnecessary and add an unmerited burden on women. When you efficiently manage your priorities and realize your long-term goals, you will be able to see which commitments, favors, and errands are in line with them.
Having “Me Time”
The many hats women wear often leave them without time for themselves. Having “me time” is just as important as any other errand or responsibility for another family member or for work. Make time for things that you love and the things that make you feel most like yourself. Whether it’s reading, exercising, painting, or picking up a new hobby. It’s healthy to have something to look forward to in terms of self-care. Remember: you cannot give what you yourself do not have.
There is no harm or shame in seeking help when you feel too overwhelmed. It’s always best to do so before things get worse. If you do reach the point of burnout, then seeking help is all the more necessary. You don’t necessarily have to consult a therapist. You can confide in your friends or employ the help of other people and delegate tasks to them.