Guest Blog by Clare Davis – How to prevent burnout in hectic times
How can we avoid burnout in the workplace? This is a pressing question, especially considering that a 2021 Forbes study revealed that over 50% of workers are currently experiencing burnout. In industries like hospitality, where demands can be exceptionally high during certain times of the year, these statistics may be even more alarming. The Burnt Chef Project recently conducted a survey in 2022 that showed that 8 out of 10 (84%) of respondents had encountered mental health issues during their careers, with 46% feeling uncomfortable discussing these concerns with colleagues.
In light of these concerning figures, it's crucial to ask ourselves two fundamental questions: Do we truly understand the signs of burnout, enabling us to prevent it before it’s too late? And, do we use techniques to prevent burnout in hectic times?
Recognising the signs:
There are obvious signs of burnout that we can recognise in ourselves and others in the workplace. In the hospitality industry, it's essential to foster awareness about these signs so that individuals can take action before burnout takes over their lives.
I, too, learned this the hard way. During the 90s, early in my career, I was caught up in a relentless cycle of work, work, work, without any pause. I lived to work, and eventually, I burnt out.
Here are the 3 key signs I wish I had been more aware of:
- Physical and emotional exhaustion. When I experienced burnout, I was exhausted ALL THE TIME. I would sleep through entire weekends, and even after a full night's rest, I'd wake up still tired.
- This is a feeling of disconnect, not only from the work you are doing but also detachment from your team and other people around you. I lost my ‘mojo’, my passion for wanting to do the work I loved and enjoy life outside of work. I wasn’t as interested in my team and bringing them together. I also wasn’t as interested in having fun outside of work.
- The feeling of being inadequate. Burnout made me doubt the quality of my work and my effectiveness in achieving my goals. I remember leaving a management meeting feeling hopeless about the quality of my output, even though my team had been performing exceptionally well.
If we are aware of the signs of burnout in ourselves, and those around us, we can do something about it before it spirals out of control. I was one of the lucky ones. My then-boyfriend, now my husband said to me, ‘This has got to stop, you cannot keep going like this. It’s not natural.’ I was young with no responsibilities; how would I have coped if I had my children at the time? We need to think of the people around us that it is affecting if we are approaching burnout. This includes our family as well as our friends and work colleagues.
The research, conducted by BRITA Professional in partnership with The Burnt Chef Project in October 2022, highlighted the importance of friendships to good mental health, as nearly two-thirds (62%) of UK hospitality professionals say working with their best friend helps to minimise stress, while one in two (50%) acknowledge the anxiety-reducing benefits.
This also applies to burnout. If we can make sure we are nurturing friendships and keeping them at the forefront of our lives, especially in busy times, we help ourselves.
3 Other Ways to Prevent Burnout:
Rather than dealing with the casualties of burnout, it's far more effective to employ preventive methods, especially during busy periods. Here are three simple strategies to incorporate into your workday:
- Set clear boundaries. Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Define specific work hours and stick to them as closely as possible.
- Incorporate stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine. This can include mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or stretching. You do not need to take hours doing these. A 5-minute breathing exercise, guided meditation or stretching routine is all you need.
- Take regular breaks. Take short breaks throughout the workday to recharge and refocus. Even a 5-10 minute break can make a difference.
Clare Davis, the CEO and Founder of Nova Associates is a management and mental health trainer, coach, author, and facilitator who works with individuals and organisations to help them use their focus to bring out untapped potential in the workplace. Clare shows through real-world examples how the valuable skills that each person brings to your organisation can help your mission. To find out more about how you can manage anxiety within your team, schedule a free Strategy Call and let her assist you in bringing self-care and positivity to your workplace.