Burnout is common, especially among South Africans who are known for being workaholics.
According to a study by Ipsos Global and Reuters, as much as 53% of South Africa’s working population does not take annual leave. Our working culture not only leads to burnout and other health problems, but also has a negative impact on the economy. Employee absenteeism (of which a large portion is due to burnout and ill health) cost the South African economy between R12 billion and R16 billion annually.
What is burnout?
Burnout is the result of experiencing chronic stress. Burned out individuals feel exhausted over an extended period of time and shows a lack of interest in things. Eventually it leads to a decline in job performance. The six signs of burnout are:
- High levels of stress and anxiety
- A lack of sleep and exercise
- Low energy levels and emotional exhaustion
- Physically illness
- A decline in work productivity
- High levels of cynicism and self-criticism
How to avoid burnout
- Look after your health
Make sure you get between seven and eight hours of sleep. Eat healthy meals and snacks ̶ not only at home, but at work too. Do regular, moderate exercise, but choose something you enjoy.
- Take some time off
Use your annual leave. Try to take at least one long break every year ̶ your body and your mind needs it.
- Do not neglect your social life or your hobbies
You are allowed to engage in recreational activities and do something for fun and relaxation. Spend time with family and friends and do the things you love.
- Set boundaries
Do not allow your job to take over your life. There is nothing wrong with working overtime once in a while, but in can lead to burnout in the long run.
- Delegate and learn to say “no”
Delegating and saying “no” is not a sign of weakness, but of knowing your limits and what you are capable off.
- Re-evaluated your goals
It is essential that you constantly re-evaluate your goals at work and in life in general. Don’t expect any job to fulfill all you needs.
- Do not take responsibility for others’ problems
Especially those who work in helping professions, like doctors, therapists, psychologists, social workers and ministers, should remember that you cannot take responsibility for other people’s problems. You can listen and give a professional opinion, but you cannot solve problems on their behalf.
Health24, 2009, “What is burnout and how do I avoid it?” http://www.health24.com/Mental-Health/Stress/About-stress/What-is-burnout-and-how-do-I-avoid-it-20120721.
Lisa M. Gerry. 2013, “10 Signs You’re Burning Out — And What To Do About It”, Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/04/01/10-signs-youre-burning-out-and-what-to-do-about-it/.
SABC, 2014, “South Africans cautioned about workplace burnout”, http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/ce9b3980467facfda17ba1b88418192b/South-Africans-cautioned-about-workplace-burnout–20141209.
Susan Erasmus, 2015, Are you burnt out?”, Health 24, “http://www.health24.com/Lifestyle/Healthy-you/Are-you-burnt-out-20120721.
Vanessa Loder , 2015, “How To Prevent Burnout – 13 Signs You’re On The Edge”, Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/vanessaloder/2015/01/30/how-to-prevent-burnout-13-signs-youre-on-the-edge/.