• Helen Burt Iain McCormick

How to prevent burnout at work

Updated: Jul 31, 2019


Photo credit: Guido Jansen

At times we all feel frustrated and wrung out at work. By contrast, burnout is a chronic feeling of emotional exhaustion, cynicism and lack of personal efficiency. Tiredness, which is often worse in the middle of winter or just before the Christmas break, can typically be relieved by one or two weeks holiday. However, feelings of burnout often continue through a holiday and led to persistent thoughts of just not caring about work anymore and not wanted to reconnect to colleagues or clients.


The author Christine Louise Hohlbaum suggests a number of ways to prevent burnout.


1. “Recognize when your passion has turned to poison,” she said.  Uncritical self-awareness of your current state is an important starring point. Acknowledging that you are completely drained and even cynical about work is essential but doing so without beating yourself for being in this condition is even more important.


2. Make some time for yourself every day. Find a few simple but enjoyable things that you can do every day. People who suffer from burnout have often stopped enjoying the simple things in life that they once loved. Start the day by silently watching the sunrise for 5 minutes, saviour a coffee without being distracted by your phone, spend half an hour calling a friend and showing you care.


3. Understand more about burnout. An expert in the area, psychologist Christina Maslach PhD, has co-authored three books with Michael Leiter: The Truth About BurnoutPreventing Burnout and Building Engagement: A Complete Program for Organizational Renewal; and Banishing Burnout: Six Strategies for Improving Your Relationship with Work.


4. Seek support. Discuss your situation with a friend or colleague that you can trust to keep it confidential. Find an executive coach you can relate to and learn more about finding peace of mind and satisfaction at work.


Iain McCormick and Helen Burt, Partners, Executive Coaching Centre



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