My blog is devoted to sharing personal development tools, techniques and tips that will inspire you to create a growth mindset, build resilience and manage your world more effectively.

Nicole's Insights

On a recent flight, feeling rather tired and definitely recognising symptoms of feeling run down, I read an article in BA’s Business Life magazine by David Mattin (David is Head of Trends and Insights at trendwatching.com).

The article addressed burnout, which I felt was a little ironic as I have been pushing myself a lot recently, and took this as a sign that I needed to assess my fast-paced lifestyle.

In the article there were two staggering statistics that stood out to me:

  1. A 2018 Gallup poll of 7,500 US employees found that 23% reported feeling burned out at work very often or always.
  2. The Harvard business review stated that employee burnout accounts for between $125bn and $190bn in healthcare costs in the US every year.

Both of those insights are not only worrying but are an evolving epidemic that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. In fact, I know people who constantly feel pressured and stressed and haven’t truly been relaxed in years. The impact this will have on their health is hugely concerning and, from a business perspective, it will impact efficiency and creativity, and will certainly add to increasing levels of employee sickness, costing companies millions.

Whilst changing the culture in businesses around the world will take some time, what we can learn to do is help ourselves and seek to support those in whom you see it happening.

What are the key signs for burnout? Well, everyone is different, but some of the typical symptoms may be: Inability to sleep, constant anxiety, low moods, chronic fatigue, forgetfulness, anger and depression (see here for further insights)

My lifestyle is certainly fast-paced and it can be quite demanding, but I love what I do. This love however can sometimes lead to me not recognising the onset of burnout quickly enough, and I’ve had to work hard to recognise when the pressure and lack of energy is building up. I had a moment the other day when I opened up my Dropbox account and I felt anxious just scrolling through to find the file I wanted, I was getting frustrated that I couldn’t find it quickly enough, in that moment I knew I had to slow down in order to continue being effective and conscious of my own well-being. I also believe that for those who don’t enjoy their jobs, burnout can be harder to manage.

The million dollar question is….how do we prevent burnout in the first place?

To be clear, I am not a doctor and if you are recognising that you are experiencing burnout, I encourage to make an appointment with your GP immediately.

What we can learn to do, is catch it before burnout takes place.

When we are working constantly at full capacity and then some, we often neglect the basics. Eat, sleep and water! These 3 key life essentials often get put on the back burner when we are over worked. Be mindful to drink plenty of water (avoid reaching for the alcohol), eat nourishing foods and at least allow yourself 6-8 hours in bed. I appreciate you may not sleep that entire time, but providing yourself the opportunity to lay in bed, read a book, relax (not checking emails on your phone) will make a huge difference to your well-being.

Finally, go for a walk during the work day. I understand you may feel that you don’t have time to add a walk into your day with everything you have to do but trust me; not only will it help reduce stress, it will actually make you more efficient for the rest of the day.

Catching burnout early on and preventing it is key, and recognising it in others will help them feel supported. If your colleague appears to be on the edge, encourage them to take a break with you, grab them some lunch or simply let them know you’re there for them should they want to talk.

Ideally, you’ll be working on gaining a healthy balance in your life ‘Leave work at work post’ and taking care of yourself and others.

Love, Nicole.

I’m off to take a walk!