International Women’s Day Special; Let’s break the burnout cycle

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Exhausted. Stressed. Anxious. Many women are familiar with the symptoms of burnout, such as breathing themselves for “not doing enough”.

Burnout, on the other hand, is more than just stress; it’s a buildup of stress that can lead to exhaustion, pessimism, and anxiety. Burnout can have a huge impact on women, and the COVID-19 has made this even more evident. Women, who have ‘traditionally’ taken on primary caregiving roles in addition to their professional lives, have been hit particularly hard, with increased everyday responsibilities and a slew of new obstacles to their work or living arrangements.

According to a recent Deloitte global millennial survey, women feel compelled to be “on” at all times, whether at work or home, and this is harming their physical and mental health. Over 80 percent of women surveyed said that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their lives.

COVID-19 has raised the amount of time women spend on family obligations disproportionately. As a result, women are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than what can be explained alone by labor market dynamics.

Here are six ways that women can handle ‘burnout’ and take care of their well-being while following their personal or professional goals.

Awareness – Catch It Early:

This can be the most difficult part. Women can exhibit the symptoms of burnout or a lack of well-being without realizing it. Making it a routine to check in with yourself from time to time is a great practice. Consider the following example:

  • Are you feeling any physiological changes (e.g., blood pressure, aches orpains, etc.)?
  • Do you notice a difference in the quality of your sleep?
  • Have you recently shown some unusual behavior (for example, increased irritability or a desire for substantially more and or less social interaction)?

Ask for support:

It’s vital to have someone who can listen to you, empathize with you, and provide positive ideas, whether it’s a good friend, family member, or coach. Decision-making can become hazy once burnout has taken hold of your mind. The individual you seek advice from will be able to assist you in identifying trends and regaining focus on goals, which will enable you to set better boundaries.

Prioritize a ‘healthy’ lifestyle:

We also undervalue the influence of our lifestyle on our behavior and well-being. Healthy eating, exercise, meditation or breathing exercises, and a regular sleep schedule support both our physical and mental health.

Examine your work environment:

In May 2019, the World Health Organization updated the definition of burnout as: “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” This new definition has raised the awareness of burnout and its strong link to our work environment.

Related: International Women’s Day; Female leaders can do much to bring changes in the workplace.