#08 The Single Most Powerful Way to Avoid Burnout

The 360 Leadhership Podcast, Episode 08, 16 February 2022 by Lucy Gernon

Are you smiling on the outside but crying on the inside? Are you tired of putting on a brave face?

The term “burnout” was coined in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger. He used it to describe the consequences of severe stress and high ideals in “helping” professions. Doctors and nurses, for example, who sacrifice themselves for others, would often end up being “burned out” – exhausted, listless, and unable to cope. Nowadays, the term is used more freely, especially in the corporate world.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances e.g. an important meeting where you feel out of your comfort zone or a day where you have so much on, you feel tense.

But burnout is a physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. 

According to WHO burnout is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;

  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and

  • reduced professional efficacy.

Women in the Workplace | McKinsey Report 2021 revealed some concerning statistics. Women are even more burned out than they were a year ago, and burnout is escalating much faster among women than men.

Women are even more burned out than they were a year ago, and the gap in burnout between women and men has almost doubled. 42% of women say they have been often or almost always burned out in 2021, compared to 32% a year ago. In the past year, 1 in 3 women has considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers—a significant increase from 1 in 4 in the first few months of the pandemic.

Why are women more burned out?

Compared to men in similar positions, women managers are consistently

doing more to promote employee well-being—including checking on team members, helping them manage workloads, and providing support for those who are dealing with burnout or navigating work/life challenges.

Women leaders are doing more than their share of mentorship and sponsorship. Men in senior leadership outnumber women 2 to 1—but employees are equally likely to say that women and men leaders have supported their career development. This means women are shouldering roughly double the load of mentorship and sponsorship.

The “always-on” culture is also driving burnout

What companies can do:

As companies continue to manage the challenges of the pandemic and look to build a more equal workplace for the future, they need to focus on two key priorities:

1) advancing all aspects of diversity and inclusion
2) addressing the increasing burnout that all employees—but particularly women—are experiencing.

But burnout is still on the rise, especially among women. There is no easy fix, so continued investment will be critical. Investment in coaches like me to support and guide women in leadership roles. You support and guide so many both in work and outside of work- but who’s in your corner?

What you can do:

Here’s a question:

Who is the only person who can control whether or not you burn out? 

Who is the only person who can set boundaries when it comes to your time and energy? You!

You have so much control over this. You control your time and your life. You get paid by your company to do your job well. But it’s not your fault if you are beyond capacity. But it is your fault if you continue to take on additional work and burn yourself out. No one will thank you for it. If you were to leave in the morning, your job would have your job advertised the next day, I promise!

The most powerful way to avoid burnout

**Work on your mindset and let go of needing to control everything**

Care a little bit less about work and a little more about yourself. Prioritize your health. Get your sleep, eat well and have fun!

Take a step back and allow your team or other departments to take on the menial tasks that are taking up your time. Focus on strategic tasks that will improve the business and make your life easier in the long run.

Get clear on your boundaries. Click here to learn more about how to set your boundaries.

Care more about freeing up your time to continue to support and guide your team and be strategic. Be disciplined to know when enough is enough at the end of your day. Your to-do list will never end.

Your job is a huge part of who you are, I get that. It gives you purpose and meaning and a reason to get up in the morning, but it’s not the only reason you are here. You have a right to enjoy your life. You have a right to disconnect.

The more you keep people-pleasing and saying yes to things you really should be saying no to, the more at risk you are of burnout. I know this is easier said than done.

That’s why I developed my signature program Powerhouse Revolution. Through my 5 step system, we will beat burnout once and for all. Listen to what my client Sarah, Global Head of Strategy and Optimization in the Tech Industry,  had to say about it:

 If you are feeling frustrated or burnt out and you don’t want to be in the same position this time next year, please get in touch. Supporting women like you to create your dream career without sacrificing family, health or happiness was the reason I quit my corporate career. I feel so passionately about supporting women in this area.

You are amazing and have so much to give, you support your team, your friends, your family- but who’s supporting you? I’d love to be that person for you so If you are interested in learning more, please get in touch today. If you are feeling burned out or unhappy, Enough is enough, life is too short.  Imagine if you felt more in control of things?

Imagine if you were able to truly switch off in the evenings and be present with your family? Imagine if you didn’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself? And imagine you were doing all of this while still making a major impact at work… What would that mean for you? What would be different?

In Bronnie Ware’s book The 7 Top Regrets of the Dying, one of the top regrets was ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so much’. One man said he remembered every single dance recital or football game he missed for his kids but he can’t remember a single reason he missed them, only it was for work.

I don’t want you to have any regrets. If the pandemic and the recent tragic death of Ashling Murphy has taught us, Life is so precious. You deserve to be happy.

Please don’t carry on this way if you are feeling burned out or unhappy, there is support available and I’d love to be there for you.

I go live each week and answer any questions or comments you have on the podcast topic of the week. I’d love you to join and interact.

To close, just remember The most powerful way to avoid burnout is: Work on your mindset and let go of needing to control everything. Everything will be ok if you take some time for yourself and care just a little bit less about work and a little bit more about yourself. Even powerhouses need to take it easy sometimes.