If you’re feeling a bit “off” right now, you’re not alone. Many of us are experiencing the “blah’s” after two years of unpredictability and hardships, which has taken a mental and physical toll. A general experience of languishing has escalated to burnout for some. If you’re wondering if this describes you, notice if you recognize these symptoms of burnout in yourself or in those you lead.
How to uncover symptoms of burnout
The Mayo Clinic put together this list of questions to ask yourself to determine if your malaise or languishing has moved toward burnout at work. Mayo suggests asking yourself these simple questions to evaluate symptoms of burnout:
- Have you become cynical or critical at work?
- Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
- Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
- Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
- Do you find it hard to concentrate?
- Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
- Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
- Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
- Have your sleep habits changed?
- Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?
If your response to any of these self-assessment questions is yes, that indicates that you might be experiencing burnout at work, which means that you may be in need of support from a mental health professional who can better assess your emotional wellbeing. Sometimes even just talking to a professional a few times can make you feel supported and help you get to the bottom of your burnout. Having an accountability partner in that way can increase feelings of support and trust, and build back your motivation and ability to create new ideas or products.
If you lead a team at work, you cannot answer all these questions for your employees, but you might notice some of the behaviors. Use your observations to open the door to a conversation during a one-on-one. Share this list with them. Allow them to answer the questions in private without sharing the specifics with you. Then, you can make yourself available to them to discuss any concerns or observations they have afterward, and point any struggling employees in the right direction to accomplish their goals and understand how to meet their needs.
How to help employees who are showing symptoms of burnout
As a leader, you are on the frontline of employee wellbeing support. You can help your employees by adopting strategies to help them navigate and reduce symptoms of burnout. Dive into the full list of strategies to beat employee burnout in this previous article or keep reading here.
- Be empathetic. Verywell Mind describes empathy as the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place. Start by asking good questions about what your team member is feeling and experiencing. Listen well.
- Be an example. When managers share their own challenges with work/life balance along with their own successes and failures, they help manage employee burnout by building trust, confidence, and social wellbeing with their team.
- Be a resource. Managers should be prepared to point their team members in the right direction when their employees need help. Know what services your organization offers to assist employees with their individual challenges, whether it’s help through your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or employee wellness program.
- Be a communicator. Prioritize good communication within your team. Teaching your team to ask good questions, listen well, and practice open communication is crucial to successfully leading in a hybrid workplace.
Knowing how to recognize symptoms of burnout in yourself and those you lead is critically important to your short and long-term wellbeing. Once identified, seek out further support from family, friends, or a mental health professional to avoid further escalation of your symptoms.