The pressure to remain productive in today’s “hustle” culture is intense, and many working professionals are no stranger to burnout. Students, too, experience burnout, and the risk of this affecting those who are juggling study and work at the same time is amplified.
Stress, long hours of study and/or work, and poor mental and physical health are just a few of the factors that cause burnout. Understanding why you burn out and how you can prevent it is essential to maintaining your well-being.
Stay Clear of Burnout
Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion that arises when undertaking a physically or mentally challenging task for extended periods, resulting in long-term stress. If you feel tired, detached, or helpless, and experience self-doubt and low motivation, you may be suffering burnout.
Here are some strategies you can use to prevent burnout:
This involves practising a series of habits that bring you comfort and promote your physical and mental well-being. Something as simple as keeping to a bedtime routine and setting aside your work phone can help you regain emotional energy and rest better, leaving you refreshed the next day. Self-care can be practised by ensuring good sleeping habits, eating balanced meals, undertaking adequate exercise, and maintaining social connections.
A leading factor in poor mental health cited by respondents in a 2022 TODAY Youth survey is work.1 With the lines between work and personal life becoming increasingly blurred in recent years, especially with work-from-home arrangements, switching from work mode to rest mode can be tough.
Here are some habits you can pick up to aid the transition to rest mode at the end of the day:
i) Have regular meals. Skipping meals only depletes your energy quicker.
ii) Take frequent breaks. You can do this in various ways, but a popular method is the Pomodoro Technique, where you focus on work for 25 minutes and take a five-minute break, and repeat.
iii) Clock out. When you are done with work for the day, leave it behind and allow yourself to enter rest mode. If possible, establish off-duty hours with colleagues and clients, during which you are willing to accept work calls only for emergencies.
iv) Exercise. Going to the gym, jogging around your neighbourhood, or even just stretching at home can help take your mind away from work matters. Exercise also causes the body to release endorphins, the hormone that helps reduce stress and improve your mood.
v) Spend time with family and friends. Be it a game of futsal or a picnic in the park, spending time with people outside your work circle can uplift your mood.
Often, we make a mental list of all the things we need to do in a day, and then get stressed out even before the day even begins. Practising mindfulness is a way of staying in the present instead of constantly worrying about past upsets or future responsibilities.
One way to practise mindfulness is via meditation. A study has found that mindful meditation helps nurses lower their stress levels, decrease burnout, and increase resilience, compassion, and emotional regulation.2
Meditation is not the only method to calm your nerves. A simple mindfulness technique is to pay genuine attention to what you are doing in the moment and not clutter your mind with unrelated concerns.
3. Setting Boundaries
According to a Randstad Workmonitor survey, 65% of Singaporeans reported feeling more stressed out since the pandemic and expressed a desire to make some changes to achieve better overall work-life balance.3 Contributing factors to this issue include the rise in work from home and the “culture” of always being available online. This makes it hard to “turn off”, so to speak.
A lot of people have their personal space serving also as their work space, making it difficult to separate their personal life and work life. And, young employees who are fresh in the workforce, especially, may feel the excessive need to please their bosses, resulting in them working far beyond work hours.
Increasing productivity and work output does not necessarily mean working longer hours, which only makes you more tired and stressed. Let your superiors know if you have too much on your plate, and establish healthy boundaries between work and personal life so that you honour both.
SIM E-Learning: Designed for Working Adults
Preserving your emotional and physical well-being promotes better mood and mental clarity, making it less likely for you to experience burnout.
Upskilling or reskilling to bolster your career opportunities is essential in this day and age, but you might be worried about whether you’ll be able to fit in postgraduate study as a professional working full time.
Understanding this, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) offers programmes designed especially with the working professional in mind: fully online; a learning platform that is accessible anytime, anywhere; and, a course structure that sees you studying just one subject at a time.
Gain industry-relevant and future-proof skills in your area of choice today:
Develop skills to boost your career progression in business and beyond.
Implement innovative, engaging, and effective marketing strategies in the digital space.
Build sustainable foundations for the modern workforce.
Collect and interpret complex data sets to drive key business decisions.
Utilise data analysis and visualisation expertise to communicate information to non-data experts.
Enhance critical IT management skills to navigate an ever-changing tech environment.
Develop a deeper understanding of the tools and techniques needed to bolster cyber resilience.