Whether or not you’ve experienced it yourself, burnout is a real thing. What is burnout?? Burnout emerges as a response to chronic stressors on the job, characterized by three key areas: overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from the job, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.
Women are more likely to experience high levels of stress than men, meaning burnout is also more common in women than in men. I know this doesn’t sound very fair if you’re a woman!
Causes of burnout can include excessive pressure, responsibilities, workloads, etcetera. There are fixes out there, but the fixes tend to act more like band-aids. According to The Institute of Women International, internal expectations and conflicts increase the chance of burnout for 4 out of 5 women, compared to only 1 out of 8 men. These expectations and conflicts women experience include (but are not limited to):
- Trying to avoid disappointing people around them, especially those they view highly
- Feeling “less than”, causing them to overcompensate and go beyond expectations to feel validated
- Fearing failure and resulting perceptions from others
- Internal expectations of perfectionism, caused by a need to prove themselves
As a female, how can you get ahead of the issues and reduce your chance of burnout?
Recognize your natural flow and work with it
Let’s get it out of the way that “flow” talk is uncomfortable so we can get to the point that 90% of women report a drop in productivity throughout the month. This is something that unfortunately cannot be overlooked when discussing burnout. As a woman, it is important to take time to recognize which parts of the months/weeks/days you are at your highest and vice versa. Use this knowledge to your advantage, being strategic with your schedule. This will help you fight burnout, while also increasing your productivity.
Realize your negative thoughts go much deeper than just a negative thought
Do you have the mindset of “fake it until you make it”? Many of us do without knowing it, likely encouraging others to do the same. Don’t get me wrong, the “fake it until you make it” mindset does work! For a while… After some time, this mindset will magnify internal issues, allowing your internal critic to take over your thoughts. Step outside of your head for a bit to acknowledge the triggers of your inner critic. This will allow you to deal with stresses more confidently and with more ease.
Surround yourself with people you can relate with
You might already subconsciously spend your time with like-minded people, but it is vital to seek these relationships to help your chances of avoiding burnout. It is too easy to get caught up in the demands of work and home, losing any desire you have to attend social events. Although it might feel uncomfortable, try to find a balance between work and play. You may otherwise experience increasing levels of stress. Take time to connect with others on a deeper level, building relationships where empathy and vulnerability are present. Life is hard and you’re not alone. The right relationships will help you thrive, able to inspire others and be inspired by others.
Burnout might be looming for you or others in your life, whether you’re a man or woman; see it and understand it so you can be proactive and fight it off. The tips above will help you thrive, driving the success of your team and organization as well.
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