An Inside Out Approach: Can Employees Help Themselves Prevent Burnout?

It’s not you – it’s me.

I don’t have to tell you the bad news about burnout–it’s common knowledge. According to Gallup, two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job.  It’s been recognized by the World Health Organization in the latest version of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11); and the Mayo Clinic defines it as “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.”

As someone who experienced total burnout years ago, I can see more clearly the parts I played leading up to the biggest crash and burn of my life, and also see steps I might have taken to change the outcome.

As someone who experienced total burnout years ago, I can now see more clearly the parts I played leading up to the biggest crash and burn of my life, including.the steps I might have taken to change the outcome.

The majority of articles you’ll read focus on how companies, leaders and managers should change to prevent employee burnout.  I agree that it’s definitely critical at this point for companies to step up and make changes.  However, I feel that there’s a big part of the puzzle missing.  Relationships are a two-way street and it’s also important for the employees to step up, make some changes in their own lives, and take responsibility for their own emotional wellness.

According to Gallup, the five main causes of employee burnout are:

  • Unfair Treatment
  • Unmanageable Workload
  • Lack of Role Clarity
  • Lack of Communication and Support
  • Unreasonable Time Pressure

Instead of looking at these areas from the perspective of how the company is treating the employee,  let’s take a look at these five areas from the inside out – how the employee treats themselves. Why?  When a person is unhappy, frustrated, stressed, angry, etc., they look for an external source that must be causing those feelings. It’s easier to point our finger outward, so we don’t have to be held accountable for our part of the problem.  We don’t have to look inside or work on ourselves.

We all have our internal patterns, scripts or lens through which we view the world and act on it by rote.  We repeat the same thought patterns, which lead to the same feelings, over and over again.  The ultimate vicious cycle (and the definition of insanity).  The outside world may change – but the inside world cannot (or will not) recognize it.

What do you think?  As an employee, do you think you could take some steps to prevent a burnout episode in your own life?  Are you already burned out?  Do you think you could have done anything to prevent it?

Stay tuned!  Over the next five articles, we will take a look at the five elements that cause employee burnout from a completely different perspective.  Make sure to comment, share, and follow me!

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