Avoiding Burnout and Managing Work Life Balance

Avoiding Burnout and Managing Work Life Balance

The concept of Burn Out seems to be thrown around in recent years – with awareness around its seriousness growing. As you can imagine – this issue is very relevant during current challenges.

The average full-time employee in Australia works 37.4 hours a week (not including overtime), Around 30% of employed men and 11% of employed women report usual working hours of 45 or more each week.[1]

Burnout is a serious issue and should not be overlooked, it can seriously disrupt your life – In fact, it puts us at risk for anxiety, fatigue, apathy, making mistakes, memory problems and sleep deprivation. And it is not just the emotional toll, statistics show working more than 55 + hours a week leads to a significantly higher risk of stroke and heart disease compared to those who work 35-40 hours a week[2].

So how do we get on top of it and manage our work stress to avoid burnout?

A large aspect of managing burnout is realising that there is no easy fix, it is about long term self-care and management of stresses and work life balance to avoid the compounding build up leading to burnout.

In the current COVID lockdown climate in many of our major cities’ – remote work, while keeping us safe is also blurring the lines between work and life for many.

About 70% of people who transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic say they now work on the weekends, and 45 percent say they regularly work more hours during the week than they did before.[3]

 Here are some tips on how maintain some balance and look after ourselves:

  • Start your day right: establishing a morning routine can help to feel balanced and prepare yourself for starting the workday. Establish a routine that works for you, it could be planning your outfit, preparing a nutritious breakfast or getting up early to go for a walk, practice a morning meditation or have a coffee with your loved ones.
  • Set limits when you start and end your day and stick to those. Ideally, don’t work on weekends or at least limit your work to a couple of hours on one weekend day but not the other. Office automatic email responses are helpful to let your colleagues know when you are unreachable.
  • Set a routine and schedule in time for lunch breaks and regular exercise: keeping to a regular routine helps establish a sense of normalcy and you are more likely to stick to your schedule if planned. Regular exercise is great for our physical health and mental wellbeing.
  • Delegate and access support where available: Identify where you need help and ask for it, speak to supervisors and colleagues if you are feeling like there is too much on your plate, outsource tasks when possible and accept help from those who offers. Working cohesively with a team can help improve social connection and also increase productivity.

These are a few tips that you can incorporate from tomorrow to manage your work life balance and help you to reduce the risk of overwork and burnout impacting you, without sacrificing your success in your workplace and career. The consequences of not incorporating work-life balance into your life may be serious – starting to use strategies like this are a great place to start.

This is the second article in our new WWNSW Wellbeing Series – we are aiming to share articles, resources and tips weekly with advice from our EAP program to manage stress and promote wellbeing in and out of the workplace. 

[1] https://fbe.unimelb.edu.au/newsroom/push-for-longer-hours-makes-headlines,-but-more-australians-want-to-work-less
[2] https://www.who.int/news/item/17-05-2021-long-working-hours-increasing-deaths-from-heart-disease-and-stroke-who-ilo
[3] https://eapassist.com.au/eap-assist/beat-burnout/