If you often feel exhausted with nothing “left in the tank” at the end of the day, you may be burned out. While stress is a natural part of life, excessive stress over a sustained period of time can lead to burnout – a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
In 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially recognised burnout in their Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). WHO characterises burnout by three key factors: “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.” In simpler terms, if you’re constantly exhausted, feeling overwhelmed or hopeless, and having difficulty maintaining personal connections, you’re showing signs of burnout.
Burnout isn’t just a workplace phenomenon; it can occur in many other contexts, particularly in mothers with young children. The mental and emotional load of anticipating, caring for the needs of family members, with or without the addition of a busy job or running a business, can leave many women feeling exhausted.
If you’re feeling burnt-out, there are some things you can do to help yourself:
- Reach out to family, friends, or a professional for support.
- Let go of perfectionism and prioritise spending time on things that truly matter to you and your family. A good question to ask yourself when deciding what to let go of is: “how will I feel in six months if I don’t do this?”
- Schedule five-minute breaks throughout your day to rest and recharge your energy e.g. take a walk (without your phone) around the block. Or, if you’re home with your children during the day, find a quiet place to sit without being disturbed.
- Take a daily yoga class or meditate for 10 minutes. This will help to regulate your breath and slow your racing mind.
- Invest any spare pockets of time in things that “fill your cup”. This might be reading a book, listening to music, calling a close friend for a catch-up, going for a swim or a surf.
- Restrict your time on social media, or better yet, take a break for a few weeks.
Katherine Craig is a Senior Learning & Development Consultant at Impact HR; a Northern Beaches-based friendly, innovative, and results driven HR consultancy with a passion for helping small and medium size businesses. An experienced coach and facilitator, Katherine has a Master of Science in Coaching Psychology and her work is deeply grounded in a love for helping individuals and teams grow and develop to their full potential.