Work for those battling on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as never been more challenging, which only increases the chances of burnout.
Employers can put various tactics and protocols in place, and organize help for teams, but workers should also be vigilant for early signs their job is causing physical and mental exhaustion, or that friends are suffering.
Signs of burnout can include:
- Exhaustion. Work-related stress can leave you so wiped out you feel like you can’t move a muscle.
- Poor attitude. When you’re physically worn out, your attitude slips, too. Maybe you’re feeling cynical, indifferent or like your efforts are meaningless.
- Depression. Even if it’s work – or, more specifically, COVID-19 – that’s stressing you out, it can seep into the other parts of your life and leave you depressed.
- Irritability. This can be at work or at home, and can range from snapping at others to actual anger.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Difficulty sleeping. You’re exhausted, but when you lay down to rest, you cannot fall asleep.
- Frequent headaches.
If some or all of these symptoms apply, there are steps you can take to pinpoint the source of overload and make adjustments:
- Examine your current workload and workflow. Consider the following questions to help organize your thoughts: In what areas of work do you feel most overloaded? Is it all over or with specific tasks? Are there areas in your workflow where you want more control and flexibility? Can you carve out time during the day for breaks and self-care? Can you come up with possible solutions for any of these concerns?
- Consider scheduling a meeting with your boss/supervisor. Talk to them about specific areas where you think your workflow or workload could be improved, and how these potential solutions might work for others as well. By scheduling a meeting, you can present your concerns in an organized manner and discuss them together.
- Examine your current “basics” regimen. It can be easy to focus so much on work demands that you neglect the basics. Are you getting enough sleep? Do you give your body the nutrition it needs? Are you spending any time in nature? Do you move your body? Are you staying connected with loved ones, either in person or via technology?
- Set healthy limits for yourself. You should be able to “switch off” when you leave work for the day to avoid the potential overload and exhaustion that can result when your professional and personal lives collide.
- Make time for “mini mindful breaks” throughout the day. Even brief moments of respite throughout the day can be beneficial. Consider ways you can use this time — taking a short walk, reading your favorite blog, deep breathing or stretching.
- Seek support. Consider talking with trusted coworkers, friends and loved ones for support. They might be able to help you sort through your emotions and organize your thoughts. You can also seek professional help to cope with the effects of burnout. Talk to your primary care provider or behavioral health provider, or find out if your employer offers help through an Employee Assistance Program.
The Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network is now scheduling virtual-health visits for mental health and addiction services. Call your provider for details. New patients can schedule a virtual visit by calling 1.888.984.2408.
Need to see your doctor? New Patient? For more information about Hartford HealthCare virtual health visits, click here.
Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent care doctor.
Stay with Hartford HealthCare for everything you need to know about the coronavirus threat. Click here for information updated daily.
Questions? Call our 24-hour hotline (860.972.8100 or, toll-free, 833.621.0600).
Get text alerts by texting 31996 with COVID19 in the message field.