Prevention of Burnout Begins with Prioritising One’s Own Needs

The pressures of our professional and personal lives have become difficult to manage, and it is important that we look for ways to reduce the strain we are all under. If we do not take heed of this warning, we risk hastening our own burnout.

Why do people become burned out?

The need of paying attention to our mental health is unquestionable, but what exactly is burnout?

We interviewed Marcos Sponton, the Founder and CEO of Yerbo, a Latin American platform designed to assist developers in avoiding burnout, in order to gain further insight and obtain some self-care tips.

By definition, burnout occurs when there is a gap between the demands of our work and our ability to cope.

Here are four signs that you could be exhausted:

  • Fatigue – Just as over-exerting yourself on the treadmill can lead to feeling drained, so can dedicating too much time and energy to work. Fatigue is the result of prolonged and excessive effort. It’s important to remember that mental and emotional exertion can be just as tiring as physical exertion.
  • Burnout can be identified by a sense of cynicism. A lack of engagement with one’s job can often be a sign that motivation and enthusiasm have been lost, and a feeling of not being able to contribute anything further. In essence, apathy has set in.
  • It is important to maintain a professional attitude when working, and to be aware of the signs of burnout. One of the key symptoms is becoming emotionally distant from those you interact with regularly, including clients, colleagues and managers. This can manifest as cynicism towards the job or a depersonalization of those involved. It is important to be aware of these warning signs and to take steps to address them if they arise.
  • Self-doubt can be a hindrance to achieving personal and professional success. When lacking in self-efficacy, one may be unable to reach important objectives due to a lack of belief in their own capabilities. This internal struggle is distinct from those issues which arise from interactions with other people and professional performance.

When you are feeling overwhelmed with work, it can be difficult to stay connected with those around you and to find faith in yourself. You may lose sight of the purpose of the task you are performing and feel too exhausted to do anything about it.

It’s unfortunate that so many people in our field have to deal with this situation, but it’s the reality for many of us.

Guidelines for basic self-care

Now, the question is, what can be done to prevent burnout?

  • Identifying the problem is essential in order to effectively deal with it, much like with any classic horror movie. Recognising the signs of burnout and giving it a name is the initial step to preventing it from becoming too severe.
  • It is important to be able to communicate your feelings to those around you. If you recognize the signs of burnout, it is advised to speak to your manager about potential solutions. If you are experiencing mental health issues, talking to somebody is the initial step towards receiving help.

It is understandable that not all individuals may feel comfortable discussing matters with their line manager. Should this be the case, it is recommended to seek out a different point of contact, whether that be a member of the HR team or another colleague.

  • Monitoring your state of burnout is also recommended. Keep track of your feelings and seek assistance early on if you are aware of the warning signs.
  • It is important to recognize that different people have different requirements and expectations. Whilst yoga and other mindfulness activities may provide benefits, it is important to remember that they are not guaranteed to provide miraculous solutions. Therefore, it is crucial to consider a range of options and to select a solution which is most suitable for you.
  • In other words, don’t try to save the day. We can’t do it all by ourselves, and trying to do so just puts you in harm’s way.

Supervisors, please read on

Managers and team leaders also have options for keeping their teams safe.

It is important to get an understanding of the atmosphere within the company, but conducting a large survey every six months is not the most effective way of achieving this. It is vital to create a system for regular check-ins with staff to show your commitment to tackling burnout. Additionally, you should practice what you preach and take the time to look after your own wellbeing.

It is essential for managers to communicate with their employees regarding mental health matters using language that is mutually understood. By maintaining a consistent tone, the message will be taken more seriously.

Do you want to further your career in software engineering as a developer? The Works Talent Network is accepting applications at this time.

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