CALS Wellness Committee tip: Ways to combat occupational burnout

Employee burnout is defined by the World Health Organization as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

Many people feel one or more of these three dimensions at some point in their careers and it is completely normal. In fact, according to a survey by Future Forum, more than 40% of people with desk jobs feel burned out at work. How it’s addressed is key. If it’s ignored, it is not likely to get any better. However, taking steps to combat those feelings can make a huge positive difference.

Not sure how to take those steps? The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides some great ideas on where to start:

  • Hold walking meetings: This provides a chance to get up and move during short meetings as well as a nice change in scenery. These meetings can be extremely effective, given there’s an agenda to keep things on track.
  • Take Mental Health Days/ Value Vacations: Vacation days are a benefit that not everyone uses to its fullest. It’s important to make sure to take time for yourself and use your vacation days. Having days off can be a nice way to come back feeling refreshed.
  • Be proactive: This works with the point above about vacation days. If you’re starting to feel burned out at work, schedule some time for yourself before the burnout gets bad. Knowing and acting on your needs can be an extremely effective way to combat burnout.
  • Weigh priorities: If you have several work projects going simultaneously, it helps to select your top two or three to focus in on. As the SHRM article states, “Being crystal clear on your top priorities drives performance and prevents burnout.”
  • Encourage friendships: Creating meaningful friendships among coworkers creates a deeper connection to the work at hand and promotes engagement.

And the list goes on. If you’re looking to do a deeper dive into this topic, the CALS Wellness Committee is hosting a virtual LifeMatters session on May 16 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. titled “LifeMatters Stress Management: Creating a Healthy Mind: Addressing Burnout.” See below for full details and how to register.

LifeMatters Stress Management: Creating a Healthy Mind: Addressing Burnout

  • Tuesday, May 16, 10:30-11:30am
  • Registration link:
  • Description: Burnout is a real thing that leaves us exhausted, detached from our jobs and inefficient in all areas of our lives. Creating a healthy mindset that is flexible and able to adapt to the stress everyday life is a remedy for burnout. Content includes:
    • Mindful living and mindful habits
    • Building resilience through focusing on managing energy in four areas: Physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual
    • Increasing emotional intelligence through self-awareness, self- management, and empathy

Please feel free to join as you are able! This will be a great session that provides resources for how to navigate the feeling of burnout at work.