August 2022


How to identify burnout and recover

(NC) The mental, physical and emotional exhaustion that are hallmarks of burnout can start to creep up on you. Though often associated with work, burnout can happen in other situations too – the common factor is ongoing severe stress.

We all want to avoid burnout if we can, but it’s a common condition. In fact, according to a recent survey, feelings of burnout were the main source of stress related to a 12 per cent drop in reported rates of excellent or good mental health compared to the survey’s 2019 results.

Moreover, Canadians who said they had poor mental health were also more likely to take time off from work due to disability than those who reported good mental health.

“It’s no doubt been a challenging and unpredictable time for many working Canadians,” says Jean Salvadore, senior director of life and living benefits at RBC Insurance, which commissioned the survey.

Left unchecked, burnout can also lead to other serious health issues like heart problems, digestion and mood disorders, so it’s important to be on the lookout.

Signs to watch out for:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Lack of motivation and feeling disengaged
  • Cognitive problems like difficulty focusing
  • Feeling isolated
  • Feeling numb or a sense of dread
  • Physical and/or mental exhaustion
  • Tension headaches and stomach issues
  • Cynicism, anger or irritability

What you can do:

  • Do something big or small that you enjoy
  • Reaffirm work-life boundaries
  • Practice self-care strategies
  • Get active and eat well
  • Take time off and really relax – even if it seems impossible
  • Develop a support network of trusted family, friends or a therapist

Another important just-in-case action is to speak with an expert about disability insurance, which can replace your income if you can’t work due to mental health issues from burnout.

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