In January of 2021, we talked with some of our colleagues about Wholeness At Work and freeing yourself from burnout over the long run. As we spoke, we talked about using what we learned in 2020 to lead to a better, more whole 2021. We wanted to share some of those insights with you.
What Is Burnout?
In short, burnout is chronic or prolonged stress. It is not healthy stress (eustress). For example, that feeling before a deadline where your heart races, helps you perform, and then it passes. Instead, it is a feeling that persists. A constant stress “distress” that doesn’t let up.
Burnout can look like emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced effectiveness at work—and that’s before a pandemic. In 2020, many of us experienced this unrelenting state, and if that sounds like you, we hope these tips can help.
We are looking at this with the integral theory in mind. That means we will tap into I (individuals), We (relational and cultural), and It (systems and structures that keep burnout in place). We are also going to talk about what wholeness looks like.
What Does Wholeness Look Like In 2021?
“For me, 2021 and wholeness is really about redefining, ‘what does wholeness mean?'[…] How do I get rid of the shoulda coulda woulda’s of the outside world and really just focus in on what makes me thrive and what makes my family thrive.”
For all of us, we get the opportunity to re-design work. It doesn’t have to work in a system that is broken. One thing the pandemic has done is allowed us to re-think how we do our work. Nathan Chappel, Senior Vice President of DonorSearch, recalled:
“I had given up on the idea of work-life balance prior to 2020. Twenty-twenty forced me, personally, into a new path where self-compassion wasn’t equated to selfishness. For most of my career I had poured into others but didn’t really take care of myself. Twenty-twenty forced me to look much deeper inward than I had in the past and figure out where my drivers of inspiration were coming from and the value that it plays on learning. So, I created new ways of working. I really hope for myself, and a lot of people, that 2021 will be the impetus to really care for themselves more.”
What Symptoms of Burnout Are Prevalent In Our Lives
Our symptoms of burnout can each look different. In this talk, Erin Rocchio, Partner at Evolution and creator of Wholeness At Work, brought up the point that in 2020, there was no ignoring of the social and political unrest in our nation. Our eyes were consistently glued to our screens and keyboards and continuously fed stressful information. All of this, while being met with taking care of our children, home life and work during a pandemic! These things cumulatively can and did cause burnout for many of us.
So, when talking to the panel, we dove into this a little more. A common theme in our panel’s symptoms was resignation. Saying, “This is all too much.” Disengaging from work and the minutiae of our lives. From news. But how can we stay engaged and take care of our individual needs?
Solutions For Burnout
Stuart McCalla gives light into how to stay engaged. He asks, what feeds you in all dimensions? For Rachel Fellowes, Founder of Yoke Consultancy, not doing anything was the most productive thing that she could do at the end of the day.
Before you can work on the solutions, you have to notice. Notice your natural rhythms and how you are feeling deep down at your core.
As a leader, it is essential to notice when your team is headed toward burnout. Nathan Chappell shared that, in his leadership roles, as he felt that his team was sliding, he would ask his team to take the day off. They were not allowed to work at all. He shares of his team, “In fact, if you don’t send in a picture of you doing something other than work we are going to count it toward your vacation time.” This created a dialogue that allowed his team to be aware of burnout.
Sources of Burnout in 2020
Lack of space and boundaries.
Lack of community.
Engagement with social media and news.
There are so many sources of burnout. We are grappling with discord in our personal and professional lives. Ask yourself how you can create community, turn some meetings into emails, and give yourself some space. Whatever burnout may look like for you, we can help you work through it.
For more on this topic, please watch the full video. We know you will find tips and solutions in this video that will help you along your journey. You can also join us in our self-guided coaching program, Wholeness At Work.