Roblynn Hunnisett, Certified Coach, MBA is a coach at MyLife Counselling in Guelph. Her focus is Life Coaching, Financial Coaching, Business Coaching, Leadership Coaching, and Retirement Coaching. Learn more about Roblynn here.

Are you “Burnt Out” at Work?

While burnout and depression share similar mental health characteristics, they are not the same. Webster’s dictionary defines burn-out as: the emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion which comes from extended exposure to stress. This can be caused by emotionally demanding situations or overworking and pushing yourself too hard without taking care of yourself and honoring your needs.

Career burnout is the most common type, and normally a precise cause can always be found:

  • long work hours,
  • high-stakes responsibilities,
  • unrealistic expectations,
  • a toxic or fear-based workplace culture,
  • expectation to offer high-performance with inadequate resources,
  • an unsafe work environment,
  • discouraged use of employee benefits, such as paid time off,
  • perfectionism, and/or
  • low compensation.

While burnout is usually spoken about regarding our job or professional responsibilities, it can happen with any aspect of your life. Burnout risks to look for include:

  • having unclear job expectations and little support,
  • being in a toxic work or family environment,
  • taking on caregiving or parenting roles without enough support,
  • using continuous energy and focus without a break,
  • feeling isolated or feeling unsupported,
  • working too much at the expense of your personal life, and/or
  • missing time with your friends and family.

Everyone is susceptible to burnout and will usually experience it at a point in their life. Symptoms of burnout to look out for include:

  • emotional, physical, or mental exhaustion,
  • anxiety or worrying all the time,
  • issues falling or staying asleep,
  • trouble with your memory,
  • poor job performance,
  • headaches,
  • fatigue,
  • feelings of hopelessness.

How can a life coach help you with burnout? It is a good question! In workplaces, individuals will reach that point of exhaustion and then rest, instead of taking on an initiative approach. However, with a toxic cycle it is usually destructive overall. Burnout is not an illness; it is your body’s way of telling you your stress response is overloaded. It is no wonder burnouts are often accompanied by anxiety, panic attacks, stomach problems, body pains, headaches…the nervous system just says NO! If you are experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, seeking help from a mental health professional can also be beneficial.

So where does coaching come in?

Coaching is a way to interrupt that cycle by bringing awareness to patterns and changing the behaviour. Coaching can help you create new responses, so the workload becomes more manageable. The goal is to prevent burnout in the first place rather than “fixing it.”

When developing strategies to prevent burnout, clients have told me that they appreciate the “space” to think and feel. We all need space to process without our work friends, employees or, employers surrounding us. When burnout occurs, we need time to process, not time to rest. Life coaching gives you space to respond to work, to life, rather than react or go into overdrive.

Often, we associate boundaries with family and our home life, but what are your work boundaries? Are you able to talk to your co-worker about something without feeling uncomfortable? Do you look after your team members, even when you are struggling yourself? Do you constantly work outside of your office hours?

Coaching will help you look at what scares you about saying no. Healthy boundaries are needed to create a beneficial work-life balance. Create boundaries to perform at your best. Set the goal and work through it.

Life does not occur in just our heads; it occurs in everything that makes us unique. It is one of the reasons, yoga, massages, and boxing are so popular as they release tension and allows our body to breathe. In my coaching sessions, I often ask, which part of your body do you feel the burnout? By identifying that region, you can create a plan that collaborates with you and gives your overthinking mindset a time to breathe and reset.

Coaching is an opportunity to explore if you are in a work environment that is suitable for you. Sometimes you will be able to adapt or ask others to support you and it works out. Other times, it will not. That is okay!

With coaching, we can look at the various components at work that would set you up for success. We look at what you value, your skill set (which may have changed and grown), what opportunities are out there for you, and what opportunities you would like to have in your life.

Your life and outlook can change with every decade that passes which will affect your work and how you approach it.

Through coaching, we learn and explore things about ourselves, but what do we do with that newfound knowledge? How do we implement it and we start to communicate effectively with the people around us?

First, we need to understand what normally happens when we communicate with coworkers or folks at home. It is important to determine what gets in the way of you communicating how you want to work and what you want to accomplish. Is there something that scares you? How you want to be perceived, and what you can do when it does not go to plan? We can practice scenarios of what you might say, how you might say it, or how you could respond to various scenarios.

This step is incredibly important in preventing burnout because we often keep the thoughts and feelings which precede burnout to ourselves. We fear people will think we are being sensitive, weak, or dramatic. We tell ourselves it is not that bad – we should just get on with it and get the job done.
I believe creating effective communication, is one of the biggest preventors of burnout because it means we can get support and find solutions sooner.

Come and proactively manage your challenges and find new energy to make life-changing discoveries.

If any of these points resonate with you, check with your employer to see if they have training budgets and remember if you are self-employed, you can write the expense at tax time. Based in Guelph, Ontario and serving the world!

Roblynn Hunnisett, Certified Coach, MBA is a coach at MyLife Counselling in Guelph. Her focus is Life Coaching, Financial Coaching, Business Coaching, Leadership Coaching, and Retirement Coaching. Learn more about Roblynn here.

Share This Post

About Our Counsellors

Need to Ask Questions First?

Check out our FAQ

Call 1-800-828-9484 or e-mail us today