Do you feel that accomplishing everything on your to-do list gets harder every day?
Do you feel that accomplishing everything on your to-do list gets harder every day? The workload seems to get bigger, and your motivation is just not enough? You might be suffering from burnout.
According to the World Health Organization, burnout syndrome is a result of workplace stress that has not been properly managed. The main characteristics are reduced efficacy, mental distance -like negativism or cynicism- towards the job, and feelings of exhaustion. It is not classified as a medical condition, but it is a phenomenon that makes people contact their health services.
Burnout is not a merely pandemic feeling, but studies have shown that the current situation makes it more common and worst. The findings in a survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review are worrisome: 85% of people feel like their well-being has declined, 62% of people are struggling to meet their workload or balance work with their other responsibilities, and even some report difficulty in keeping connected with other people (Forbes, 2021).
The rise of burnout makes sense, as the pandemic has difficulted the separation between personal and professional life. Working from home is losing the relaxation space a house is supposed to be, as now the stress of work is occurring in the same environment. And it is even worst for women, as usually the role of housekeeping has been delegated to us. Research made in Colombia found that the weekly hours of work have increased for women, which should be worrisome for the gender gap all over the world.
So, what is next? First, it is necessary to stop the guilt of not being as productive as we used to be. The pandemic changed everything about our daily interactions and routines, but at the same time, we are trying to keep the same pace of work and productivity. Adapting to a new way of life has not been easy, especially since the current situation is leading to millions of deaths, so it should be normal to feel like not everything is okay, as it is not. We are losing an essential part of human existence, which is social interaction, and it cannot be treated as something small.
Workspaces need to focus on how to support their employees, giving them necessary spaces for their well-being. For example, respecting working hours. Being at home does not mean 24-hour availability, so meetings and emails should wait for the next day when the office time is over. Mental health spaces are also important, as communication is key to understanding why burnout is happening within the space, so to find the best solutions.
Now that it has been more than a year since the beginning of the pandemic, we should be more comprehensive with others, as our responses to a critical situation are not the same. This is a difficult time, so shaming ourselves or others for not being at the top of our game is just not the way it should be.