With workers in the UK returning to the office in their greatest numbers since the pandemic, the number of Brits suffering from burnout or stress-related illnesses is also on the rise.
Self-employed people such as business owners or freelancers may be more susceptible to burnout due to long working hours and the weight of responsibility that they carry.
For many, work and life have become intertwined; fortunately, Private Rehab Clinic Delamere has shared tips on how you can tackle burnout when self-employed and the common signs.
How you can tackle burnout
Set goals and priorities
Having a mountain of work with no plan in place to move forward can sometimes feel overwhelming. It can help to take a step back to assess which of your tasks need prioritising and which ones will help you achieve your goals.
Speak to your colleagues or clients
Being honest with the people you are working with or about your mental health can often make things easier. You may be surprised at how understanding other people are of your situation.
By being open with others, you will better understand what to expect from each other, meaning you will have a stronger professional relationship.
Ask for help
Never be afraid to ask for help if you feel that your stress is too much to handle and start showing burnout signs. Getting external advice through counselling or therapy can give you a new perspective on a situation to guide you through any problems.
If you do not feel comfortable with counselling, then simply reaching out to friends and family can be enough to help you talk through your problems.
Sometimes when work life is becoming too stressful, all you need to do is take a short break from it all. Returning to work after a much-needed break can give a person a more positive mindset.
Those who are self-employed are often in charge of their schedule and can overlook the need to take holidays. Some surveys have shown that nearly one in ten business owners go up to five years without taking a holiday.
Consider changing things
If your line of work is causing you constant stress and it feels that there is no way out, then it may be worth considering if you are genuinely following the right career path for you.
It may be the case that you do not need to change your career path altogether but that your daily work routine needs to be altered. Consider making small changes, such as your place of work. If you are stuck in an office or at home all day, you may benefit from finding a co-working space or coffee shop to work in.
Sometimes changes can be as simple as investing in new equipment or simply taking more regular breaks from your working day. Implementing these small changes makes you less likely to burn out from stress.
Put self-care first
Work-life can be demanding, especially for self-employed people under pressure to meet deadlines for various clients. However, when we demand too much of ourselves, it can damage our physical and mental health.
Remind yourself that you come first. Maintaining a healthy sleeping and eating pattern while keeping up a rewarding social life and strong relationships is more important to your mental well-being than anything you do while on the clock.
Spotting the signs of burnout
Feeling tired all the time
If you wake up feeling exhausted and find that you are still feeling drained even after being awake for a few hours and a cup of coffee in your system, then this may be a sign that you have burnout.
Lack of motivation
During burnout, people may completely withdraw from their workplace or work tasks. Simply going through the motions while at work without any motivation – or taking no joy whatsoever from your accomplishments at work – could indicate that you are experiencing burnout.
Recurring health problems
A person suffering from burnout may experience frequent and recurring headaches, muscle pains, and feelings of indigestion and stomach aches.
Finding yourself easily irritated or frustrated, even by small things, and then snapping out at others is a possible sign that you are carrying too much stress from work.
When someone suffers from burnout, it can severely affect their mental health. A person can have a heightened sense of self-doubt, feel like a failure and even experience impostor syndrome.
A person with burnout may also experience increased feelings of isolation and detachment from their colleagues, friends and family.
When burnout occurs, people may avoid their responsibilities, regardless of how small those responsibilities may be. Instead, a person will fill their time with procrastination and indulging in comforting distractions.
During burnout, a person may be more likely to turn to other comforts and coping mechanisms such as comfort eating junk food or even consuming alcohol and drugs. Engaging in any habit excessively to cope with stress may signify burnout.
Change in sleeping and eating habits
Stress can mess with our natural cycle, and someone who is experiencing unnaturally high levels of stress may find that their sleeping habits are altered as they stay up late and sleep in.
A person may also find themselves skipping or avoiding regular meal times, losing appetite at some points in the day, or craving comforting junk food at others.