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Nation on the Brink: Burnout Report Signals Crisis

It is hardly a secret but we, as a nation we are suffering. The new "Burnout Report" from Mental Health UK Charity paints a clear picture of a nation teetering on the edge of exhaustion. This comprehensive report,

explores the alarming rise of burnout, a consequence of excessive workplace stress recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO). Let’s take a look at what Burnout is, why and how it affects us and what we can do about it.

What is Burnout?

WHO have said that burnout is a result of chronic stress within the workplace, however, MHUK have rightly challenged this and has provided evidence that burn out is also a result of social stresses. The charity found that 91% of adults have experienced burnout with 1 in 5 people taking time off due to this prolonged stress. Numbers that are far too high to sit easy with me. We have to admit though, that not all stress is bad, in fact I have reads other articles that suggest stress can actually be a useful tool in propelling us forward. I certainly remember working furiously and with determination to meet a deadline. Stress, at times, serves a purpose in finishing challenges and simply getting stuff done! However, if we live that stress day in day out, then now we have a problem!

How Have We Got Here?

 How have we managed to run ourselves into the ground so much that we are harming our bodies and our minds? Could it simply be we are increasingly recording honest feedback or is there something darker at play? Lots of questions, and I certainly don’t have all the answers, but let’s draw some more information out of the Burnout Report.

MHUK have also reported that social factors play a part in our total exhaustion. Stress could be caused by financial issues, I mean what a time to live in; the cost of living has gone through the roof, I certainly feel the pinch of this. Had I realised this was going to happen would I have left my job to pursue my dream of being a therapeutic art life coach? Maybe not! Other social issues are feelings of isolation, lack of sleep (perhaps due to the stressors!) and declining physical health. I’m sure if you are reading this blog then you will relate to at least one of these contributing factors!

Quite simply, long exposure to these stresses results in burnout. We weren’t designed to take on everything and to win and be excellent at all the things!

A Global Impact

MHUK suggests a changing world and the global impact of recent events. Let’s think about COVID for example, it completely reinvented the wheel when it came to the workplace and our social lives. What used to be normal was replaced by ‘the new norm’. The lines between home and work became blurred as we began to work from home. Some people loved it but personally I felt isolated doing a job alone which was very much based about helping and working with my employees! Did you know though, for those of you who loved working from home and then ordered back to the office full time, this contributed to burn out? And anyway, why was that even necessary? I mean we had proved we could work from home, we adapted the tech and broke through barriers, so let us be hybrids!

But let’s not stop there….the disruption and chaos brought to the world through wars have created even more uncertainty. Financially, personally, and socially.  Every time we think we have reached a ‘new norm’ the carpet gets whipped out from beneath us, forcing us to question where we are at in life, forcing us to adapt more quickly than we would perhaps like, forcing us to embrace uncertainty when most of us need security and reassurance.

Considering the stress we feel within the workplace or within our own businesses, or the stress of landing a job mixed with these social pressures, it’s no wonder we are at breaking point!

A Healthy Working Environment

Let’s head back to the workplace for a moment. Let’s consider what a good workplace looks like (it’ll be different for everyone)! One thing for sure it does not look like this (paraphrased findings from the MHUK Report)

·         Half of employees disclosing their employer has zero wellbeing strategy in place.

·         A workplace that has no well being policy and procedure around stress means our health/workload is left unchecked resulting in a decline of both physical and mental health.

·         1 in 5 people being signed off work due to stress.

·         35% of employees not feeling comfortable in talking their burn out with employers.

It is very true that employers have a duty of care to the people that work with them, but I would also like to highlight that our well being is a shared responsibility. Changes will not happen until we ourselves can be open and honest about what we need to function within our workplace and in our lives without fear of judgement or being discriminated against!

We need more well being strategies within the work culture to promote our mental health wellbeing, with proactive procedures to ensure people do not slip beneath the net. With this in place we begin to move away from a reactive culture when mostly it is too late to save our employees and people go off sick or resign.

We need more training…. Think Mental Health First Aid Training and more training for line managers so they can actually support those they are looking after. Too many times I see managers in positions with zero experience of how to lead and support a team effectively!

We need regular check ins, much more than an annual appraisal, we just need to normalise talking about how it is all going and how we feel.

We need to understand what a reasonable and achievable workload is for our individual employees. We need more acknowledgement for our hard work and results, (yes we need praise, we are not robots but humans with feelings!).

 We need companies to have the best resources to support wellbeing. And we need opportunities and encouragement to share the bare realities and to reflect on how we are feeling.

I feel so strongly about changing the workplace culture. We need more companies that support their employees, that OFFER WELLBEING OPPORTUNITIES, and all the things I have mentioned above! So much so that I now offer companies the opportunity to book me in to visit their workplace or to create online workshops.

 What I offer is something unique, an opportunity to bring employees together, an opportunity to relax so we can go back to our desks feeling refreshed and motivated, an opportunity to bond with our colleagues (you’ll be surprised what comes up in conversation when we are not talking about work and give our minds the chance to roam).

Through my therapeutic art workshops, we can work on understanding mental health illnesses and how they can impact our work and our lives, through creating vision boards we can start making goal-oriented decisions and begin taking action in the areas that matter most, through upcycling classes we can create solid and supportive teams and a chance to unwind. There is no one workshop fits all cliché here, my packages are tailored around your company’s needs and intentions. But let’s all start thinking outside the box when it comes to supporting our employees (and by the way when we are creative, we start thinking outside the box more resulting in finding more solutions!).

You can book in a call or Zoom with me today to chat about how I can help your company and employees.

 Let’s start prioritising our employees’ needs and protecting our businesses from burn out.

I would like to thank the Mental Health UK Charity for publishing their Burn Out Report! I hope lots of companies read it and do the work that needs to be done so urgently!

Much love,

 Jaycee X

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