Over the past couple of decades, gender equality has made significant strides. More women are putting their human capital to use, developing their skills, and doing noteworthy work within their industries. Despite the progress that is being made, though, women seem to be affected by workplace burnout the most.
Burnout may sound like a cliche word that’s thrown around, but the American Psychological Association has actually classified it as a disorder with diagnosable symptoms. Some of these symptoms include being physically and emotionally exhausted as well as feeling unaccomplished.
The Huffington Post sites U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off surveys that found that only 44% of millennial women use their time off in comparison to 51% of men, and this could be one of the many reasons that they’re experiencing more burnout. Nonetheless, it is something that can be improved with greater awareness and a better work-life balance. In this article, you’ll find suggestions for how you can beat burnout and also help your team do the same if you’re in a leadership position.
Lack of Work-Life Balance
The line between work and life can often be blurred for many professionals. It doesn’t help that your average professional is tech-savvy and can work from anywhere they have an internet connection.The fact that emails are easily accessible on mobile phones and you can use apps like Slack to communicate with team members around the clock can increase the likelihood of you experiencing work addiction.
Vacations would create the perfect opportunity for women to unwind and rest. However, every year, more than half of Americans don’t make good use of their allocated vacation time and women, in particular, take less time off than men. In the aforementioned research on Huffington Post, findings revealed that 48% of men took all of their vacation time in 2016, while only 44% of women did. Some supposed reasons that kept women from utilizing their time off were high stress levels and the fear that they’d return to an overwhelming amount of work. It’s worth noting that women also reported experiencing more stress at home and work than men.
It is evident from these findings that women struggle to find a balance between their work and home lives. To improve this balance, it’s necessary that they address their underlying fears associated with taking time off and reprogram their thinking when it comes to shutting away from work. Recharging and relaxing is a must to prevent burnout.
Working Harder to Progress Their Careers
In the study mentioned above, another reason that was stated for women not taking time off was fearing that they would seem less committed to their jobs. This lack of self-worth could be attributed to their burnout. Understanding that they’re good enough and breaks are necessary to improve their productivity could help them find a better balance.
These thoughts of unworthiness, however, aren’t born out of thin air. Although women are experiencing upward career movement, there’s still a persistent gender wage gap that female managers experience. Another observation is that, in addition to women being in areas where they’re paid less, they often have less seniority and consequently, lower pay. This could explain why women feel the need to work so hard. If they’re ambitious and determined to get to the peak of their careers and improve their paygrade, working relentlessly may be the only method they think will yield the results they desire.
While working this hard may result in a promotion, on the contrary, it could lead to burnout and eventually resigning which could affect your employer’s turnover. In light of this, employers should put more effort into creating gender equality in the workplace so that they’re able to retain their star employees and keep their resources, time and money.
Lack of Delegation
Women in leadership positions at work and even those of less seniority should embrace delegation. This is one way to ensure that they can take healthy breaks from work without things falling apart. The reality is that you shouldn’t be taking on more work than you can handle as that’s a recipe for burnout.
To effectively delegate, it’s essential that you first invest in team building. By training your team members and equipping them with the right skills, you should have more confidence in delegating tasks to them. When you team build the right way, it should improve productivity as well as morale.
One of the foundations of healthy team building is developing healthy relationships with employees by giving them more responsibility and acknowledging their efforts as a means of reaffirming them. With that being said, build your team members up so that when your next vacation time comes around, you know they’re more than capable of picking up where you leave off.
Not Prioritizing Self-Care
Ultimately, no job or career aspirations should put your health at risk. Chronic stress can raise your cortisol levels (the stress hormone), which can cause high blood pressure, affect your immune system, and cause sleeping problems. If left unchecked, these issues can lead to serious chronic conditions over time, such as heart disease and diabetes. Women can reduce the chance of them experiencing these health issues, and workplace burnout in general, if they pledge to put their health and wellbeing first. For many, this is something they’ll have to learn to do over time and won’t be a habit they adopt instantaneously.
A useful example of self-care would be to set specific times for checking your emails or not doing so at all after work hours. Picking up hobbies that make you feel relaxed could also help you take your mind off of work and rejuvenate.
Ignoring the Signs of Burnout
Being able to tell when you’re on the verge of burnout is something you should master. Some telltale signs to look out for are your mood becoming imbalanced and more frequent feelings of exhaustion. This could lead to other signs like making more mistakes at work and not feeling much satisfaction after putting in so much effort.
Don’t ignore these signs when they occur as you could still reverse the effects of burnout if you pick up on them early enough. It’s about putting the bigger picture into perspective which is that your wellbeing comes first. If burnout does eventually happen, minimize the effects by looking for the joy in each day and being more mindful. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.
Burnout is something that many women are facing in the workplace, but it is something that can be prevented. By believing in your innate abilities and also trusting your journey, you may be able to reduce the amount of pressure you place on yourself. Although hard work is often needed for success, it is equally important that you find time to treat your mind and body kindly.