There is no denying this is a busy time of year. I was speaking with a therapist last week who shared a trend she’s hearing from her clients. This holiday season is turning out a lot more stressful than last year or the years before. There is a weird mix happening of people trying to figure out where everyone stands on Covid vs regular life without really talking about it. Parties and events are happening again but not everyone is comfortable with it. We’re all trying to find and walk the balance of what we feel is right and respecting those around us who might feel differently. And that’s all in addition to the normal stressors that we face at the end of the year.
December tends to be a busy month between holiday tasks and end-of-year responsibilities. In addition, as a leader, it’s your responsibility to be planning for 2022 on top of everything else. With the odd economic climate that we’ve experienced this year, it can all feel like a lot to handle.
You may be working short-staffed, dealing with quarantine periods from sick employees, or trying to handle an unexpected change in sales (which includes having more business than expected or less). You probably feel like your to-do list is growing longer and longer and the tension in your neck and shoulders is building more and more.
The transition to 2022
The transition to new years used to be exciting. It was all about goal setting and forecasting. It tends to bring a restored feeling of hope and confidence. The numbers reset and you get to start fresh.
But a lot of people are finding this year feels a lot different. The excitement has been replaced by exhaustion. The hope and confidence has been replaced with doubt and confusion. You know there are things you should be doing to prepare for January, but you just don’t feel like it.
You’re burned out.
This can make it hard to feel confident in goal setting. In fact, it can make it hard to even care what goals are established for the new year.
If you’re feeling like that, it’s time to prioritize rest.
Not only is it OK to take a break, but the SPEARity team also wants to encourage you to be intentional about taking breaks. In addition, encourage your team to take breaks.
Rest and downtime are important for your mental health and overall wellness. You aren’t going to muscle through burnout. If you try to ignore it, it’s likely going to get worse. So, here are some signs Healthline shared to help you recognize burnout in your life:
- Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
- Diminished pride in your work
- Losing sight of yourself and your goals
- Difficulty maintaining relationships and being present with loved ones
- Frustration and irritability with co-workers
- Unexplained muscle tension, pain, fatigue, and insomnia
If you feel that you or your team is struggling with burnout, here are some things you can do to help as you move into 2022.
We all need time away from work. We need time to focus on other things in life. Many people feel rested and recharged after they take time off from work. They’re able to return reinvigorated. But we’re facing a new challenge in the world of technology and the remote workforce. It’s a lot harder to take time off work when you’re working from home or when you always have your email at your fingertips or in your back pocket.
It’s becoming more important than ever to prioritize and be intentional about how you take time off of work. If you have a hard time stepping away, you may need to change your physical location, put your work laptop in a drawer so you can’t see it, and aren’t tempted to “just do one quick thing”, and turn your phone off completely.
As a leader, you prioritizing time off is crucial for your employees’ mental health and wellness. You can tell them to take time off until you are blue in the face, but if they don’t see you taking time off and prioritizing rest and taking breaks, they’re not going to feel they can either. It’s not about what you say, it’s about what you do.
Celebrate the good things
When work is busy it’s easy to move from one thing to the next without realizing the success. Maybe your team just wrapped up a project everyone put extra hours into and there is another waiting to be addressed. If you continue to move them from one to other, it’s easy to start feeling burnout. The work starts to feel unrewarding.
Take time to celebrate your successes and those of your team and make sure to include them in it. Don’t make work-life all about work. That’s not a workplace culture that keeps people involved and engaged.
Be transparent about prioritizing mental health
The companies that were rated the highest for work-like balance on Glassdoor since the Covid landscape began are the ones that have prioritized mental health in the workplace, provided time off, and created flexible hours. Creating a workplace culture that cares about the mental health of its employees is going to be crucial for securing top talent as we move into the post-pandemic era.
Encourage your team to practice self-care and again, make sure you’re doing the same. There are many tools and resources available to help you educate and train your staff (and yourself) on how to take care of yourself and avoid burnout.
In addition, you want to create a culture where people feel they can talk to management about these situations.
Create good habits and routines
If you’re prone to workplace burnout, spend time thinking about where it stems from. Then, use that information to create systems, plans, habits, and routines to help you address them. When you know where the problem is, you can start to do something about it.
Build time into your calendar to take breaks. Put systems in place that help you automate processes to remove things from your plate. Create a morning self-care routine that helps you get a good start to your day.
If you’re looking for more information on how to reduce workplace burnout for yourself and your team in 2022, here are a few other resources you can check out:
- It’s time to think about taking a break
- 5 Reasons Leaders Need to Take a Break
- 4 Tips to Avoid Burnout
- Leadership Exhaustion: Learning When to Take a Break
If you want to partner with a SPEARity business consultant to make positive changes in your workplace and build leadership skills in 2022, contact us today to explore your options.