6 Ways to support someone with burnout

Work-life has its fair share of ups and downs.  However, constant episodes of lows may lead to burnout. Stress beyond one’s capacity to endure, insomnia, procrastination, low focus, etc., are all signs of burnout. It puts the sufferer at risk of severe mental and physical conditions such as anxiety, depression, headaches, etc.

Early symptoms of burnout are rather subtle and can be easily missed. They can be mistaken for tiredness, lethargy, and lack of rest. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of your colleagues and close ones.  You cannot offer support if you fail to recognize the signs.

How to spot burnout in someone?

It is vital to keep a tab on your colleagues, friends, and family to spot burnout. A sudden shift in mood and behavior, loss of appetite, and decreased interest in everyday activities are a few examples. 

Moreover, someone with burnout or at risk of burnout is likely to: 

  • Suddenly go silent and avoid conversation
  • Frequently miss important deadlines
  • Feel and look tired and drained most of the time
  • Get annoyed, angry, and agitated over minor things
  • Fall short of performance goals
  • Experience headaches, insomnia, and bowel problems 
  • Feel lost, dissatisfied, and helpless
  • Have poor relationships
  • Increase alcohol consumption  

6 Ways to offer burnout support to someone

Burnout is a state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion. It takes a toll on the overall well-being, life, and relationships of a person. Utmost support and care can help a person feel better.

Let’s look at the following ways to help you or your loved ones fight burnout.

1. Help them open up

Burnout alters a person’s mood and makes them aloof from their surroundings. If you observe a colleague has become socially isolated, do not force them to talk right away. 

Rather, check up on them, share a coffee, buy them lunch, or ask for their help on a task. Initiate harmless conversations about football, restaurant recommendations, books, etc., and soon they will open up and feel comfortable.  

2. Active listening

Most of the time feeling heard without bias and judgement is all a person needs. Practice active listening to understand your friend’s situation. Avoid drawing comparisons to yourself or other people who may have it worse. 

The worst thing to say to someone with burnout is ‘everyone has stress’ or ‘it’s only in your head’. Acknowledge and validate their feelings and assure them that they are not alone. 

3. Share the load

Burnout makes it extremely difficult to stay ahead of day-to-day responsibilities. If you can offer to share duties and workload, do so. Sharing tasks eases off the burden and brings clarity to thoughts.

For example, help your spouse with burnout by taking up her part of household chores. Or if it’s a team member, you can excuse them from long meetings and offer remote work.

4. Show Empathy

Empathy establishes trust, enhances relationships, and builds a positive culture. Adopt empathy to approach your friend with burnout. Ask relevant questions, give your undivided attention, and try to stand in their shoes. Unlike sympathy, empathy encourages one to look for solutions and ways out of a problem.

5. Ask what support is required

Another way to offer support is to directly ask how you can be of help. It will trigger them to think about what they need to feel better. Moreover, this way you put yourself out there and it makes you appear reachable. Also, it reassures loved ones that they are not alone. 

6. Encourage them to seek professional help

It is good to help your close ones deal with burnout and offer your best support. However, sometimes matters may go worse and beyond control. Professional help becomes crucial if burnout starts to affect the quality of life and prevents someone to function as normally. 

Encourage them to see a healthcare provider for their condition. A subject matter expert will judge symptoms accurately and provide professional solutions and preventive methods.  

Final thoughts

Prolonged work stress turns into mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion and eventually leads to burnout. Check up on your close ones and look for signs of burnout. Loss of appetite missed deadlines, irritability, agitation, and insomnia are a few of the obvious signs that someone is experiencing burnout.

Reach out to them and offer your support through active listening, sharing the load, showing empathy, and encouraging them to see a medical practitioner for professional advice.

About the author

I am a Girl, that wants to live a Simple Life, and I am in a search of the recipe for happiness.  I invite you to join me on this journey! It will be an exciting adventure in which we will look for the simplicity of life, joy in everyday things, and free time outside the usual hustle and bustle.

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