Contrary to trendy trend lists, artificial intelligence, blockchain and other aspects are not topics that are urgently driving SMEs. They’re existential issues, such as dealing with burnout and mass employee burnout, said the platform’s founder, Benjamin Talin.
This article describes steps to absorb burnout, build performance, and prevent a slide into burnout. Finally, a tip for books that are good for brain work.
When do we talk about burnout?
In 2019, WHO listed burnout as a syndrome in the new version of the International Diagnosis Code ICD-11 . Burnout is the result of chronic stress at work that is not being successfully dealt with. Diagnosis is based on three cornerstones
- Feeling burned out.
- Intrinsic distance from work is often associated with negative attitudes towards work.
- Career performance is poor.
Tired man – background and figures
Where does this increase in tired and burnt-out people come from in the world of work?
According to Deutschald’s DAK long-term analysis based on 2.5 million employed insureds, 2017 had a sad record of 250 absent days due to mental illness for every 100 insureds. In 2018, 93 days of absenteeism per 100 insured persons were due to depression (burnout is considered a specific form of depression).
Convenience and change in the process of digital transformation are not only an opportunity, but also a burden: constant accessibility, rapid changes in work equipment and work environments, uncertainty about the impact of technological change, what the future will bring, and individuals in it What role will it play.
After the emergence of new technologies, human value systems are under pressure. Exhaustion eventually creeps in on every level: physical, mental, emotional, and in worst cases, even the meaning of it all.
Deep burnout is a lack of (self)care, diminished interaction with stressed values and an environment that is not conducive to safety.
13 Steps to Prevent Burnout and Improve Performance
Resilience—the ability to absorb it all—is also a multidimensional process. Both workers and employers are responsible. Building resilience is an individual responsibility. It is the responsibility of the company to create the necessary space in the professional context.
Here are 13 simple steps that can successfully prevent burnout and safeguard performance.
Light is critical to physical and cognitive performance. Modern people spend too much time indoors. In places without natural sunlight, the melatonin-serotonin axis is disrupted and the body cannot produce enough vitamin D.
So an easy measure is to spend time outdoors more often. A company can facilitate this by organizing appropriate breaks. In addition, circadian lights adapt to people’s biological daily rhythms and provide necessary stimulation.
At home, have daylight alarm clocks that use light to wake up the pineal gland instead of chimes. They are especially recommended for those who have trouble getting up in the morning or who suffer from the winter blues.
We sit too much. The human body is made for movement. Neurological research can show that when the body is in a state of motion, the brain is very awake. It is the main brain function that controls movement. So not only is there a brain-to-body connection, but also a body-to-brain connection.
Therefore, active rest is very important.
With the Pomodoro technique , people know that after about 25 minutes, the ability to focus on work declines. This is the ideal time for short exercise breaks: Get up, stretch, and take a few steps, the least you can do. How about setting up a trampoline in the break room to get employees’ tired brains going again? Meanwhile, those who prefer not to walk can also exercise in the office, thanks to a desk with an integrated treadmill.
Our brains also need rest in order to maintain sustained productivity. So resting every 25-30 minutes isn’t just for exercise. The ideal combination is to drink, breathe and move.
My advice : Set a timer, take a sip of water every half hour, take a few deep breaths, and get out of the workplace for some exercise. It doesn’t matter if it’s at work or in your home office.
Humans are water animals, born with 75-80% water, unfortunately this drops to 50-60% thereafter. All cells require free fluid to maintain cellular pressure and to perform osmosis, which regulates the exchange of nutrients inside and outside the cell. The brain needs to swim because otherwise the electrochemical conductivity and thus the performance cannot be guaranteed.
Drinking still water is one of the essential elements of a healthy, productive body. Carbonated water is not recommended as it adds to potentially high acidity and the carbonic acid is not broken down but has to be exhaled. A significant number of people become dehydrated despite drinking water because their bodies use up water to neutralize the acid load caused by stress.
Note: Stress is the strongest generator of acid and according to the WHO, it is the biggest cause of disease in the 21st century. We recommend drinking 30-40ml of still water per kilogram of body weight. During summer and during physical labor, it is recommended to drink plenty of water.
A brain-healthy diet starts with the right fats and B vitamins to boost cognition and reduce stress. DHA and EPA are omega-3 fatty acids. They are mainly produced in the liver and account for 97 percent of the fatty acids found in the brain. B vitamins, especially B6, are needed to produce them.
In general, our diets contain too much omega 6 (eg sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn germ oil) and too little omega 3 (mackerel, sardines, certain algae). The ratio should be 1 to 5, but for most people it is 1 to 20 or worse. Therefore, supplementation with high-quality natural supplements is recommended.
Nature is good for stress. This is not a self-evident truth, but it has been proven by research. A walk in the country can lower blood pressure and reduce the stress hormone cortisol. A good reason is to create a green island where employees can relieve stress. In fact, just looking at the greenery outside your window can reduce feelings of stress. Even a nature photo wallpaper can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and become a stress reliever.
Humans are multisensory creatures. The sounds and aromas of nature also reduce stress, provide relaxation, and enhance resilience.
Cue nature sounds : There are so-called chirping boxes, activated by motion detectors, that play the sounds of birdsong or the sea for a few minutes.
Aromatherapy Tip : The olfactory nerve is the only nerve that goes directly to the brain. What puts you in a good (shopping) mood at the mall can work in the office as well. Aromatherapy using high-quality essential oils is being adopted by more and more companies. For example, citrus aromas can uplift your mood, and tree oils like stone pine and manuka can help relieve nervous tension and overwork.
The breath is a direct, immediate expression of our inner state of mind. When we are stressed, our breathing is shallow and fast; when we are relaxed, our breathing is deep and slow. Anyone who breathes 20 times a minute while sitting in an office chair is in battle mode: The sympathetic nervous system is overactive. This form of permanent stress causes energy levels to continually drop, the adrenals to wear out, and the person eventually burns out like a constantly over-revving engine.
Stress levels can be affected by respiratory rate. Aim for 10 breaths per minute, and the following exercises are suitable for this.
- Focus on the heart, possibly placing hands on the heart.
- Then breathe in this rhythm: Inhale for 6 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. At least 2 minutes, or until tension is released.
Intentional deep breathing into the diaphragm is a great option for anyone who suffers from “brain fog,” has trouble concentrating, or feels like they’re wrapped in cotton wool.
作为一名经过认证的呼吸治疗师，我可以推荐 “连接呼吸 “用于疲惫的状态。我给公司的建议是：为什么不请一位呼吸治疗师来进行抗压训练？呼吸提供了各种起点，即使是对那些与放松没有什么关系的人来说。
- 将清洁日视为一项社区活动。将会议中的 “空闲时间 “和 “死胡同时间 “换成这样的活动。
- 少用粘性纸条! 否则，他们会造成伤害而不是好处。
因此，定期 “清空 “大脑很重要。最简单的方法是冥想。有些人认为这没什么–直到他们参与进来。 短暂的冥想是新鲜思维的重新开始。为了更容易开始，我创建了微冥想。只需4分钟就能让你头脑清醒。
Tip : Check your email at a set time and pay attention. Otherwise, make sure to work without distractions and focus on just one thing.
12. Box of Happiness
Complaint boxes are known to many companies. The opposite of this is the Fushou Box. It can also be positioned virtually in digital space. Positive, uplifting insights, experiences and good results are collected and published there.
Compliments and positive feedback belong here for anyone who needs inspiration, a boost of motivation, or just encouragement for a bad day. A blissbox can do more for the workplace atmosphere than a suggestion box because it can draw the focus to positive news.
Meaning is like the 13th fairy in fairy tales: it’s convenient not to invite you, but you can’t live without it. Those who find meaning in their actions are at greater risk of burnout. Nothing is more exhausting than pointless activities or a meaningless life. Without a frame of reference for one’s existence, it is difficult to gather energy for daily activities. Meaning and value are vital pillars, sources of vitality and productivity. This also includes giving people responsibility and trust.
What does “meaning” mean to a team?
Google has evaluated 250 factors of teamwork ( link ). In a project called “Aristotle,” which lasted over two years, 180 teams were screened to find out what really made them effective. The results are clear: number one is psychological safety, another term is trust.
What does “meaning” mean to an individual?
It is the responsibility of each individual to find meaning in his actions. He has to find meaning for himself; entrepreneurship can provide him with the right framework. A job done just for the money and not loved can lead to burnout.
Conclusions on preventing burnout
People and companies work together to ensure healthy employee performance.
Companies need knowledge about salutogenesis (the study of health) and should understand the needs of their employees. This includes the role model function of managers. Creative solutions that support performance don’t always have to be expensive.
People need values, meaning, and self-care. This includes knowing your own needs and taking personal responsibility for your own health.
Only together can they make progress
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