Burnout, be gone

25 August 2021


Working in the real estate industry brings with it much excitement and exhilaration. But there’s also a dark side, where the stresses, challenges and breakneck pace of the job have the potential to lead to burnout.

Burnout is more than a bad day or a tough week – after all, every job has those. Rather, burnout tends to be when you just don’t have any good days and it goes on for a long period of time. You feel depleted. It happens when the demands being put upon you exceed the resources you have. Your tank is empty!

Each one of us is different when it comes to how far we can push ourselves before we crash and burn. There are some people who are seemingly unstoppable; they dig deep and go the extra mile and then some more when the heat is on. But it’s often when the pressure subsides that they fall ill because they’re completely depleted.

We’ve all been in that situation where we tell ourselves: “I feel fine. I don’t have time to be sick.” But, remember, if you don’t make time to look after yourself now, you’ll inevitably need to make time for illness down the track.

What are the signs of burnout?

No doubt, you appreciate the overall idea of burnout and understand that it’s something that persists for longer than a week or two. But it can be challenging to turn the magnifying glass on yourself and recognise when you might be veering straight toward feeling burnt out at work.

So let’s make things as black and white as possible by looking at some of the most common symptoms of burnout.

  • You’re not excited about work. Do you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel? Are you on auto-pilot? If you’re struggling to muster up even a shred of enthusiasm for things that used to energise you, that’s a giant, waving red flag for burnout.
  • Your performance is suffering. Is the quality of your work declining? Are you missing things and making more errors? Do you feel your memory is not as sharp as it was? People who suffer from burnout are often high achievers, so these signs of burnout are often in stark contrast when compared to their normal approach to work.
  • You feel exhausted. Are you physically tired, but can’t switch off at night? Fatigue and an overall feeling of exhaustion are common indicators of burnout. If getting out of bed each day is a more demanding challenge than normal, you might be entering burnout territory.
  • You have physical ailments. Do you feel like you’re living inside your head? Are you ignoring aches and pains? Burnout doesn’t have a consistent physical manifestation for everyone, however chest pain, headaches, increased illness, shortness of breath and more can be linked to burnout.
  • Your attitude is negative. Are you feeling resentful? Is cynicism creeping into your language? Negativity is an often-cited sign of burnout.
  • Your energy is depleted. Are you craving energy drinks and unhealthy fast food? Do you have mid-morning or afternoon energy slumps? Is your alcohol consumption increasing? Feeling flat and lousy for no reason, and looking for sugar hits as a means of getting through the day might be an indicator of burnout.

Now what?

A crash and burn is serious. It can lead to health issues and relationship problems. Some find themselves unable to work for a long period of time. The emotional and financial toll can take years to recover from and heal.

So what can you do to stop the burnout train speeding down the tracks and eventually derailing entirely?

Taking stock of where you are right now is a great place to start. You need to take responsibility for your own wellness. After all, no one knows better than you how you’re feeling – physically, mentally and emotionally. Ensuring your personal barometer is fully charged is super important. For me, having support at home from my loved ones is essential, as is fostering and encouraging healthy habits.

Here are some things to think about:

  • Take regular holidays. You need to really unplug and take time away from work. If a longer holiday isn’t possible, a small break is better than no break at all.
  • Find harmony. Forget the ever-elusive ‘balance’ and instead strive for less friction, both at home and at work. This is a much better way to support your wellness.
  • Know your breaking point. If you’re starting to feel the pinch, take a day to regroup and recharge.
  • Fill your weekends with joy. Work is only one part of your life, so offset your working week with some wonderful weekend treats.
  • Schedule free time. Each and every day, take at least 30 minutes to do something that is solely for yourself.
  • Change your environment. There’s nothing like a change of location to help you adjust your mindset.
  • Take a nap. They’re not just for kids and can do wonders for us all!
  • Find time for exercise. Jump on a bike, go for a run, join a yoga class or simply take a walk along the beach. It’s important to find something that suits you and keeps you active.
  • Schedule regular medical checks. Even if you feel fit and healthy, it’s important to know your health status, so make it a priority to visit your doctor regularly.

Employers have a role too

Yes, we all need to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing, but I believe there’s also a responsibility that lies with employers.

As leaders, we need to walk the walk and demonstrate wellness and wellbeing by example. This sends a strong message to your team and shows that importance you place on the health – both physical and mental – of each and every member of your team.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Ensure workloads are manageable
  • Have clarity about the scope of every position
  • Keep communication lines open
  • Have rules about taking work home
  • Place limits on out-of-hours work
  • Have regular one-on-one check-ins
  • Foster a positive work culture
  • Encourage holidays and family time.

ROBYN GLEESON is a committed advocate for wellness in the real estate industry. With more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, she is a sought-after consultant, mentor and coach. You can connect with Robyn at ragconsulting.com.au

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