The COVID-19 pandemic affects human health in more than one way. Aside from the obvious danger it poses to a person’s respiratory system, the conditions that this global virus has imposed on humanity and the damage it’s done to our sense of morale can affect mental health, too. I’m talking specifically about burnout and fatigue. 

The World Health Organization has defined burnout as a syndrome resulting from chronic stress over a prolonged period of time that has been poorly managed. The heavy toll of burnout is more than just the loss of productivity; it’s the stress that can exacerbate many other diseases like cancer, stroke, and autoimmune diseases, all of which can drastically alter or threaten our lives. 

In a pre-COVID survey conducted by Gallup, two-thirds of participants reported feeling burnout caused by work. Some of those traditional causes are anything from time pressures, unmanageable workload, to a lack of support by a manager. We know in today’s world, those causes can be compounded by new challenges, such as unsustainable work-from-home conditions, lack of child care, or loved ones who are sick or dying. 

What we don’t know is how long these COVID-era conditions will play out. Burnout prevention strategies are vast, but think of it this way: If we adopt just one or two self-management strategies, it can be the difference-maker for ourselves and for others in our life.

“The heavy toll of burnout is…the stress that can exacerbate other diseases.”

Strategies to consider adopting:  

1. Tune in to your body. Check your energy levels throughout the day. What do you feel like? When you wake up, are you feeling refreshed? If not, take notice and make adjustments.

2. Get boundaried. Set boundaries around your sleep, food, and calendar.  Give yourself permission to say “yes” to more sleep, better food and a calendar with white space.

4. Reach out to your circle. Let them you know that you might be having a hard time and ask them to observe you for any differences in behavior. Remember: They need us just as much as we need them. 

5. Seek out professional help. I’m of the belief that every great leader has a coach, a therapist…or both. There’s no stigma or shame in asking for help. In fact, asking for help is the definition of brave. 

As leaders, we have a lot to carry, especially in these trying times. However, we can only give to others what we have in ourselves to give. With that in mind, I’ll ask one important thing of you: Do the right thing—take good care of yourself. 

Reach out to me if you have questions on these topics. I’d love to hear from you. Aloha, and see you next time!