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Founders Weekly: Stress alert: why you feel burnt out, and what you can do about it

Feeling well-supported at work is crucial, but there are other things you can do to prevent burnout and ease fatigue.

As the cost of living continues to rise and a tight labour market means many women are doing others’ work as well as theirs, I am hearing more of my peers and colleagues talk about their struggle with fatigue.

 The continuing pandemic, rising inflation and global unrest has us caught in a stress-inducing holding pattern of uncertainty.  At the same time, gender segregation of work in the household, structural issues around pay disparity, gender-based violence, disrespect at work, and unprecedented levels of unpaid work can all cause women to be more vulnerable to exhaustion.

Feeling well-supported at work is crucial, but there are other things you can do to prevent burnout and ease fatigue. These can include taking stock of four key areas of your life that can impact balance. Ask yourself:   

  1. How much physical activity are you engaging in? Aim for minimum of 30 minutes’ activity a day – leave your desk at lunchtime and take a walk, preferably, in a Nature-based setting. Ideally, get regular aerobic exercise that has been scientifically proven to reduce stress.

  2. How much intellectual stimulation are you getting? Try reading before bed instead of streaming and consider enrolling in a micro-credential course that challenges you or attending professional networking events.

  3. How much ‘downtime’ do you have, aka: time to yourself to do nothing? Don’t feel guilty. Try to have at least one, rest day a week or, if that’s not possible, designate an area that is only for you to chill out with music, a podcast, or just an eye shade.  

  4. How much social interaction are you getting? Over the last two years, many of us have avoided getting together with others. Having coffee or a catch up with friends, going to a class or talk, or even visiting a gallery as part of a group are all ways to put your toe back in the water and increase your mental health.

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