Research
Self defence

Giving 100 per cent all the time can take its toll. Daniel Green explains how you can maximise your career while minimising its impact on your health


The World Health Organization describes burnout as an occupational phenomenon, resulting from chronic workplace stress which has not been successfully managed. Characterised by exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings negative towards it and reduced professional efficacy, this is the point when many people want to switch careers. But drastic action isn’t necessary and if you learn to spot the signs early on, you can manage your stress levels.

Burnout often stems from a feeling that you have to be permanently on – immediately responding to clients’ questions, social media posts, texts and emails, for example. If you think you might be burnt out, consider these questions and then decide whether you need to make some changes.

• Are you busy for the sake of it? Often people mistake being busy as being productive, but this isn’t always the case.

• Are you giving 100 per cent to every area of your life, but feeling as though you’re not doing anything well enough?

• Do you often feel as though you’re not allowed to say no?

Using this strategy for each task and each client you serve, may uncover patterns which inform your decision about whether to take on certain types of work or narrow your coaching focus in the future. In the long-term, this approach can steer your career in a more rewarding direction.

Consider opportunities
It can be difficult to say no to work, especially if you’re new to the industry, work as an independent contractor, or are a business owner.

Extra responsibilities can often sound exciting when you’re ambitious, however, ask yourself these questions before taking on anything new, to ensure you’re doing them for the right reasons:

• Does this work align with my goals and values?

• What skills do I have that make me the best person for the job and will allow me to succeed?

• Is the work interesting and engaging?

• Am I going to learn something new or expand my skills?

• Will the work build my brand and help me succeed in the long run?

• Does it feed my passion and allow me to do community outreach or serve more people?

• Is the compensation large enough that I simply can’t say no, regardless of how I answered the previous questions?

Not everyone is in a position to be so selective and sometimes the last question overrides everything else. But, as you grow into your career, it’s important to navigate these milestones strategically, to protect yourself from overcommitting which brings increased risk of burnout.

“There can come a time where certain things start to feel like an burden rather than an opportunity,” says exercise science professor, Dr Erin Nitschke. “Ask yourself is this going to weigh me down or lift me up?”

Remember saying no is an option
Saying no is a learned skill which many of us struggle with, however, it’s important to master it. “Saying no requires a mindset shift to understanding there’s sometimes a reward for not doing things,” says Nitschke. “Also there’s value in learning to say no without having to explain your reasoning, which often leads to a negotiation or additional communication where none is needed.”

Author, podcaster and national director of fitness education for EoS Fitness, Pete McCall, says some people worry that if they turn down work the opportunity will be given to someone else and they may fall behind. However, he warns that saying yes is sometimes the worse option and urges focusing on personal and professional growth when weighing opportunities.

“If it’s not making you better, it’s making you worse,” he says. “Is something really an opportunity if it’s draining your energy, misdirecting you away from work you’re more passionate about or distracting you from your long-term goals?”

Boundary-setting is another tricky skill to master for the go-getting young professional. McCall recommends setting strict boundaries, for example, in terms of when you’re available to your clients, or responding on social media. While working in the fitness industry isn’t a typical nine-to-five job, never lose sight of the fact that the work will still be there tomorrow.

Being protective of your time is a form of self-care and may help prevent burnout. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a 24-hour reprieve from social media and shut off on Sundays. You may feel like you need to be on at all times, but in truth, your clients understand that’s not the case.

Authors, Brett and Kate McKay, equate burnout to “an oversaturation of sameness.” To mitigate against this look for ways to change your job: could you hand over a responsibility you’re sick of and start something new which energises you? Also look at what you can do in other areas of your life.

Not every day will be inspirational and sometimes you can feel burnout in a job you like, so it’s not necessary to make sweeping changes at the first sign of dissatisfaction. Go through the checklists above and also ask yourself if the feelings may pass.

Burnout also shares symptoms with depression, including extreme exhaustion, feeling down and reduced performance. It’s work-related, so if you’re experiencing symptoms of hopelessness or suicidal tendencies, do seek help from a medical professional.

Remember, there’s nothing selfish about taking care of yourself and your mental health. It doesn’t serve you, your clients or your employer well if you feel dispassionate or burdened by the work you are doing. You can’t lead others to wellness without looking after your own health and well-being.

Daniel J Green is senior project manager and editor for publications and content development at ACE

How to prevent burnout...

• Assess each new opportunity and responsibility before you say yes. Does it excite you? Do you have the time? Do you have the energy? Will it reduce your performance in other areas? Does it give more than it takes?

• Learn to say a polite and assertive no, without feeling the need to justify it.

• Set boundaries. You don’t have to be available all the time. Be clear on what level of responsibility is acceptable to you and enforce it.

• Be mindful about the messages you put out about yourself. Do you sub-consciously advertise yourself as that great team player who everyone can dump the unwanted tasks on?

• Have a shake up of how you do things every now and then, both in and out of work, to stop boredom from setting in.

• Learn the signs of overwhelm and use the pointers in this feature to take action early.

The fitness industry can be a great career choice for those who can balance their lives Credit: Photo: Kues / Yuri a
 


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Leisure Management - Self defence

Research

Self defence


Giving 100 per cent all the time can take its toll. Daniel Green explains how you can maximise your career while minimising its impact on your health

The fitness industry can be a great career choice for those who can balance their lives Photo: Kues / Yuri a
There’s nothing selfish about taking care of yourself and your mental health Photo: fizkes / shutterstock

The World Health Organization describes burnout as an occupational phenomenon, resulting from chronic workplace stress which has not been successfully managed. Characterised by exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings negative towards it and reduced professional efficacy, this is the point when many people want to switch careers. But drastic action isn’t necessary and if you learn to spot the signs early on, you can manage your stress levels.

Burnout often stems from a feeling that you have to be permanently on – immediately responding to clients’ questions, social media posts, texts and emails, for example. If you think you might be burnt out, consider these questions and then decide whether you need to make some changes.

• Are you busy for the sake of it? Often people mistake being busy as being productive, but this isn’t always the case.

• Are you giving 100 per cent to every area of your life, but feeling as though you’re not doing anything well enough?

• Do you often feel as though you’re not allowed to say no?

Using this strategy for each task and each client you serve, may uncover patterns which inform your decision about whether to take on certain types of work or narrow your coaching focus in the future. In the long-term, this approach can steer your career in a more rewarding direction.

Consider opportunities
It can be difficult to say no to work, especially if you’re new to the industry, work as an independent contractor, or are a business owner.

Extra responsibilities can often sound exciting when you’re ambitious, however, ask yourself these questions before taking on anything new, to ensure you’re doing them for the right reasons:

• Does this work align with my goals and values?

• What skills do I have that make me the best person for the job and will allow me to succeed?

• Is the work interesting and engaging?

• Am I going to learn something new or expand my skills?

• Will the work build my brand and help me succeed in the long run?

• Does it feed my passion and allow me to do community outreach or serve more people?

• Is the compensation large enough that I simply can’t say no, regardless of how I answered the previous questions?

Not everyone is in a position to be so selective and sometimes the last question overrides everything else. But, as you grow into your career, it’s important to navigate these milestones strategically, to protect yourself from overcommitting which brings increased risk of burnout.

“There can come a time where certain things start to feel like an burden rather than an opportunity,” says exercise science professor, Dr Erin Nitschke. “Ask yourself is this going to weigh me down or lift me up?”

Remember saying no is an option
Saying no is a learned skill which many of us struggle with, however, it’s important to master it. “Saying no requires a mindset shift to understanding there’s sometimes a reward for not doing things,” says Nitschke. “Also there’s value in learning to say no without having to explain your reasoning, which often leads to a negotiation or additional communication where none is needed.”

Author, podcaster and national director of fitness education for EoS Fitness, Pete McCall, says some people worry that if they turn down work the opportunity will be given to someone else and they may fall behind. However, he warns that saying yes is sometimes the worse option and urges focusing on personal and professional growth when weighing opportunities.

“If it’s not making you better, it’s making you worse,” he says. “Is something really an opportunity if it’s draining your energy, misdirecting you away from work you’re more passionate about or distracting you from your long-term goals?”

Boundary-setting is another tricky skill to master for the go-getting young professional. McCall recommends setting strict boundaries, for example, in terms of when you’re available to your clients, or responding on social media. While working in the fitness industry isn’t a typical nine-to-five job, never lose sight of the fact that the work will still be there tomorrow.

Being protective of your time is a form of self-care and may help prevent burnout. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a 24-hour reprieve from social media and shut off on Sundays. You may feel like you need to be on at all times, but in truth, your clients understand that’s not the case.

Authors, Brett and Kate McKay, equate burnout to “an oversaturation of sameness.” To mitigate against this look for ways to change your job: could you hand over a responsibility you’re sick of and start something new which energises you? Also look at what you can do in other areas of your life.

Not every day will be inspirational and sometimes you can feel burnout in a job you like, so it’s not necessary to make sweeping changes at the first sign of dissatisfaction. Go through the checklists above and also ask yourself if the feelings may pass.

Burnout also shares symptoms with depression, including extreme exhaustion, feeling down and reduced performance. It’s work-related, so if you’re experiencing symptoms of hopelessness or suicidal tendencies, do seek help from a medical professional.

Remember, there’s nothing selfish about taking care of yourself and your mental health. It doesn’t serve you, your clients or your employer well if you feel dispassionate or burdened by the work you are doing. You can’t lead others to wellness without looking after your own health and well-being.

Daniel J Green is senior project manager and editor for publications and content development at ACE

How to prevent burnout...

• Assess each new opportunity and responsibility before you say yes. Does it excite you? Do you have the time? Do you have the energy? Will it reduce your performance in other areas? Does it give more than it takes?

• Learn to say a polite and assertive no, without feeling the need to justify it.

• Set boundaries. You don’t have to be available all the time. Be clear on what level of responsibility is acceptable to you and enforce it.

• Be mindful about the messages you put out about yourself. Do you sub-consciously advertise yourself as that great team player who everyone can dump the unwanted tasks on?

• Have a shake up of how you do things every now and then, both in and out of work, to stop boredom from setting in.

• Learn the signs of overwhelm and use the pointers in this feature to take action early.


Originally published in hcm Handbook edition

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