Why Do We Praise Burnout?

A woman is holding her hands against her face hiding her face.

Why Do We Praise Burnout?

You hear it all the time. “Oh I can’t go on holiday I’m far too busy”….or the classic…“Yeah, I’m so busy I worked from 5 am until midnight the other day.”

Well, folks, it’s time to get a grip. Being THIS busy is doing nothing for your health, and you know what they say, if you don’t spend time on your health, you will eventually spend your wealth on your health.

As a society, we have a real issue with making ‘busy’ sound like it’s meant to be impressive, something to be revered. And quite simply, it’s not.

In an age where we can work smarter and choose how we work, it baffles me every time when I hear people almost gloat about their incapacity to take a break – like taking a break is some form of luxury or even a weakness!

This attitude towards work isn’t just present in business leaders, but it’s inflicted on employees who are melting the candle entirely to make everyone happy in their lives.

As work-related stress and depression now affects 526,000 people in the UK, I think it’s time we had a word with ourselves about why we’re really pushing ourselves to breaking point and essentially losing control. Because let’s face it. It’s not productive, doesn’t make us happy, and ultimately ends up being the trigger to far bigger health issues.

Give yourself permission right now to have an evening off. I know it’s hard, you have a to-do-list that keeps on growing. But nothing will get ticked off if you reach burn out and end-up hospitalised.

Being brutally honest. Working all the hours in the day is no longer cool, clever or healthy. And to support this, a study by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has found the risk of health problems increases with longer working hours.

A man sat in a booth working on his laptop with his head in his hands.

Ask Yourself

If you can hold your hands-up to being a subconscious workaholic, then here are some questions I want you to ask yourself. And don’t give me excuses, I want you to dig deep and really think about these questions.

Why are you working so much?
How does working so much make you feel?
How long have you been working in this way?
What’s driving you to work so far?
Explain why you cannot work fewer hours?
What is your vision for your business/work?

Answering these questions openly and honestly may unearth some bigger issues for you.
Either you’re avoiding something bigger in your life that you haven’t come to terms with, or you need help and support but you just haven’t asked for it.

You Won’t Win A Medal

As much as you are your own hero in your life, don’t forget that there’s no prize for the number of hours you work, or how long you can spend in the office.

Burnout often happens to those who least expect it, yet wonder why it happened. And it’s true that we can get caught up in a rat race and feel like we have to hit the ground running at unbreakable pace, and while there are times that call for this, you are not immortal.

We need to break down the glory of ‘busy’ and ‘overworked’ because, in the end, it will only become the catalyst for our own demise.

For further information on how I can support your employees with stress or mental health, click here to discover more about 121 employee mentoring.


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    About The Author

    Lizzie Benton is a people and culture specialist who supports organisations in developing a unique company culture and building engaged teams. Lizzie has been recognised as a millennial changing the world of work, and has been featured in the Metro, HuffingtonPost and has spoken across the UK on employee engagement. When not consulting or running a workshop, Lizzie can be found in rural Lincolnshire enjoying afternoon tea and fresh air.