We’ve been focused so intently on Covid-19 that we’ve lost sight of another epidemic that’s been around much longer. Burnout is serious and should be attended to. Guided group journaling can help alleviate the negative, low-energy symptoms of burnout.
The Burnout Epidemic
Unshakeable fatigue, disengagement and irritability may be signs that you’re headed for a burnout according to happiness expert Jennifer Moss. I recently attended the Harvard Business Review live webinar, “The Burnout Epidemic” with Moss in anticipation of the launch of her new book and learned of another sign of impending burnout: brain fog. Moss reports its symptoms as difficulty making up one’s mind, lack of focus and trouble making decisions…even small ones.
Results of data gathered by Moss and a small team of researchers showed that only 2% of workers believed their well being was excellent. A staggering 85% responded that their well being had declined while job demands had increased. Most surprising was that millennials were the most likely to experience burn out.
What stood out for me as a life coach who teaches journaling for professional and personal well being is that most employees surveyed felt they couldn’t discuss their mental health at work.
Taking Back Control
So we don’t talk about it, not even to ourselves. We don’t know where to turn to discuss the overwhelm of negative emotion we’re experiencing. We therefore don’t seek help until we’re in the clutches of burnout. Until then we sweep negative emotions under the rug of busyness, denial and/or dismissal as something that will go away. Or we try to cover them up with positive thinking. But this only helps in the short term because we don’t get to the core of the problem, which is our inability to manage our emotions.
While Moss charges organizations with the responsibility of solving the problem of burnout, I would offer this: you don’t have to wait for the leaders of your organization to notice that you’re struggling and create a program around it. You already know how bad you feel. Isn’t your well being worth taking steps now?
Journaling for Well Being at Work
Journaling is a viable solution to alleviate the emotional overwhelm so characteristic of burnout. It allows you to carve out a safe space where you can get real about what’s going on internally.
For example, instead of plowing through fatigue, journaling allows you to sit with it and feel it in your body. In short journaling is a way to reflect on that there’s something wrong.
As you respond to journaling prompts (not questions), insights into the fatigue surface. You acknowledge the causes and the impact on your daily life. As you continue to reflect and write without judging, criticizing or analyzing, we notice that solutions materialize. They may not be the solutions we were expecting, or even wanting, but they are the solutions we need.
Group journaling is a strong motivator. There is no homework or assignments to be completed. Nor are you ever put on the spot and asked to reveal your private thoughts. However, being in the company of like-minded people, even online, gets you taking positive action.
Solitary journaling can be intimidating, so group journaling can be a viable solution to get started. Like group mediation, it draws it power from the energy of all participants. While the contents of the journaling are not revealed, discussion revolves around the process itself. What surprises were there? Where in the body were sensations felt?
Burnout is serious and should be attended to. If you don’t have a mental health provider, don’t feel like you need one, or can’t afford one then group journaling may be a solution for you.
Don’t bring burnout into your workplace in 2022. Register now for the upcoming guided group journaling event Don’t Set Your Intentions for 2022 Drunk on New Year’s Eve. Space is limited to 10 participants!