SHE Matters

S.H.E. Matters: Unpacking the Burnout Baggage

In today’s fast-paced work environment, the term “burnout” has become all too familiar, almost a buzzword — but its impact is anything but trivial. For women in the workplace, the experience of burnout is often intensified by unique challenges that range from gender biases to the “double shift” of work and domestic responsibilities. 

While the concept is not exclusive to women, the disparities that persist in today’s professional landscape make it especially critical for women to recognize the signs, understand the underlying issues, and take proactive steps to prevent burnout.

Cracking The Glass Ceiling, But At What Cost? 

What exactly is burnout? According to the Mayo Clinic website, “Job burnout is a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” 

As stated by the World Health Organization, burnout is characterized by these three dimensions:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion 
  • Increased feelings of cynicism or negativity towards one’s job
  • Reduced professional efficacy 

Work stress for women often extends beyond the typical pressures of job performance and deadlines. Many women face the additional strain of gender biases, unequal pay, and the emotional labor of balancing workplace responsibilities with domestic roles. 

These unique stressors can compound over time, making women more susceptible to burnout. The lack of supportive workplace policies, such as flexible work hours and parental leave, can further exacerbate this stress, leading to emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment — the key markers of burnout.

Is There A Way to Avoid Burnout?

Avoiding workplace burnout is a multi-faceted endeavor that involves personal, organizational, and systemic approaches. On an individual level, there are ways that women can reduce their chances of experiencing burnout! 

These include: 

  • Prioritizing self-care: set boundaries, take breaks, and try exercising for short periods daily
  • Managing your workload: delegate tasks, clarify expectations, and batch similar tasks
  • Fostering healthy relationships: seek support from loved ones, communicate openly, and seek a mentor 
  • Advocating for systemic change: push for fair policies and challenge gender biases 
  • Practice healthy emotions: be mindful of your emotions, experiment with meditation, and keep track of your accomplishments 

While some of these tactics are general, they can be particularly impactful for women who may face additional pressures and biases in the workplace. The goal is to create a holistic approach to work-life that respects your time, values your emotional well-being, and contributes to your professional success.

Do you have any tips for avoiding burnout? Let us know! 

Feel free to reach out to our team or visit our S.H.E. Matters page to send in a submission for our review, and stay tuned for more S.H.E. Matters content!