10 signs of illness and burnout
Look out for these ‘red flags’ in both you and your teammates:
- Continually tired and rundown
- Often sick with colds, flus or tummy bugs
- Constantly irritable
- Quick and noticeable weight loss or gain
- Dependent on caffeine to get through the day (more than four caffeine drinks daily)
- Frequent arguing with friends, family and work colleagues
- Making self-degrading comments (e.g. ‘I’m useless’, ‘I’m going nowhere’, ‘I can’t do anything right’)
- Sudden changes in mood, personality or behaviour, which last for several weeks
- Lack of appetite
- Prolonged disinterest in jobs or things you used to enjoy
If you notice a number of these happening at once, it's likely that you’re not doing the things needed to stay well. Spend some time figuring out which ones you could put into practice, so you can start back on the road to wellness.
When in doubt, take time out, or give your affected team member some time off. Talk about what’s going on, rather than ignoring it. Also, make or encourage good food choices.
Helping someone who looks like they're headed to burnout or depression
- Be on their side – let them talk! (listening is a powerful tool)
- Show understanding and sympathy
- Don’t judge them
- Avoid offering advice
- Avoid making comparisons
- Don’t try to minimise their pain or act like it’s not a big deal
If you're worried someone may already be depressed, encourage them to speak to their health practitioner, and encourage them to talk to someone about it.
If you are worried someone is suicidal, get professional help. Do everything you can to get the help he or she needs, and call a crisis line for advice. Encourage the person to see a mental health professional, help locate a treatment facility, or take them to a doctor’s appointment.