Australia is one of the first countries in the world to face a COVID spike and a simultaneous flu season — not to mention it being one of the worst seasons in years.
We are fast approaching almost 3 years of having viruses and pandemics hanging over our heads. Most Queensland workers, whether they realise it or not, are feeling stressed, exhausted, and tired like never before.
We aren’t here to go over the same old, ‘tips for avoiding getting sick this flu season’. Instead, we’re going to talk about burnout – something you may not even know you have.
What is burnout?
According to Beyond Blue, burnout is a state of complete mental, physical and emotional exhaustion caused by excessive stress over a long period of time.
Burnout used to be associated with high-pressure jobs, but as we’ve all found out since the outbreak of the pandemic, it can affect anyone.
Whether it’s uncertainty of future, having to work from home with children around, being worn down from being sick all the time or succumbing to the phenomenon of doom scrolling, more and more people are feeling burnout than ever before.
How do I know if I have burnout and/or mental exhaustion?
Everyone is different, but there are some key signs to look out for:
- Struggling to get motivated and caring less and less about work.
- Finding it difficult to focus or perform even the simplest tasks at work.
- Being irritable towards your colleagues.
- Disconnecting from your colleagues, friends or even family.
I’m struggling to manage burnout at work – what do I tell my boss?
Our biggest tip is just to be honest with your employer and colleagues. If you find yourself struggling to keep up with work, or your motivation levels are at all-time lows, you should speak to someone.
- Let your boss know you’re struggling and need support. They may be able to adjust your workload or provide resources for you to better handle your responsibilities.
- Take some time off. Queensland employees are entitled to their regular leave allowance, as well as potential 2 weeks unpaid pandemic leave, as well as the ability to take annual leave at half pay if your employer agrees. Find more information on pandemic leave on the FairWork website.
- Be kind to yourself. You may feel like you can’t complete work at the speed or quality you used to be able to – but remember that so many Aussies are feeling the same way as you.
What support services are out there for Queensland workers?
Burnout and prolonged periods of stress can take their toll on our mental and physical health. The key is to seek help and support if you are feeling mentally exhausted.
Outside of your employer, colleagues, family and friends, there are several support networks available.
- MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78 or chat online.
- Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service – 1800 512 348 or chat online.
- Lifeline – 13 11 14 or chat online.
- 133 MH CALL (1300 642 255), a confidential mental health telephone service connecting Queenslanders with mental health professionals.
- The Queensland Government’s mental health and wellbeing support services.
Is it possible to claim for burnout?
The outbreak of the pandemic, the simultaneous flu season and all the other things happening around the world have caused major disruptions to both employees and employers across Australia. Many of these disruptions are out of your employer’s control, meaning you are unlikely to have grounds for a claim.
The only areas Gouldson Legal may be able to assist with a claim is in the instances of an employee suffering an adverse outcome, directly due to their employer:
- Failing to adjust their workload despite new working conditions or the employee’s requests.
- Expects too much yet fails to provide proper resources that allow the employee to meet these expectations.
- Fails to manage or react to complaints from customers, which have an adverse effect on the employee.
If you believe your wellbeing has been adversely affected directly by reasons within your employer’s control, you may want to consider getting in touch with Gouldson Legal. You can have your case reviewed for free, to find out whether you have grounds for a claim.