THUNDER BAY – LIVING – Are you feeling like enough is enough? You are not alone, many people are feeling the long haul of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today is Blue Monday – often referred to as the most depressing day of the year. As we inch towards the two-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, new research shows that more than one-third (35 per cent) of all working Canadians are feeling burned out.
“The number of Canadians reporting burnout is cause for concern,” said Mary Ann Baynton, Director of Collaboration and Strategy, Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. “It’s not surprising though – considering we’re once again faced with extreme uncertainty as the pandemic rollercoaster continues. For so many of us, anxiety and exhaustion are at an all-time high.”
While the signs and symptoms of burnout may vary, says Baynton, it’s often characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism, negativity and reduced efficiency in the workplace. It’s more prevalent in employees who set high expectations for themselves, have unreasonable demands placed on them or feel unappreciated for their efforts. While not considered a mental illness, burnout can be debilitating and long-lasting. That’s why prevention and mitigation strategies are so important.
Five industries showed burnout rates above the national average of 35 per cent:
- Health and patient care (53 per cent)
- Transportation (40 per cent)
- Finance, legal and insurance (39 per cent)
- Education and childcare (38 per cent)
- First responders (36 per cent)
Within the health and patient care industry, a staggering 66 per cent of nurses reported burnout. Mental health professionals followed closely at 61 per cent and all other segments surveyed in this industry landed well above the Canadian average of 35 per cent reporting burnout.
“Burnout levels have soared among Canadian nurses throughout the pandemic,” said Tim Guest, Canadian Nurses Association. “The levels were high prior to 2020, but now the pandemic has exacerbated the situation. CNA is deeply concerned, and we continue to call for accessible mental health resources tailored to healthcare workers.”
Also, according to the study, few working Canadians feel they are receiving enough support from their employer, with only a third of respondents indicating their company is committed to a low stress environment.
“We’re troubled about the many respondents who singled out the lack of psychological supports at work,” said Michael Cooper, Vice-President, Mental Health Research Canada. “With the pandemic it’s more important than ever for employers to consider new leadership approaches to help those employees most at risk of burnout. The consequences of not doing so are significant.”
To find help preventing burnout for yourself or others, visit Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. Employers can also access free tools and resources to reduce the risk of burnout in the workplace.