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The Great Exhaustion: Understanding the Burnout Epidemic Among Australian Workers

31 Aug 00:00 By Lawrence Akers

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The Great Exhaustion: Understanding the Burnout Epidemic Among Australian Workers

If you watch the news, you'll know that in recent times, a new epidemic has been sweeping across Australia. It's not a virus or a disease. It's called "The Great Exhaustion." Some may have noticed that this has been going on for a little while now, and Australian workers from various sectors and backgrounds are facing unprecedented levels of burnout. This is leading many to reconsider their career choices and seek alternative, stress-free pastimes.

What is The Great Exhaustion?

The Great Exhaustion refers to the overwhelming feeling of fatigue, stress, and burnout experienced by Australian workers. It's not just about being tired after a long day at work; it's a deep-seated feeling of being drained, both mentally and emotionally. This phenomenon has become so prevalent that one out of every two Australian workers is reportedly hitting the wall.

Why Are Australian Workers Facing Burnout?

There could be multiple factors contributing to this widespread burnout. The modern work environment, with its constant connectivity, long hours, and high expectations, can be a significant contributor. Additionally, the global pandemic might have exacerbated feelings of isolation, stress, and anxiety, pushing many to their limits.

The Impact on Careers and Personal Lives

It's alarming to note that many are quitting their successful careers due to this burnout. These aren't just individuals who are unhappy with their jobs; these are professionals who have dedicated years to their fields, achieving success and recognition. Yet, the toll of The Great Exhaustion is making them reconsider their life choices.

Many are seeking stress-free pastimes, looking for activities that bring them joy, relaxation, and a break from the relentless pace of their professional lives. Whether it's pursuing a hobby, spending more time with family, or even taking a sabbatical, the focus is shifting from career advancement to personal well-being.

The Impact on the Workplace

The flip-side of this issue is equally alarming as it means that many organisations are losing some of their top team members, and taking the intellectual property and company culture of the business along with them. Worse still, as those facing exhaustion are either taking a sabbatical or leaving the industry entirely, it is creating a situation where these top individuals are becoming harder to replace.

Addressing the Issue: A Call to Action

It's essential to recognise that The Great Exhaustion isn't just an individual problem; it's a societal one. Employers, organisations, and policymakers need to take proactive steps to address this issue. This could include promoting a healthy work-life balance, offering mental health support, and creating an environment where employees feel valued and heard.

Personal Accountability

We also need to look at our own accountability in these situations too. Many people will place their own mental health secondary to so many other things and only seem to take action on it when it has reached a point close to collapse. Actions such as taking up a regular mindfulness practice, which has empirical evidence to support the effectiveness, can help to develop a new relationship with the challenging thoughts and feelings that fuel the feeling of exhaustion.

A Wake-Up Call For All

While The Great Exhaustion is a concerning trend, it's also a wake-up call. It's a reminder that while work is essential, so is mental and emotional well-being. As a society, it's time to prioritise the health and happiness of our workforce, ensuring that they have the support and resources they need to thrive.