How to battle burnout and fight back against imposter syndrome

COVID-19 has dramatically changed working life as we know it. With the move to homeworking, the furlough scheme and virtual education, the pandemic has been a true test of our mental resilience

As restrictions ease, many of us are left questioning if we are even good enough, fuelled by months of isolation, the struggle to keep up with changing workplace demands and adapting to the ‘new normal’.

During the pandemic, Totaljobs discovered that 7 in 10 workers have experienced imposter syndrome, with 48% being Gen Z, compared to 33% of Gen X and just 21% of Baby Boomers.

Imposter syndrome is definitely on the rise, but there is still a significant lack of awareness, with searches for ‘what is imposter syndrome’ up by 100% in the last 90 days.

Because of this, many are failing to recognise such feelings and are therefore working harder to feel like less of an ‘imposter’, ultimately causing burnout.

What is imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome involves feelings of self-doubt about personal incompetence despite a person’s experience and accomplishments.

It’s characterised by feelings of anxiety and depression, with most people suffering in silence.

It can affect anyone in any position, from students to chief executives, and usually strikes when we become anxious about whether we will meet expectations.

Victoria Crammer

To counter these feelings, you may end up working harder and holding yourself to ever higher standards to ease the guilt of being an ‘imposter’ and make up for your perceived lack of intelligence.

You work longer hours, avoid taking days off or annual sick leave, and this quickly affects performance and emotional wellbeing.

Wellbeing expert and founder of Mindful Escapes Victoria Crammer decided to complete a Diploma in Mindfulness after experiencing imposter syndrome and burnout herself during lockdown.

“After studying for my Diploma, combined with my own experiences throughout the multiple UK lockdowns, I now better understand imposter syndrome and can recognise the early signs before self-doubt overwhelms me,” she says.

Like many of us during lockdown, Victoria was balancing home-schooling her children whilst navigating the loss of her income due to the covid restrictions which caused feelings of guilt, stress and anxiety – all emotions that characterise imposter syndrome.

“I was putting so much pressure on myself to save our business whilst trying to home-school our children and feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing enough for them.

“Working in the travel industry during these times has been tough and there were moments I felt like it was my fault the business was struggling; like I wasn’t doing enough.

“It all got a bit too much after I lost both my father and step-father in lockdown.

After that, I decided to be kinder to myself and educate myself on mental health.

“I undertook a Diploma in Mindfulness and, quickly realising the benefits, founded Mindful Escapes, offering courses to help others battle burnout and imposter syndrome through building confidence and creating a sense of inner calm.”

The benefits of mindfulness

Mindfulness is an effective tool to combat imposter syndrome and burnout.

It helps us deal with anxious thoughts by bringing us into the present and, without anxiety clouding judgement, it becomes a lot easier to recognise destructive thoughts.

Instead of experiencing a stress response triggered by anxiety, mindfulness and meditation promote a more relaxed response in both mind and body.

Prevention is better than cure, and meditation can help beat burnout, with two-thirds of anxiety-prone individuals managing to reduce anxiety levels after meditating for 6-9 months.

But with the search term ‘how to meditate for beginners’ up by 170% in the past 90 days, it appears many of us want to practice mindfulness but lack knowledge on the subject.

One way to begin your journey and educate yourself is through seeking a mindful mentor or coach.

Mindful mentors

Mindfulness mentors and coaches not only give you the tools to prevent feelings of self-doubt spiralling, but also challenge your negative narrative to boost self-esteem.

Dr Rakish Rana is an experienced life coach, known as ‘the clear coach’.

He is working with Mindful Escapes on the coaching for success retreat in Austria to help high-achieving individuals identify their self-limiting beliefs, allowing them to overcome any fears that may be holding them back, and move forward with complete confidence.

He said: “It’s so important to invest time in yourself and attain balance when you are a working professional.

“If you feel you’re experiencing a lack of confidence, motivation, or mental exhaustion, then you need time out to find peace and reconnect with yourself, and meditation and yoga can definitely improve that.”

Meditation is a powerful tool in the workplace. Aiding memory and concentration by 50% and increasing energy by 60%, it is proven to prevent burnout.

Christian Burne is a transformation coach and clinical hypnotherapist who helps individuals eliminate the inner blocks holding them back to prevent burnout and increase productivity.

He has joined Mindful Escapes as the visiting master on the create a sense of inner-calm retreat in Saint Lucia.

“As burnout is caused by a lack of inner calm and strength, I can help build confidence and promote personal growth through self-reflection,” he says.

“My retreat regulates your response to inner turbulence by focusing your mind and bringing you into the present, allowing you to let go of any existing expectations or judgements.

“Right now, we’re all adapting to the new normal, and it’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos of it all. But to protect wellbeing, it’s vital we take time out for ourselves and build up mental resilience.”

Adapting to the new normal

Freedom Day has been and gone, and so has furlough. As the phased return to work continues, many are experiencing increased stress and anxiety.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, searches for ‘imposter syndrome’ have risen from 10% to 72%, peaking at 100% in February.

Searches for ‘burnout’ have also increased from 42% in March 2020 to 74% in July 2021.

This shows a clear rise in the number of people struggling with such issues, and so workplaces need to educate their employees to ensure they are taking as much care of their mental health and wellbeing as they are their physical health.

Victoria believes part of effectively adapting to the new normal means allowing yourself more downtime.

“Employers need to be more flexible to allow employees time to recharge their batteries, “she says.

“It’s so important to have a break from time to time and remove yourself from stressful situations so you can realign your priorities and go back with a clear head.

“Mindfulness, meditation and yoga are all ways to manage stress and recharge.

“Investing in your mental wellness is essential, and although self-doubt may say you need to work harder, this is ultimately counter-productive.”

Victoria says everyone should ‘start the ‘new normal’ as they mean to go on.

“Be kinder to yourself, give yourself regular breaks, celebrate the small wins and put your mental wellbeing first.”

To find out more about Mindful Escapes or if you’d like to get involved as a contributor for mindfulness, wellness, and coaching, visit the website for more information.

Alternatively, you can email enquiries@mindfulescapes.uk.

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