The Burnout Factor of the Fashion Business
According to recent studies, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. If you’re working in a creative job such as fashion, then you’re 25% more likely to suffer.
Anyone unfamiliar with the industry is going to see it as super glamorous. All that travel, extravagance, lavish sexy parties, colourful and eccentric creative characters, and the drama of it all.
It's not like that, is it
For those really working in it at tailors dummy and pattern blocks, the experience is very different, leading many to experience serious mental health damage.
Let's face it the heavy workloads and hectic schedules are part of the daily experience forced by cycles for “ready to wear” collections and ever faster fashion, meaning turnaround times of 21 days.
Then there's the heavy diary commitments for fashion weeks and one-off PR events that require round-the-clock availability and commitment. Be there or else.
Sleep deprivation caused by long hours, late nights, unexpected chaos and supply issues will ultimately take its toll.
After years in the business, a career in fashion can eat away at your work-life balance and undermine relationships, health, and happiness.
And slowly but surely, burnout creeps in.
Impact of Burnout
Burnout is a severe problem affecting professionals in many occupational groups, and fashion is in no way immune. It's the result of chronic stress, largely from one's work and where an individual has inadequate stress management and coping skills for the stress they're experiencing.
Burnout has many consequences for the individual, including:
- Physical illness
- Increased feelings of hopelessness
- Poor interpersonal relationships with family/coworkers/others
- Lower quality of life
In severe cases, it can cause diminished executive functioning, attention, and memory. And the impact of burnout on organisations includes:
- Increased levels of absenteeism
- Increased staff turnover
- Reduced quality of customer service and teamwork
- Overall decreased job performance.
- Rise in occupational hazards
By addressing burnout, you can increase personal wellness and improve satisfaction and quality of work.
In a study in 2012 by Shanafelt, M.D. et al., 27.8% of the general population of working adults reported at least one symptom of burnout. In the medical profession, a study by Medscape of over 15,000 physicians found burnout is beyond epidemic rates!
How Do You Know if You're Suffering from Burnout?
When you have full-fledged burnout, you can no longer function effectively on a personal or professional level. But burnout doesn't happen suddenly.
It's not like waking up with a headache of period pain! There's no chance of you hitting the alarm clock and failing to get out of bed one morning because all of a sudden, you "have burnout."
Its a nasty, insidious, creeping mental state that creeps up on us over time, And that's what makes it so difficult to spot if we are not paying attention to it.
Signs of physical and emotional exhaustion include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Forgetfulness/impaired concentration and attention
- Physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal pain, dizziness, fainting, and/or headaches (all of which should be medically assessed)
- Increased illness
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of enjoyment
- Feelings of apathy and hopelessness
- Increased irritability
- Lack of productivity and poor performance
If you are suffering from any of these and haven't discussed any of them with a health professional, I recommend you do so. Burnout isn't like the flu or a common cold. It's never going to go away if you wait and see. Your body and mind are pleading for you to make some changes in your life.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
The smart thing to do is make the changes you need before the onset of burnout and before you get anywhere near needing professional medical help. Recognising that it's time to redress the balance in your life is the starting point. After that making fundamental changes to reduce the stressors and find better ways of coping is essential.
Living a fulfilled and happy life with a real sense of purpose can be had.
It just decides to put your own health and well-being ahead of everything else. It starts by saying no to the crappy working and pay conditions. No to the shitty boss and excessive demands of clients and shareholders.
It means saying yes to you. Yes, to a well-deserved transformation that helps you get clear, get motivated, and get started on achieving greater success and happiness in life and work.
I'm inviting 15 people to join me over the next three months to do just that in a new coaching program I've been developing based on my own experiences with excessive stress and burnout. I know what it's like and how to avoid it from happening.
To find out more on How to Redesign Your Life and Live It, click the link below.
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