Burnout knows no boundaries: Nevyhasni tackles burnout by sharing stories and raising awareness

At EDU Effective, we enjoyed interviewing Barbora Hailandová from Nevyhasni. Barbora works in marketing at Nevyhasni and is also involved in the organization’s educational efforts and workshops. In this interview, you’ll learn how Barbora joined Nevyhasni, how to combat burnout, and the organization’s future activities.

Barbora, thank you so much for taking the time for an interview with EDU Effective. How did you get involved with Nevyhasni, and what does your role entail?

Thank you! I appreciate the invitation. I got involved with Nevyhasni last fall when I was in the final year of my psychology bachelor’s degree. Our academic coordinator emailed an offer: “We are looking for volunteers among psychologists and psychology students for the Nevyhasni project.”

When I learned about Nevyhasni’s work, I realized I wanted to be part of the project. Firstly, burnout is a topic that resonates throughout society, mainly because my professional path is leading me toward occupational psychology and mental health care for employees. Burnout is indeed a part of many people’s working lives.

My role at Nevyhasni is quite versatile. I transitioned from creating content for Instagram to the strategic team a year ago. Alongside Mikoláš, David, and Jirka, I contribute to Nevyhasni’s primary activities. I oversee the psychological aspect of our activities, content on Nevyhasni’s social media, and online activities in general.

In practice, I handle the overall strategy for content creation and recently took on the role of leading the social media team. We recently welcomed three new members to the content team. We aim to generate more content (posts, videos, articles, etc.) while maintaining the same quality.

Could you introduce us to the Nevyhasni organization? Where did the idea for this non-profit originate?

The creation of Nevyhasni is attributed to a powerful story from my colleague David. He experienced burnout at the age of 19. When he searched for information about what was happening to him, Uncle Google provided little guidance. Burnout was supposedly reserved for top managers and middle-aged healthcare professionals. After overcoming his painful experience, he decided to do something about it. Thus, the Nevyhasni project broke the taboo around burnout, spread awareness, and created sustainable and functional burnout prevention systems.

It’s a young project, operating for about 1.5 years. It started with awareness campaigns on social media, and now we organize events for hundreds of participants. We often give lectures, launch new concepts like chat peer groups, and engage with companies on how we can assist them.

How does Nevyhasni’s activity manifest in the non-profit sector, and how does it impact the community you support?

The impact is crucial. Despite the inherent negatives of social media, they allow us to reach an audience that would be challenging to build offline. By spreading evidence-based but easily digestible content, we have created a solid follower base on Instagram, arriving around 5400 people last year. Many people tell us that if they had come across the Nevyhasni project a few years ago, they might not have reached the “burnout” station. Such feedback is essential for us and reinforces that what we do makes sense.

I’d also like to mention our peer groups, which we started testing in October this year. These are online chat groups of about 12 people who feel they are teetering on the edge of burnout. Through these groups, individuals can share their daily joys and concerns, particularly various challenges related to burnout prevention. A therapist moderates the groups and runs for 3-4 months. Participation is free, aiming to support those who, for any reason, may not be able to attend therapy or feel comfortable with online or offline contact with a therapist.

Burnout is a problem faced by people across professions. Who and how can become a victim of burnout, and what are the typical signs?

The longer we run the project, the more we confirm the statement that “Anyone can burn out.” Whether you’re 19 or 54, a nurse or a successful start-up entrepreneur, working in your role for two years or 10, burnout can affect anyone deeply engaged in something.

In psychological theories (e.g., by Kristina Maslach), three typical signs of burnout are commonly mentioned:

  • Emotional distancing from work or cynicism
  • Exhaustion
  • Reduced “self-efficacy”

In practice, it means starting to doubt your performance. The main “red flags” include chronic fatigue, anhedonia (inability to experience joy in things that used to bring pleasure), and often overlooked physical symptoms, from headaches to back pain or flu-like symptoms. It’s individual.

How does the Nevyhasni organization help people facing burnout? Do you have specific programs or methods for prevention and addressing this issue?

We focus primarily on prevention. If a person is already burned out, preventive techniques won’t save them. During the acute burnout phase, we recommend seeking therapeutic help. There are crisis hotlines and platforms like Hedepy or terapie.cz, where you can find a therapist and arrange online or offline therapy from the comfort of your home.

Specific programs and activities we use for prevention include the peer above groups and the (Not) Burned Out Organization program. We recently held our first public event, a talk titled “Glowing, smoldering – burning out.” Sharing stories and raising awareness are the most powerful tools and methods to prevent burnout.

How can burnout in the workplace be effectively prevented? Are there specific strategies or tips you would recommend for maintaining mental health?

That’s a tricky question. It’s very individual. We all know advice like “Get at least 8 hours of sleep. Exercise. Make time for hobbies…” These are beautiful and true pieces of advice, and I wouldn’t want to diminish their credibility, but most of us feel a bit uneasy when we hear them.

I’ll share a few tips I’ve observed in Nevyhasni that have proven successful for our followers and people who have experienced burnout.

  • If I don’t have time for myself in the evening = I’ll allocate a moment for myself during the regular workday (even in the calendar). Take a walk from work instead of taking the tram, or skip lunch with colleagues and enjoy lunch in the park. Just include two 30-minute blocks in the day where “work can’t reach you.”
  • Communication is key. Tell your boss if things are overwhelming and you need help. Say that you won’t answer calls on the weekend. Inform your family that you’re going through a lot now and would appreciate their support. My favorite prevention tripod comes to mind: don’t build your life on one leg – the work leg. Instead, simultaneously care for your relationships with family, partners, friends, and most importantly, yourself.

Can a particular form of self-improvement and requalification serve as burnout prevention?

I believe it can. Often, people stay in one place, with one employer, because they’ve been there for many years and fear change. Change is what can propel us in a new direction. Self-education and requalification courses align with that.

It’s scientifically proven that education and self-development impact our satisfaction, mental resilience, and confidence, whether you’re a stay-at-home mom looking to develop in your free time or a top manager who doesn’t want to stagnate despite a high position.

Can you share some general statistics regarding the burnout problem in the workplace? What is the extent of this issue, and how does it impact society?

The latest research from the 1st Faculty of Medicine and the General University Hospital suggests that almost every fifth Czech displays symptoms of burnout. In other countries, the statistics seem even more pressing (up to 50% in some places). Numerous studies explore the impact of burnout on businesses. Gallup’s research shows that burnout contributes to 30% of employee turnover. Replacing a departing employee costs a company 0.5-2 times the employee’s annual salary, which is alarming.

If I were to look at it from a human perspective, a huge problem is that skilled and experienced people are leaving leadership positions. We don’t yet have a functional mental health care system for employees in companies or state organizations. Some of these people can return to the field. Unfortunately, many change professions entirely because they can’t even “think” about their former work anymore.

Besides financial support, how can the public help the Nevyhasni organization and contribute to burnout prevention in the non-profit sector?

They can join us or become our ambassadors. We are always looking for volunteers for our team. They can get involved in graphics, IT, marketing, event organization, content creation, etc. There are plenty of possibilities.

We try to tailor any “position” with us according to the interests, passions, and development goals of the interested individuals. We are also looking for psychology, psychiatry, medicine, and research experts who would join us and help develop our activities. Additionally, we are building an ambassador program where ambassadors can participate in an awareness campaign for one month.

There are plenty of opportunities; they need to reach out to us through social media (@nevyhasni) or via email at barbora.hailandova@nevyhasni.cz.


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