Former Olympian Becky Adlington says it was like ‘going into a hole’ when reaching burnout as a young swimmer.
Speaking at a conference, she said: “In sport you’re already stressed and tired anyway, if you’re not pushing your body to the limit every day then you’re not really doing the work. But as I got older, I’d recognise the signs – we used to call it ‘going into a hole’.
“It’s that feeling of constantly being overwhelmed and pressured.”
An ambassador for the Not A Red Card campaign – which sets out to show it’s not bad to talk about mental health in the workplace – Becky said there are still tough barriers to opening up.
“We can all recognise the signs when we’re feeling immense stress. Mentally and emotionally, I’ll get to the point where I don’t want someone to talk to me, I want to be by myself. It’s too much of a challenge to even have a conversation with somebody.”
Becky was keynote speaker at the Employee Wellbeing Congress 2020, held virtually over Wednesdays in September. She was invited to discuss burnout and to share her tips for employers and individuals to tackle it.
She recommends home workers set boundaries, such as not reading or sending work emails after 6pm.
She also stressed how important it is for staff to have a supportive network they can turn to in difficulty or to inspire and motivate them.
“One thing that was really important to me as a swimmer in the athlete world was having a support team around me. That’s really important in business as well – we’ve got to have supportive relationships and you’ve got to be asking people how they are but also, knowing who you can turn to.”
Becky Adlington was speaking at the Employee Wellbeing Congress: www.employeewellbeingcongress.co.uk
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