Entrepreneur and former tax director for a Luxembourg big 4 company Joanna Denton shared her experience of burnout when she was guest at a Delano Live Chat on 30 September.
Denton suffered two burnouts within five years of each other, prompting her to change careers and begin a journey of recovery through breaking the silence around burnout and mental health in the workplace.
In the last two years Joanna has given 2 TedX talks, published a book, “A Different Truth” and moved back to Northern Ireland for the first time since she was 18.
During the hour-long chat, Denton described the “brain fog” she experienced as a result of pushing herself to work long hours and always putting work first. She said that her belief system was based on the idea that “my professionalism and dedication to my work was directly measured by how many hours I did. I saw a correlation between that.”
She added: "I spent a lot of time putting on a façade that I had my shit together. That’s very lonely and isolating."
The turning point came when she learned of a friend’s suicide and reached out to a friend. “It was the single most terrifying thing I could do. Because you put yourself on the line."
Among the potential prevention strategies, she advocated for more leaders and role models to share their experiences in a bid to break the silence of burnout, in particular for men.
“Our role can be to plant a seed to put those first thoughts out. Luckily, among women there have been many first thoughts and we can have that interactive first engagement,” she said, adding: “For men we still need a bit of lead time, still continuing the conversation, people sharing thoughts in public domain and providing resources so people can follow up behind closed doors with people they trust.”
Watch the Live Chat here
Further reading and support
Handbooks from Unmind, including a “blueprint” to create a proactive mental health strategy and 7 areas of mental health to nurture while working in self isolation.
An information sheet from the World Health Organisation, including some facts and figures on the cost to the global economy in terms of lost productivity.
This event was hosted by Delano with Paperjam Club. The next English language events will be:
6 October: US Elections, a webinar with former US ambassador to Germany John Emerson
7 October: Delano Live, a live informational and networking event examining the housing challenge with Julien Licheron of Liser
14 October: Live Chat, how covid changed company culture with Workculturati founder and CEO Christina Clark.