How to Deal with Burnout as an OFW

To be successful as a Filipino worker working overseas, you need to have a lot of endurance, fortitude, and guts. Being an overseas Filipino worker is a challenging job. You may have heard the terrifying tales of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are forced to live in survival mode in order to provide for their families back home. 

It should come as no surprise that some OFW’s can experience burnout, which can lead to mental and emotional breakdowns. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, including differences in culture, feelings of isolation, or stress. As an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), here are some helpful advice on how you can deal with burnout.

1. Think about your objectives

As an OFW, of course, before you even considered moving abroad to work, you probably had some sort of plan or expectations for your journey. There’s a running joke where you probably said you’d only stay for a couple of years but ended up staying for over a decade since life passes us by.

Since you’ve been working for a long time, your personal goals probably changed, and your emotional and physical status changed; burnout is a warning sign to reflect and slow down. You must Identify your short-term and long-term professional objectives by taking a step back. Ask yourself if you are truly following your dreams and if this is the right choice for you, since being an OFW is not for everyone and it depends on the country you’re in.

For example, if you’re an OFW in the Middle east you will not be a citizen, no matter how many years you’ve worked and stayed, unlike in the US or Australia. Perhaps, you wan to move back home to be with your family or start a business, if you feel yourself on the cusp of burnout, take a step back!

2. Set healthy boundaries

One of the common reason why OFWs are suffering a burnout because they are putting in more work whether for extra money or to avoid feeling homesick back home. Put some distance between your job life and your personal life. Set firm work hours, and only take on a little job that might interfere with your free time. You also must set healthy boundaries in using social media since it can also contribute to your burnout and sometimes, family or friends back home can bombard you with problems that is not okay for your mental health too.

3. Take care of yourself first

Let’s admit it practicing self-care can be hard for some OFW’s since they feel like they don’t deserve it. They have to give their all for their families back home and other responsibilities. But this practice is not good for you in the long run. You must practice self-care to avoid burnout that will lead to more problems such as chronic illnesses or end up resigning from your job due to unhappiness.

You must learn the importance of prioritizing self-care. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, working out on a regular basis, and doing things that make you happy and relaxed.If you like skincare then buy that cream for your face, if you like doing karaoke with friends, enjoy the weekends away! As long as you’re not neglecting your priorities then you’re good!

4. Look for people to lean on

Burnout can happen for a lot of reasons, but having a strong support system from your friends abroad or your family back home can make a huge difference. Find other overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) or locals who can relate to the difficulties you’re experiencing. When dealing with professional stress, it can help to talk to others, get some guidance, and form a support system.Sometimes as OFW, we tend to think we got it all together and we do our best to be strong, but there’s no shame in admitting we need help every now and then.

5. Talk to your boss or employer

Get your bosses on the same page on the requirement of a balanced work environment, your workload, and any difficulties you’re facing. Bring up reasonable expectations and, if needed, work out a compromise.

As demanding as some jobs might be, it can be difficult to tell your bosses that you’re burnt out. However, there are some employers and managers who stand up for their employees’ rights, particularly when it comes to mental health. Sometimes you have to ask yourself, perhaps you’re not happy with your job and maybe need to resign, depending on your circumstances. Try to find work in a different field or occupation if burnout continues. Motivation and enthusiasm can be reignited by a change in setting or position.

Explore the possibility of implementing flexible work arrangements, such as working from home or adjusting your hours, in order to develop a schedule that is more accommodating and well-balanced. You can ask your employer if they are willing to compromise on your part. There’s no shame in asking especially if you’re working in a supportive management or environment.

6. Get some rest

As an OFW, sometimes you just need a break. Put your own needs first and don’t be scared to take a break. Taking frequent, little rests can refresh your thoughts. If you’re feeling overwhelmed emotionally or mentally, take a break from work and do something relaxing, like going for a stroll. When we don’t give our bodies the sleep they require, we end up burned out.

7. Go to the doctor’s

Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the causes of your burnout. possibly it’s more than just mental health difficulties; there may be physical ones as well. 

Make time for checkups on a regular basis to prioritize your mental and physical well-being. It is possible to avoid long-term consequences by identifying health issues early.

For OFWs suffering from burnout, a trip to the doctor may be an absolute lifesaver. Their physical and mental health frequently suffers as a result of the rigorous nature of their employment overseas and the stress of being away from home. 

When OFW’s seek medical help, they can alleviate some of the physical symptoms of burnout, such sleeplessness and exhaustion, and they can also get some emotional support. To help ease the emotional strain of their duties, consultations provide a secure environment in which to talk about the difficulties they’re experiencing.

 Helping OFW’s prioritize their health is another important role of healthcare providers, who can advise them on stress management strategies and behavioral changes. In order to manage burnout among OFWs in a comprehensive way, it is important to have regular checkups. This helps in early diagnosis of health issues and also highlights the significance of self-care.

8. Work on your skills 

As an OFW you must do your best to improve since times are changing and we live in a digital world, staying on top of things will also help your career and how you see yourself.  Improving one’s abilities and acquiring new knowledge are two of the most important ways to lessen the impact of burnout.

Confidence and mastery over one’s work are common outcomes for professionals who invest in skill development. By lowering the stress and helplessness that can cause burnout, this boost to self-efficacy helps create a more positive work atmosphere. In addition, as people learn new things, they feel more capable and fulfilled in their work, which boosts their confidence and feeling of purpose. Improve your skills one day at a time to avoid burnout!

9. Being a yes man

If you’re always a yes man, it will be costly on your part! A major cause of burnout among OFWs is the difficulty of saying no to loved ones, which is something that many OFWs struggle with. A complicated dynamic is created by the strong cultural emphasis on familial obligation in the Philippines and the corresponding financial demands placed on OFW’s

. Financial support for schooling, healthcare, and basic living expenditures for extended family members back home is a huge burden for many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Establishing limits or declining pleas for financial aid is challenging for them because they are afraid of disappointing or letting their loved ones down. 

As a result, overseas Filipino workers may experience emotional and physical tiredness as a result of working long hours or taking on numerous occupations to satisfy these demands. One of the main causes of burnout is the never-ending drive to take care of family responsibilities without sacrificing one’s own health and happiness. To tackle this issue, we need a change in mindset about acknowledging and embracing personal limits. Additionally, it’s important to encourage open dialogue within families so that OFWs may set reasonable expectations and have support systems in place that prioritize their overall welfare.

10. Time management

In order to avoid burnout in the stressful foreign workplace, Overseas Filipino Workers must master the art of time management. Adapting to a new culture, being separated from loved ones, and coping with the demands of work are just a few of the particular problems that overseas Filipino workers encounter, which can make stress levels even higher. OFW’s are able to effectively manage their time, energy, and resources by taking a strategic approach to scheduling their job, personal, and cultural commitments. 

OFW’s can reduce their vulnerability to burnout by developing regular routines that include setting reasonable objectives, ranking chores in order of importance, and separating their professional and home lives. Time management that works also lets you relax and enjoy life, which is important for your mental and emotional health.