Burnout in Publishing: What it is and what you can do

Burnout in Publishing: What it is and what you can do

With research published by The Bookseller on the industry suffering from burnout and it being Mental Health Awareness week, we wanted to share some of our thoughts and support to anyone out there suffering but also on how you should be looking after your team, your colleagues and your friends and family affected.

Publishing is facing “industry-wide burnout” according to a survey conducted by The Bookseller, which revealed 89% of staffers responding to the survey had experienced stress during the course of their work over the last year, while 69% reported burnout.  Credit: The Bookseller 9th May 2022, you can read the article here: https://www.thebookseller.com/news/trade-facing-industry-wide-burnout-bookseller-survey-finds

Work should be enjoyable and challenging but should not impact your life in a negative way, as soon as that starts happening, something needs to change. It seems like we’ve picked up some bad habits since working from home which we need to recognise and change!

At Inspired, we take our team’s wellbeing seriously. We believe that you are at your most productive when you have a strong sense of purpose and vision, you feel listened to, valued and supported. Because we all have different needs when it comes to wellness we try and remain very flexible and we are always open to suggestions and where we can, we will implement them.

Right now, with so many external factors beyond our control causing us anxiety, like the rising costs of living, supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, we are working hard to look after our team even more. We have committed to providing a winter fuel allowance which will be paid out between September and March and we will be campaigning to try and get this adopted by our clients for our temporary workers also.

If you run a business, there are lots of activities and actions you can take that are low or no cost but are so important to do. Simple things like a quarterly happiness check in to make sure your teams are feeling in control and happy. It helps you measure your team’s happiness and is a powerful team. A happy team is a productive team!

What is burn out?

Here are some of the typical feelings and symptoms you might feel when you are suffering from burnout…

  • Feeling tired or drained most of the time.
  • Feeling helpless, trapped and/or defeated.
  • Feeling detached/alone in the world.
  • Having a cynical/negative outlook.
  • Self-doubt.
  • Procrastinating and taking longer to get things done.
  • Feeling overwhelmed.

Do you feel burnt out right now?

If the answer is yes then please speak to someone about it who can help. This doesn’t necessarily mean going to a doctor but absolutely please do if you are feeling low! Long gone are the days where you need to struggle on your own. It is weeks like this one where we aim to embrace and help make our mental health the top priority but actually Mental Health and Health in general should be top of the agenda 365 days of the year!

We want to get rid of any stigma attached and shout it from the rooftops, it is okay not to be okay! There is so much amazing help out there for you so please do not feel you are alone! The other reason to speak to a doctor is that there could be another medical reason why you are feeling some of these symptoms that is nothing to do with your job or your mental health so it’s important to seek help from a professional to talk through your symptoms and get the help you need.

What else can you do?

Speak to those closest to you, friends, family, colleagues maybe?  But at work, if you can, speak to your boss so they are aware of how you are feeling and then they can help you figure out how to get a better balance and start feeling better and have more support! Sharing this can make such a huge difference.  

Make sure you’re eating well.

Make sure you are saying yes to exercise and fresh air.

Make sure you rest and relax.

Understand where you are spending your time so you can keep an eye on the work life balance!

Think of when you are at your most happiest and what was the balance you had then compared to now. What has changed? Work will always take up a lot of our time – usually 35 – 37.5 hours a week but we should be able to still have balance in our life allowing us to keep up with hobbies. Especially with a more flexible approach that so many have adopted since the pandemic.


Have a read of articles on the symptoms of burnout and how you can overcome it, you will see that you can make changes that will make a difference but the most important thing is to recognise what is tipping us over and make that change.

It is okay to ask for help or to ask someone to just listen or even help you to figure out where the imbalance is! So be brave and let’s get talking.

Burnout can sometimes be hard to spot but in general if you are feeling or working with someone with burnout, you/they will show some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Lower levels of productivity.
  • Feeling anxious.
  • Distancing yourself from social situations, being less vocal in the office, less proactive in volunteering for opportunities, promotions or organising social events.
  • Feeling low in your mood.
  • Lowered concentration levels.
  • Feeling less creative.
  • Feeling constantly tired and exhausted.

 If there is someone in your team you suspect suffering right now then please check in with them and make sure that they are okay. Even if it’s just offering to go for a coffee and a chat, asking if you can help them or flagging up your concerns to someone more senior.

We are committed to deepening our knowledge of diversity and inclusion. Your comments and ideas on themes to explore in future articles are highly valued. Join us in shaping a more inclusive discourse by getting in touch with us at info@inspiredselection.com




Did you like this article? Want to read more like this? Why not sign up to the Library Updates on your account?

Sign up