Burnout is a workplace epidemic, affecting 67% of employees, as reported by CNBC. Approximately one-third of those report that they experience burnout always or most of the time. And the number only continues to rise, which has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to designate burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” on its International Classification of Diseases.
The WHO classified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” in its 11th issue of the International Classification of Diseases. Identified by feelings of depletion or exhaustion, cynicism directed at one’s job and reduced professional efficacy. Symptoms may impact personal behavioral as well as physical and mental wellbeing. But it can be avoided and treated. Discover how to battle burnout successfully in the last section of this article.
Burnout as an "Occupational Phenomenon"
The inclusion of burnout in the International Classification of Diseases helps to draw needed recognition to burnout by the medical community as something that influences health and that should cause people to seek medical treatment.
But what is burnout, exactly? Burnout often starts out as workplace stress, but it's much more than that. It's the result of chronic, unchecked stress that leaves a person feeling despondent, exhausted and disinterested in their job. It can affect all areas of life and may even negatively impact health.
Symptoms and Consequences of Burnout
The symptoms associated with burnout run the gamut from physical and emotional symptoms to behavioral symptoms, according to HelpGuide.org. They are more severe than the symptoms of stress and include:
- Disengagement/disinterest in work
- Blunted emotions
- Loss of motivation
- Detachment and depression
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Withdrawing from responsibilities (work and personal)
- Substance abuse or self-medication
- Feeling trapped and defeated
- Headaches, muscle pain
- Feeling tired and drained
If left unchecked, burnout can lead to chronic health conditions, such as sleep disorders, depression, musculoskeletal pain, substance abuse and obesity. Burnout can also contribute to mental health conditions including anxiety and depression. Burnout may make a person more susceptible to illness and may even interfere with relationships and personal/family life.
How to Battle Burnout Successfully
HelpGuide.org lists several strategies for dealing with occupational burnout, including changing social contacts, reframing thoughts about work and reevaluating priorities. The site also recommends eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Some of the other steps include:
- Distancing from negative coworkers
- Making friends with positive people
- Taking time off
- Setting boundaries at work
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Finding new value in the work
- Sharing feelings with trusted people
Occupational burnout can have a profound effect on mental, emotional and physical health. It can even influence behavior. Fortunately, there are things that may help to nip burnout in the bud. By effectively managing stress and taking care of physical and emotional health, those on the brink may dramatically reduce the symptoms of burnout and the impact it has on daily life.