Woman rubbing her tired eyes | Image: Shutterstock (Supplied)
Burnout seems to have become a mass phenomenon, and people are starting to talk more about it. Absenteeism rates have increased due to burnout. It is still not clearly defined as an illness and difficult thus to differentiate from depression.
In the 1970s, the term burnout was used to describe the consequences of severe stress and high ideals in “helping” professions. Doctors and nurses, for example, who sacrifice themselves for others, would often end up being “burned out” – exhausted, listless, and unable to cope.
Nowadays, the term is not only used for these helping professions. It seems it can affect anyone, from stressed-out careerists and celebrities to overworked employees and homemakers.
It’s not clear what burnout is exactly and how it can be diagnosed. This also makes it impossible to say how common it is. Job burnout is a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.
If you think you might be experiencing job burnout, you need to recognise that there is a problem and take action before it affects your health. Consult your doctor to identify or rule out any underlying health conditions.
A stressful lifestyle can put people under extreme pressure, to the point that they feel exhausted, empty, burned out, and unable to cope. Stress at work can also cause physical and mental symptoms.
Possible causes include feeling either permanently overworked or under-challenged, being under time pressure or having conflicts with colleagues. Extreme commitment that results in people neglecting their own needs may also be at the root of it.
Sometimes changes in the working environment and more concrete support in everyday life can already help with things like problems at the workplace or the stress of caring for ill relatives.
Signs of job burnout
You might experience one or more of the following (note that these symptoms can also indicate certain health conditions, such as a thyroid disorder or depression):
Causes of job burnout
Job burnout can result from various factors, including:
Unmanaged burnout can lead to:
Management of burnout
If you suspect you have burnout after reading this article, please get help. Manage the stressors that contribute to job burnout. Once you’ve identified what’s fuelling your feelings of job burnout, you can make a plan to address the issues. See how you can work together with everyone to change expectations or reach compromises or solutions.
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