In today’s fast-paced world, with the current economic challenges, workers are increasingly faced with heavier workloads, too many deadlines and long working hours. We hear more-and-more people are saying that they feel burnt out.
But is there really such a thing as burnout?
Burnout is now officially included as a syndrome in the new International Classification of Diseases, issued by the World Health Organisation. However, it’s not classified as an illness but falls under the heading of “factors influencing health status or contact with health services.”
The description emphasizes that burnout is related only to the workplace and shouldn’t be used for problems in other areas of a person’s life. Burnout doesn’t happen suddenly but develops gradually over time when continuous workplace stress is not managed properly.
People who are burnt out feel that they have no energy and are exhausted all the time. They can develop sleeping problems, feel irritable, and are unable to concentrate and forgetful. Their immune system is low and they often come down with colds and flu.
Burnout causes people to lose interest in and enjoyment of their work. They try to avoid work and also interaction with their co-workers. They tend to be very negative, cynical and critical about their workplace.
Obviously, a burnt-out employee will become unproductive at work and show poor performance. They do realise this, and it makes them feel worthless and hopeless – nothing matters any more.
Eventually, burnout can lead to chronic health problems, alcohol and substance abuse, depression and even suicide.
Do you feel that your stress at work is getting too much? Are you already experiencing some of the symptoms of burnout? If so, take action and do something about it. The problem developed over a long period of time and you won’t solve overnight. However, you can decide to make small changes in your life right away.
Seek out support – from your family, friends and health care provider, even from your employers if necessary. Take all the steps you can to relax and recharge.