In the latest version of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently recognized burnout as a legitimate illness plaguing many workers all over the world.
The WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Note that burnout is not just simply stress but actually results from long-term and extreme stress caused by work. Frequent extended work hours and toxic work cultures can trigger and aggravate burnout.
“Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life,” the WHO clarified.
According to the WHO, burnout has three components:-
1) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion,
2) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, or
3) reduced professional efficacy.
Exhaustion may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach pains. A person suffering from burnout may begin to distance themselves from their co-workers and lose motivation in even the simplest work-related tasks.
It is possible for one to experience burnout as well as suffer from depression, but one may confuse symptoms and feelings of burnout with depression. Some of the symptoms may overlap, and burnout can possibly lead to major clinical depression. The WHO recognizes both illnesses and identifies their differences.
Burnout does not include having regular feelings of hopelessness and despair, getting low self-esteem and losing self-confidence, and having pervasive suicidal thoughts or suicidal attempts.
Medical experts recognize burnout and depression as overwork-related disorders. Japan even has a word for overwork-related deaths or what they call karoshi. A 2016 study showed that 80 or more hours of overtime work every month increases cases of overwork-related disorders.
What can workers do to avoid or recover from burnout? Try to observe and mimic the following steps:-
1) Know when to say “no.”
2) Delegate tasks to coworkers.
3) Take regular mental and physical breaks.
4) Leave work tasks at work.
Observing a healthy work-life balance is the key to preventing burnout. It is also advisable to consult with registered professionals in order to deal with burnout or depressive symptoms.
A company is only as effective as its workers. Both the government and private corporations must begin to address the growing problem of overwork if they want to maintain a fully functional society./TISG
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