The World Health Organization (WHO) now considers burnout to be a syndrome. In previous editions of the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), burnout wasn’t considered a serious condition, and its only listed symptom was exhaustion.
The WHO’s decision to upgrade burnout to a syndrome and provide a detailed set of symptoms communicates its serious stance on the dangers of burnout. Additionally, the WHO clarified in a public statement that burnout is an “occupational phenomenon” resulting “from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
What is burnout?
According to the WHO’s ICD-11, doctors can diagnose you with burnout if you exhibit the following symptoms:
- Exhaustion or energy depletion
- Decreased engagement at work, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to your job
- Reduced productivity or efficacy
The negative effects of burnout can extend beyond the workplace and into your home and social life. It can also increase your risk of getting sick and developing chronic conditions.
How can I recognize burnout?
Since burnout is the result of prolonged and chronic workplace stress, it’s important to know how to recognize the signs of workplace stress. Common job stressors include:
- Heavy workload
- Intense pressure to perform at high levels
- Job insecurity
- Long work hours
- Excessive travel
- Office politics
- Conflict with co-workers
While dealing with stress is a normal part of everyday life, here are some early warning signs that signify red flags, alerting you to stress on the job:
- Anxiety or depression
- Low morale
- Short temper
- Stomach or back problems
If you experience any of these symptoms, it may be time to talk to your supervisor or manager to address your chronic stress.
Manage Your Job Stress to Prevent Burnout
Reducing your job stress is crucial for preventing burnout. Here are some simple ways to get your workplace stress under control:
- Plan and prioritize—When you’re feeling stressed out, don’t panic. Make a list of the tasks you need to complete, and set realistic deadlines.
- Focus on what you can control—You know what your job tasks are. Break the larger tasks into smaller, more doable steps.
- Slow down—When you have a lot of tasks looming over you, it can be tempting to hurry through them just to get them off your plate. Rushing through tasks, though, can cause you to feel more stressed and increase the odds of mistakes being made. Take a deep breath when you start to get overwhelmed, and slow down.
- Maintain a good attitude—Try to think positively about tasks at work—avoid negative thinkers and always acknowledge your accomplishments, even if it’s just by mentally congratulating yourself.
- Ask for help—Sometimes the best way to overcome your workplace stress is to ask peers or your superiors for help.
What should I do if I think I’m experiencing burnout?
If you feel like you’re burned out, you should talk to your supervisor or manager, as they may be able to help you reduce your workplace stress or direct you to valuable workplace resources, like an employee assistance program.
Talking to other co-workers, friends or family may also be helpful, as they may have insight into how you can reduce your stress and improve your burnout syndrome. Implementing healthy stress coping mechanisms, such as exercising, hanging out with friends or taking time off from work, can also help alleviate your stress.
For more information on burnout, click here.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional. © 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved. Download the full Live Well, Work Well issue here.
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