The Burn Out Effect

June 13, 2019 - 4 minutes read

By Elizabeth Yeo

Workplace Burnout is a term that has gained much awareness in our fast-paced, tech-savvy, race to success society. The effects can be short or long-term and wreak havoc on our emotional, mental, and physical state. Workplace burnout affects the human body in various ways as reported in a recent wellness article written by Digital Producer, Katie Kindelan, of ABC, titled: Workplace Burnout is now a recognized mental health concern: What you should know.

So, what should we know about Workplace Burnout and, more importantly, the subsequent effects? According to The World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is now included in their International Classification of Diseases, ICD-11, which is the foundation for identifying health trends and statistics worldwide, and contains unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death providing a common language allowing health professionals to share health information worldwide. Medical providers now look for and consider these three symptoms when diagnosing burnout: 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; 3. Reduced professional efficacy. However, there are other quantifying symptoms to be aware of such as; insomnia, chronic fatigue, difficulty concentrating, apathy, irritability, anxiety, and increased illnesses. Those illnesses can include everything from respiratory problems to gastrointestinal issues, according to ABC News chief medical correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

How can we know if we are actually suffering from Workplace Burnout and, how can we measure how burned out we really are? It is suggested to ask ourselves the following four questions in order to make that determination; 1. How often are you tired and lacking energy to go to work in the morning? 2. How often do you feel physically drained, like your you’re running on empty? 3. How often is your thinking sluggish or your concentration impaired? Nothing sticks. 4. How often do you feel emotionally detached from co-workers (or clients/customers) and unable to be sensitive to their needs? Now, rate yourself on each question using the numbers 1 to 4, 1 being-Never, 2-Sometimes, 3-Often, and 4-Always. Next, total your points from all four questions. The suggested scale for scoring is; If your score is less than 9, you are not suffering from burnout. If you score between 10-12, you are on the verge of burnout. If you score between 13-16, you are suffering full-on burnout.

Once we can determine how burned out we are, what steps can we take to stop or prevent burning out? First, remove the urgency from things that are truly not urgent; set a schedule when you are and aren’t available and stick to it. Second, set boundaries; turn off the cell phone when spending time with family or friends, don’t answer emails past a certain time or on certain days; Third, set vacations 3-5 months in advance to prepare yourself, mentally, when you rest and regroup even if it’s a staycation. Fourth, accept the fact that life is not perfect. Perfection is a definite stressor and can cause you to feel overwhelmed quickly. Remember, it’s okay to say no. When you create boundaries without apologies, you’ll find more often than not, that people will respect those boundaries even if they don’t agree with them.