The World Health Organization (WHO) just declared that "burn-out" is now a defined medical diagnosis. Do you suffer from career burn-out? Here's how to check your symptoms and how to avoid it!
What is Burn-Out?
According to the WHO, "burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed." Burn-out can affect anyone in the right circumstances, from first-responders to office support staff.
Burn-out's official diagnosis includes:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
- Increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
- Reduced professional efficacy.
You could feel these or similar symptoms while also struggling with medical conditions like depression, anxiety or stress. You should always talk to your doctor about these and other serious changes in your well-being.
Ways to Combat or Avoid Burn-Out
When it comes to staying engaged and content at work, there are many ways to avoid or work against the pull of stress and dysfunction.
- Take a Break. From small breaks in your workday to actual unplugged vacations, taking some time away from heads-down work can be key to staying relaxed. Want small pauses? Try scheduling some desk yoga or walks around outside until they become natural habits. Need a bigger break? Take that vacation you're due, and make sure to leave your work behind. (No sending emails or checking in from the pool.)
- Think About Your Next Career Steps. Some burn-out can arise from feeling stuck in a position that doesn't offer enough challenges or a window to the next phase in your career. Consider talking to your manager or HR about opportunities for career advancement. Not sure what to do next? Explore options with a career coach outside of your workplace. Your next phase could mean taking on some additional professional training or personal development to expand your skills.
- Overtasked or Underutilized? Ask for help! It's normal for a job to ask a lot from us in times when things are busy or big projects come up, but it shouldn't always feel like you're drowning in your To Do list. If you're constantly tasked with too much, then you should send up a flare to ask for help or find ways to delegate to others on your team. If you're bored, you also might feel burned out quickly. Think about projects you could take on and pitch them to your boss or manager or ask them for ways you could help out the team by taking on some new tasks that would better utilize your skills.
No matter how you might feel at work, feelings that make you leave each day unhappy or utterly stressed can be terrible. Think about how you feel and bring it up with a loved one and your support system so you're not tackling it all alone. If you are feeling like you might need a professional to talk to, reach out to your doctor, or get in touch with someone you can talk to 24/7 like at the Crisis Text Line.