According to the World Health Organization, in an evidence and research sheet on mental health published on their website, burnout is described as a:
“… is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
From the same evidence sheet, this syndrome can be experienced in three different aspects:
- 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.
Various factors lead to burnout.; and all these factors, irrespective of their differences according to Schoen Clinic, are dependent on:
“…the attitude towards one’s own performance at work and in everyday life.”
To state this more clearly, burnout is caused by one’s mental state, perception, and reaction towards their activities both in their lives and at work. Among these causes/factors, Schoen Clinic lists:
- Being a sucker for Perfection – your thirst for everything to hit the bullseye will make you begin to experience burnout, because life in itself, is filled with variables, and you cannot always achieve perfection, or have everything just as you want them.
- Undervaluing Your Competence – stipulating the things you can do and cannot do because you are scared or unfamiliar with how they work.
Mayo Clinic also has a good number of other causes like:
- Lack of Control: This refers to your incapacity to make certain decisions that affect you whether at work or in life in general. You do not get to stipulate how things should go just to suit your convenience. The more these “things” continue to make you feel irreconcilably inconvenient, the greater the chances of burnout.
- Lack of Social Support: If you feel all alone, bereft of any relationship in both your work and personal life, you face higher chances of experiencing burnout, because there’s no one to help relieve your mental stress.
- The imbalance between Work and Life: If you dedicate way more time to working than you do to our life outside your job, then you on the highway to burning out.
In a publication titled, Depression: What is burnout?, published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website (June 18, 2020), the symptoms of burnout are classified into three main areas namely:
- Exhaustion: “People affected feel drained and emotionally exhausted, unable to cope, tired and down, and don’t have enough energy.
- Alienation from (work-related) activities: This symptom manifests itself in the cynicism you begin to display towards your work, its conditions, and your colleagues. As a result, you begin to distance yourself and develop apathy towards your work.
- Reduced Performance: Between overpowering attitudes of negativity, a lack of concentration and creativity towards your work, and other events in your life, your productiveness and contribution begin to dwindle progressively, until you have nothing left to give.
Practically everyone is susceptible to burnouts. However, knowing its causes and symptoms could help you change your perception of work to suit your mental health. This way, you keep kicking healthy and strong all the time.