Recognizing the Signs of Burnout

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) redefined burnout as a form of work-induced stress and included its definition in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon. While it is not a diagnosable medical condition, it certainly plays a factor in both your physical and emotional health inside and outside of your office.

ICD-11 defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It is characterized by three things: 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.

Have you ever had the feeling that you’re slowly falling into a funk, but aren’t sure how you can avoid the seemingly inevitable? What about that exhausted feeling at the end of the day from constant stress? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you have likely experienced “burnout,” and you’re not alone. According to Gallup, 23 percent of employees report feeling burnout at work very often or always and 44 percent reported feeling burnout sometimes. What was once thought of as an excuse is now being officially recognized as a legitimate problem.

If you can associate with this, or feel like you might be on a one way track to “burnout city,” the Mayo Clinic has some questions you should consider asking yourself. If you feel like you’re already burnt out, you may be experiencing excessive stress, fatigue, insomnia and more.

How can you handle job burnout? The first thing you must do is take action. The Mayo Clinic recommends a few steps:

Evaluate Your Options – Are you taking on more than you can handle at work? Ask your supervisor to sit down for a meeting and discuss your concerns. Chances are he or she may not be aware of how you’re feeling and you can work together to come up with a solution going forward to alleviate your stress.

Seek Support – You may not realize it, but you have a support system around you. Your friends, family, coworkers and even experienced professionals can help you overcome these feelings. Thanks to the mental health stigma that has been shattered thanks in part to professional athletes, you should not feel embarrassed or ashamed if you choose to seek professional help.

Try a Relaxing Activity – Many people have turned to meditation to improve their mindfulness. Instead of heading to the gym to take out your frustrations, maybe go for a walk in the park or try a yoga class to unwind and disconnect.

Get Some Exercise – That said, incorporating a consistent exercise regimen into your life can be a great stress reliever and it has more benefits to your physical and mental health than just taking out your frustrations.

At the end of the day, you only have one life so you might as well make the most of it. Chances are your job is not dealing with life or death (unless it actually has to do with it), so it is important to try to avoid letting an unrewarding job undermine the importance of your health. If you’ve experienced burnout or feel like you might, incorporate some of these Mayo Clinic suggestions into your daily or weekly routine. You’ll be surprised at the difference you feel.

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