A psychological process resulting from work stress that results in
- Emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and feelings of decreased accomplishment.
- Burnout is a type of psychological stress. Occupational burnout or job burnout is characterized by exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm and motivation, feelings of ineffectiveness.
- The term burnout in psychology was coined by Herbert Freudenberger.
- More recently the term brownout has been used in the business world to describe a less serious version of burnout. It refers to staff that are disengaged and de-motivated in their job role.
- Occupational burnout is typically and particularly found within human service professions. One reason why burnout is so prevalent within the human services field is due to the high-stress work environment and emotional demands of the job.
- Professions with high levels of burnout include social workers, nurses, teachers, lawyers, engineers, physicians, customer service representatives, and police officers.
Types of Burnout
Three types of burnout have been identified, each with their own cause:
- Overload Burnout
This happens when you work harder and harder, becoming frantic in your pursuit of success. If you experience this, you may be willing to risk your health and personal life to feel successful in your job.
- Under-Challenged Burnout
This happens when you feel underappreciated and bored in your job. Maybe your job doesn’t provide learning opportunities or have room for professional growth. If you feel under-challenged, you may distance yourself from your job, become cynical, and avoid responsibilities.
- Neglect Burnout
This happens when you feel helpless at work. If things aren’t going right, you may believe you’re incompetent or unable to keep up with your responsibilities. Such burnout can be closely connected to imposter syndrome, a psychological pattern in which you doubt your skills, talents, or accomplishments.
Indicators of Burnout
|Emotional Exhaustion||Depersonalization||Low Personal Accomplishment|
|Feel drained by work||Have become calloused by job||Cannot deal with problems effectively|
|Feel fatigued in the morning||Treat others like objects||Do not have a positive influence on others|
|Frustrated||Do not care what happens to other people||Cannot understand others’ problems or identify with them|
|Do not want to work with other people||Feel other people blame you||No longer feel exhilarated by your job|
Major reasons for burnout
Major reasons for burnout are as follows:
- Unmanageable workloads
- Unfair treatment at work
- Confusing work responsibilities
- Lack of communication or support from managers
- Immense deadline pressure
Dealing with burnout
Whether you recognize the warning signs of impending burnout or you’re already past the breaking point, trying to push through the exhaustion and continuing as you have been will only cause further emotional and physical damage. Now is the time to pause and change direction by learning how you can help yourself overcome burnout and feel healthy and positive again.
Dealing with burnout requires the “Three R” approach:
Recognize. Watch for the warning signs of burnout.
Reverse. Undo the damage by seeking support and managing stress.
Resilience. Build your resilience to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional health.
Burnout builds over time. It’s caused by stress at work or in other parts of your life, making it difficult to manage your job and other responsibilities. Once you’ve identified your burnout signs, there are ways to avoid a breakdown:
- Talk with your Supervisor
If you are in an environment where this is possible, try to explain how you’re feeling and discuss a more manageable workload. Communication is important for creating a healthy work environment.
- Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is vital for good physical and mental health. If you aren’t getting enough because of anxiety over your job, it’s likely to lead to burnout. Prioritize getting enough sleep.
- Try a Relaxing Activity
Yoga, meditation, or tai chi can be great ways to release stress. Burnout symptoms can appear physically; you can hold onto stress in your body. Practicing these activities can help you release the tension.
- Exercise Mindfulness
This gets you to focus on yourself internally, and know how you’re feeling in the moment. Mindfulness can help you identify when you’re feeling overwhelmed and let you take stock of your emotional well-being. It can also help you cope with challenges of life and work.
- Find Support
Talking with trusted coworkers, friends, and family is an important way to share how you’re feeling and seek help. Their support can help you cope with the stressors of your job. Finding a therapist is also a great way to discuss your feelings and get support.
- Get Moving
Taking at least 30 minutes of exercise is proven to have a multitude of health benefits. Not only is it good for you physically, but it can improve your sleep quality and mental health as well.