Chronic, severe stress, exhaustion and cynicism are just some of the symptoms of burnout, which can have long-term, damaging effects on a person. Experts believe that around 5-7 percent of the population experience burnout at any given time.
People experiencing burnout typically report feeling disconnected, dissatisfied and exhausted. Yet researchers suggest that the short-term symptoms may also lead to long-term issues such as anxiety and depression, decreased work performance and social withdrawal.
Burnout is generally viewed as a result of an unfulfilling and stressful work environment, where overwhelming workloads and unrewarding work lead to exhaustion.
Yet burnout is not limited to the workplace – mothers or carers may experience burnout due to their care duties, and students may experience it due to intense study commitments.
Experts believe that burnout can also be triggered by low self-evaluation; people with negative beliefs around their personal skills and abilities, and those who have perfectionistic standards, may be at a greater risk of burnout.
How burnout is managed depends on the individual; experts say that the strategies used should target the unique stressors contributing to a person’s burnout.
For people whose personality style puts them at a higher risk of burnout, management strategies may involve learning techniques to cope with external stressors, such as mindfulness, deep breathing, thought challenging, setting boundaries and practicing tools to build self-esteem.
If the work environment is the issue, then addressing factors such as noise levels, office plan, and interruptions may help. Fostering a sense of social connection between workers and improving interaction and collaboration may also help reduce burnout.
There may also be social factors at play, such as reduced job stability, limited work-life balance, heightened workloads and increased hours, which contribute to burnout. Social factors typically require large-scale overhaul in order to improve.