In its 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), the World Health Organization has classified burn-out as an occupational phenomenon.
According to ICD-11, "Burn-out" is a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It has multi dimensions characterized by three basic indicators:
- 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
Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) was quick to chime in. Tanjusay said, “There should now be a department order from DOLE that spells out the rules and regulations for the protection of workers from this condition.”
The Mayo Clinic has a list of simple questions that you can answer to see if you are suffering from burnout:
- Have you become cynical or critical at work?
- Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
- Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
- Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
- Do you find it hard to concentrate?
- Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
- Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
- Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
- Have your sleep habits changed?
- Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?
If you answered yes to any of the questions, then there’s a chance you are suffering from burn-out and you should consider speaking to a medical professional.
Causes of Burn-out
Beth Greenwood, a registered nurse and a writer specializing in medical health topics said, “A study in Spain that was published in the June 2010 issue of BMC Public Health identified three main categories. “Frenetic burn-out” resulted from working more than 40 hours a week. “Under-challenged burn-out” resulted from jobs that were monotonous and lacked mental stimulation, while the "Worn Out" category included employees who had been in the same job for a long time and felt they were not recognized for their efforts.”
Perhaps one of the main causes of burn-out in the modern age is our access to technology.
“We’re surrounded by devices designed to grab our attention and make everything feel urgent,” says Ron Friedman, Ph.D., a psychologist who works with private and corporate clients, “Before the Blackberry and iPhone, leaving your work at the office was the default. Today we’re all carrying our office around in our pocket.”
Is Burn-out Fixable?
Yes, it is. Beth Greenwood adds, “An individual may be able to effect a personal cure by changing jobs or by learning different ways to manage stress. Management tools for dealing with burnout in employees include coaching and counseling, job or workload restructuring and clarification of workplace roles.”
Even in the Philippines, companies are being advised that they should take employee burn-out seriously and implement measures to address it.
Tanjusay, spokesperson of TUCP -- the largest trade union in the Philippines -- further stated that, “workers suffering from burnout must be provided social protection insurance benefits by agencies such as the Social Security System, PhilHealth, and the Employment Compensation Commission,” he adds, “Furthermore, employers must provide recreational programs and incentives for their employees through routine assignments to different branches, attending seminars and retraining on new work knowledge and skills as part of their wellness activities to address work-related burnout.”
Thanks to the WHO classification, employers must now take the burn-out seriously. Work-life balance must be practiced to maintain the mental health and well-being of their employees. But the responsibility does not lie solely on employers. Employees must also take a proactive approach to combating burn-out.
Wellness coach Elizabeth Scott, MS points out “If you are experiencing job burnout, try to take a break in order to recover. You can also try simpler stress relievers like breathing exercises and positive reframing to help relieve stress you feel in the moment, and more long-term stress relievers like regular exercise, maintaining a hobby (for personal balance), or meditation.”
Furthermore, a close examination of your job may be necessary. Scott also suggests, “You can try to change aspects of your job to create a greater sense of knowing what to expect and perhaps having more choice in how you perform your job. If job burnout is persistent, it may be worth considering seeking professional help with the stress, and perhaps even another career path, as continued stress can impact your health.”
If you think it’s time to change careers, check out all the job listings on the Recruitday Job Portal. It just might lead you to your new beginnings and journey away from burn-out.
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