How to Manage Workplace Burnout


Burnout is now officially a legitimate medical disorder. In the past, burnout was a vague concept in the workplace because people didn't really know what it was or how it was different from stress. Thankfully, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially classified burnout as a legitimate diagnosis.

According to WHO's International Classification of Diseases, burnout is a workplace-related disorder that is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • feelings of exhaustion or energy depletion
  • increased negativism or cynicism toward one's work
  • mental distance from one's job
  • reduced efficiency at work

Doctors can diagnose burnout after they rule out anxiety and mood disorders. Additionally, burnout is limited to work environments and inapplicable to other life situations. Burnout should also not be confused with workplace adjustment disorder.

If you think you are experiencing burnout, here are some things you can do to alleviate its symptoms.

1| Take a Vacation

Workaholism is counterproductive, and sadly, a workaholic manager tends to exacerbate the symptoms of burnout among the people he or she manages. Research shows the more time you spend at work, the less productive you become and you make poorer decisions. A good way to address this problem is by taking a break from work. Go on vacation or spend time with family or friends to get your mind off work.

Research shows vacations make people more productive and happier. Plan your vacations and don't feel guilty about using those vacation leaves you deserve.

2| Follow a Healthy Diet

Most people who experience burnout also eat poorly, which adds to the stress they experience. Eat a balanced diet and avoid sweets. Stress makes people eat more sugar, which can negatively affect the body. There are food groups that help increase the body's serotonin levels. These include milk, poultry, eggs, seeds and nuts, and soy products.


3| Stop Multi-tasking

No matter how many things your manager demands from you, don't do them all at once. This hampers productivity and increases stress levels at work. Instead of multi-tasking, just focus on one task at a time.

4| Resist Working Unnecessary Overtime

Remember that no matter how much time you spend in overtime, work will never run out, but opportunities like spending time with friends and loved ones might. Resist working overtime if it is not necessary. Balance spending time with your family and friends versus spending time at work.

5| Take Advantage of Office Breaks

Stop working during lunch or coffee breaks. Research shows that taking small breaks from work helps you become more efficient and less stressed. A break is a brief timeout from work, physical exertion, or activity. It restores motivation, increases productivity, and boosts creativity. Science says so.

But if you're completely absorbed in a task and feel a sort of pleasure and effortless concentration, don't break that. Continue what you are doing, because this indicates that you still have a lot of energy for what you are doing, and it may be counterproductive if you stop.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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