Burnout – the self care you need to avoid it

workplace health
Written by Mikolaj Skubina

workplace health

In 1974, a researcher named Herbert Freudenberger conducted a research on human behaviour in the workplace. During his research, he observed certain behavioural changes in some workers when the demands of the job was becoming excessive. It was in this research that the term “Burnout” first appeared.

Burnout is referred to as a form of fatigue and frustration which arises as a result of a commitment to a particular way of life that fails to give the expected results. This definition cuts across the physical aspect of burnouts. It shows that burnouts could be caused by overexerting yourself over a fruitless condition.

There are two important elements in this definition of burnout; exhaustion and commitment. Now, the two of them have to be present for this condition to occur. First, the victim has to be exhausted (anyone can be exhausted) but he/she also has to share an undying commitment to his/her work.

Burnout is also referred to as a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion due to continuous involvement in tough emotional scenarios. This definition also relates to the psychological aspect of this condition which identifies that burnouts are also caused by long periods of emotional stress. This prolonged stress could now lead to a form of mental, physical and emotional breakdown or exhaustion; a burnout.

The occurrence of burnout cases has been on the increase for quite some time now. According to research which featured 7,500 employees, it was observed that 23% of the employees suffered frequent burnout at work. While another 44% were observed to experience burnouts sometimes. Also, job burnouts are known to cost about $125 – $190 million in healthcare expenses. A similar amount is spent on conditions such as gastrointestinal issues, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and coronary heart disease.

How to know burnout is coming?

You may be wondering “how am I going to know when burnout is on its way?”, below are some Indicators of Burnout:

Negative and Critical Work Attitude

The moment you begin to notice that the excitement of going to work has been replaced by reluctance and lack of interest in whatever is happening in the workplace, and also a certain eagerness to return home, you can almost certainly say that burnout is just around the corner. Burnouts affect your attitude and behaviour in the workplace.

Unhealthy Relationships and Low Self Esteem.

Relationships are supposed to make you strong, but burnouts causes a feeling of detachment from and irritation towards clients, colleagues and friends in general. Then there would be this feeling of emptiness and constant struggle with wild thoughts. You won’t be able to participate in meetings because you feel your contribution would be worthless.


How to avoid burnout?

People who experience burnouts usually opt more for short-term solutions. These solutions may help but they usually offer only temporary effects that wear off after some time. It’s important to look out for strategies that have a deeper impact.

These strategies include:

Work with Purpose – Is this the right job for me?

Now, you have to look at your job as more than just a means to a paycheck. Take some time to reflect on your journey so far and decide to discover purpose. This new purpose will drive you to work with a deeper meaning in mind, reducing the possibility of burnout. Also, this reflection could result in you changing your current workplace to where your purpose can be fulfilled.

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Psychological selfcare

To deal with burnout, you have to look out for yourself psychologically. Practicing mindfulness will help you remain self-conscious of your thoughts. Psychotherapy can help in dealing with the indicators of the burnout. Also, building your assertiveness will make you bolder and more resistant to cracking under pressure.


Exercise has been proven as one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. When you reduce stress, you deal with the possibility of burnouts.

Burnouts is not disadvantageous to you alone but it could also affect the people around you and the organisation you are working with, it is therefore paramount that you take your personal well being seriously.

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