“Burnout Is When You Are Emotionally, Physically and Mentally Exhausted”…Susan Scott.


Tambako the Jaguar / Flickr

Burnout results from prolonged stress and frustration, leading to lack of motivation, emotional and physical exhaustion. It is a peculiar type of stress syndrome characterise by low self esteem, diminished personal fulfilment, depersonalization neurosis and chronic fatigue syndrome. Fittingly, the triad of inefficacy, cynicism and exhaustion are common in most health and support care professions nursing, emergency physicians, care workers. Workers in the helping profession are peculiarly prone to burnouts because they are constantly dealing with other people and their problems, with very high expectations.

John just secured a lucrative position as the new Project Manager, a job attracting higher income, social prestige and fringe benefits. A demanding routine of working long hours exceeding 80 hours per week, sometimes into the nights including weekends. Imagine this scenario in a bustling mega city, with frequent traffic jams, in a hostile, competitive and chaotic workplace; a dead end rapid onset of deadly burnout unleashes on John, who now seeks a frantic way out before it takes a toll on his health, family and status.

The result of a multi-speciality nationwide survey comprising of 2,000 physicians conducted by Physicians Wellness Services and Cejka Search in late 2011 found that more than 87 percent respondents experienced moderately to severely stressed and burned out on most days of the week, while almost 63 percent admitted feeling burned out and stressed than they did 3 years earlier.

Burnout – Causes, symptoms and treatment
In this animation we explain what stress is and how this can lead to burnout. It is described which factors can cause burnout, such as excessive workload, pe…


Causes of Job Burnout

  • Work overload
  • Economic pressures
  • Job insecurity
  • Career ambition/Competition
  • Medicare and Medicaid (Physicians in US)
  • Internal Conflicts (Medical, Legal & administrative policies)
  • Poor work/life balance
  • On call issues (health workers)
  • Medical liabilities
  • Mortgage liabilities
  • Insufficient time for relaxation
  • Poor sleep
  • No time for exercise and wellness engagements
  • Financial concerns
  • Poor communication
  • Poor Job remuneration and appreciation

9529096864_2efc727469pedrosek/ Flickr


Effects of Job Burnout

Work burnout effects are profoundly centred on lack of job satisfaction (51 percent in a recent survey), and the strong desire to change career, job and/or the practises. In fact, 14 percent in that survey admitted to have made a career switch or in the process doing so. An astonishing 85 percent reported noticing positive changes since the career or job change, with significant reduction in stress levels and burnout intensity. Other effects of job burnout include:

  • Insomnia and sleeping problems
  • Poor concentration
  • Frequent errors & poor judgement
  • Poor relationship with colleagues and peers
  • Easy fatigability
  • Frequent irritability
  • Unresolved marital strife
  • Self neglect
  • Emotional liability
  • Decreasing productivity
  • Negative impacts on mental health status-anxiety, depression and apathy

Steps To Deal With Job Burnout 

Are you experiencing burnout? Is there a way out of the destructive vicious circle where stress resulting from work pressures compel many to act and perform in ways that are often suboptimal, thus causing more stress? The following steps can ameliorate burnout and job stress:

1. De-cluster and Simplify Your Life: Re-organize your priorities and cut down on expenses and save money. Take a hard look at what you really need in contrast to your wants. A simpler lifestyle can bring much freedom, satisfaction and choices. An addictive and consumer-inclined society erroneously persist in forcing the message down our throats that happiness is proportionately tied to possessions and income levels. Unfortunately, covetousness begets covetousness. Cut down your debts and have united family discussion on the needed changes. Consensus engenders support and cooperation.

2. Explore Opportunities To Control Your Life: It is easy to focus on excuses when we are hard pressed of options to wriggle ourselves out of very tight corners. Taking full control and being responsible for our actions affords us the freedom of quality and well-utilized time for self-care, wellness activities and exercise. Utilize this time for mentoring, coaching, educational support and social groups.

3. Prioritize and Evaluate Your Options: What does humanity share in common from time immemorial irrespective colour, gender and status? Most will agree that top on the list of our most cherished precious values are; happiness, relationships and health. These life’s most enduring virtues will suffer tragically if you remain burned out. Fine-tune your priorities and refine what is coarse by setting better priorities, which makes it easier to make difficult decisions and accept trade-offs.

4. Be Organized: De-cluster and clear your head of all the mental debris militating against thoughtful productivity. Put together a to-do list everyday and week. Plan ahead with firm resolution. Ignore what might fall through the cracks and rather focus on your priorities. Stop worrying, it dissipates vitality and creativity.

5. Get Enough Sleep: Less or poor sleep can live you vulnerable to reduced motivation, chronic fatigue, accentuated sensitivity to stress events, less productivity from impaired mental functions and poor memory. Poor sleep renders you susceptible to repeated errors and defective response to competing demands. Research shows that having less six hours of sleep in a day is a major risk factor for burn out, and ultimately poor job performance.

6. No When To Say No Firmly, But Respectfully: Be realistic and have foresight, initiate or strengthen all avenues for a better and harmonious working environment by improving better communication. Consult with your line manager or HR about mental health benefits, stress management in line with company objectives for better productivity. However, according to Dr David Ballard, of American Psychological Association, “I do think there are times when, no matter what you try to do, the organization is unable or unwilling to make those changes, and in those cases, it is time to move on.

Dr Andrew Okpetu explores The frontiers of Healthy living and Steps To Beat Workplace Burnout. To find out more overcoming Anxiety, Exhaustion and Chronic Fatigue, CLICK HERE.