By: Stephanie Slater MA RCC CCC Mental Health Therapist and Counsellor
Burnout is a term that has been around for quite some time, but in recent years, it has gained more attention. As a counsellor to high achievers and those with anxiety, I have seen increasing numbers of clients who are experiencing burnout.
It is no surprise then that burnout has been added to the International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon. The phrasing “occupational phenomenon” is important here because that phrase acknowledges that the issue does not lay entirely with the person who is experiencing the burnout, it’s also a result often times of increased workload and lack of supports. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is defined as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” This means that burnout is not just feeling tired or stressed from work, but rather it is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that affects an individual’s overall well-being.
The top three factors that lead to burnout are excessive workload, lack of control, and lack of support. A study conducted by Bianchi et al. (2015) found that workload was the most significant factor in predicting burnout among healthcare professionals. Workload can cause individuals to feel overwhelmed, leading to emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment. Since COVID many professionals have experienced increased demand.
Lack of control is another factor that can lead to burnout. When individuals feel like they have no control over their work environment, they can become frustrated and disengaged. A study conducted by Van den Broeck et al. (2016) found that lack of control was a significant predictor of burnout among teachers. Finally, lack of support can also lead to burnout. When individuals feel like they have no one to turn to for help or support, they can feel isolated and overwhelmed. A study conducted by Demerouti et al. (2014) found that lack of support was a significant predictor of burnout among nurses.
If you are experiencing burnout, there are several ways to recover. Here are the top five ways to recover from burnout:
- Take a break: One of the most effective ways to recover from burnout is to take a break. This could mean taking a vacation, taking a mental health day, or simply taking a few hours to disconnect from work. A study conducted by Sonnentag et al. (2009) found that taking a break can help to reduce emotional exhaustion and improve overall well-being.
- Seek support: If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is important to seek support. This could mean talking to a friend, family member, or coworker about your feelings. Alternatively, you could seek professional support, such as counseling or therapy. A study conducted by Halbesleben and Buckley (2004) found that social support can help to reduce burnout among healthcare professionals.
- Practice self-care: Practicing self-care is essential when recovering from burnout. This could mean engaging in activities that you enjoy, such as exercise, reading, or spending time with loved ones. It is important to prioritize self-care and make time for it in your daily routine. A study conducted by Shimazu et al. (2015) found that self-care can help to reduce burnout among nurses.
- Set boundaries: Setting boundaries is another way to recover from burnout. This could mean setting limits on your work hours, saying no to additional work requests, or delegating tasks to others. A study conducted by Kim et al. (2019) found that setting boundaries can help to reduce burnout among healthcare professionals.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is a practice that involves being present in the moment and accepting things as they are. It can be helpful when recovering from burnout because it can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. A study conducted by Hulsheger et al. (2013) found that mindfulness can help to reduce burnout among teachers.
In conclusion, burnout is a significant issue that affects many individuals in the workforce. It is now recognized as an occupational phenomenon and should be taken seriously. The top three factors that lead to burnout are excessive workload, lack of control, and lack of support. If you are experiencing burnout, there are several ways to recover, including taking a break, seeking support, practicing self-care, setting boundaries, and practicing mindfulness. By taking steps to recover from burnout, you can improve your overall well-being and prevent it from happening again in the future.
If you feel that now is the time to address your burnout, feel free to book a free 20 minute consult with Slater and Associates. You deserve to feel well.
Bianchi, R., Schonfeld, I. S., & Laurent, E. (2015). Burnout-depression overlap: A review. Clinical Psychology Review, 36, 28-41.
Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., Nachreiner, F., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2014). The job demands-resources model of burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(3), 499-512.
Halbesleben, J. R., & Buckley, M. R. (2004). Burnout in organizational life. Journal of Management, 30(6), 859-879.
Hulsheger, U. R., Alberts, H. J., & Feinholdt, A. (2013). Benefits of mindfulness at work: The role of mindfulness in emotion regulation, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(2), 310-325.
Kim, H., Ji, J., Kao, D., & Niksirat, H. (2019). Setting boundaries reduces burnout among healthcare professionals. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 40(6), 665-679.
Shimazu, A., Schaufeli, W. B., Kamiyama, K., & Kawakami, N. (2015). Workaholism vs. work engagement: The two different predictors of future well-being and performance. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 22(1), 18-23.
Sonnentag, S., Binnewies, C., & Mojza, E. J. (2009). “Did you have a nice evening?” A day-level study on recovery experiences, sleep, and affect. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(6), 1565-1575.
Van den Broeck, A., Vansteenkiste, M., De Witte, H., & Lens, W. (2016). Explaining the relationships between job characteristics, burnout, and engagement: The role of basic psychological need satisfaction. Work & Stress, 30(1), 1-20.