Work burnout is a real thing
World Health Organization says it is an official medical diagnosis
Juice Staff Published: 2/6/2019
After four decades of debate among experts how to define work burnout, the stress disorder has been recognized as an official medical diagnosis by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Work burnout is now listed in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is the standard for many health insurers to validate medical conditions.
The three characteristics of burnout syndrome, according to the WHO are:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.
- Reduced professional efficacy.
“It's a growing problem,” said Donna Iverson, ARNP, an inpatient nurse practitioner with Baptist Behavioral Health. “The expectations are higher in the workplace because of the Internet and how connected we are. Everything is happening more in real time now.”
It’s a problem, not just for employees, but for the companies they work for. Studies show when people suffer from high workplace stress, they are less engaged, less productive, and absent more often.
Iverson suggests eight tips to bring a stressful workday back into balance:
- Take a pause. Find a quiet area. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and empty your mind.
- Create visual order. Pick one horizontal surface in your workspace—a shelf, table or desk—and arrange it neatly. Having that one visual cue to in your environment can help you organize your thoughts and keep you calm throughout your day.
- Try a mini meditation. Check out an app called Headspace—it can guide you through a meditation in as little time as 10 minutes.
- Look at the view from 2,000 feet. Take time to think about what you have coming up next week so you’re not overwhelmed by it. When you know what’s ahead, you become more proactive instead of simply reacting to demands in the moment.
- Schedule breaks throughout the day. Don’t work through lunch or other breaks. People who take some time for themselves are better at work and at home. Don’t spend your drive to work dealing with distractions like putting on makeup. Use those few moments to decompress instead.
- Make use of rooms set up for de-stressing. Some companies have set aside small relaxation rooms where employees can dim the lights, ease into a lounge chair, and soothe themselves with white noise and aromatherapy. A peaceful setting can amplify your normal workday break.
- Create personal space. Put things in your workplace that make you feel happy or remind you of home. Things like salt rocks, electric candles or family pictures can relax and ground you throughout the day.
- Practice healthy habits. Eat right, sleep well, and take advantage of opportunities in your workplace to exercise.
It’s common for workers to face stress on the job. If you or someone you know needs help coping, contact Baptist Behavioral Health.